Higher-degree research being undertaken by Baili Emily Lilienfeld

Degree: PhD


Associate Professor Ken Cruickshank

Thesis title:

Tone perception, production and self-regulated strategy use



Project description

Baili’s project is researching lexical tone learning by second language (L2) learners, from both a linguistics and language pedagogy’s perspective. It is motivated by the fact that lexical tones have often been regarded as the most difficult part of the pronunciation for L2 learners of tonal languages. The theoretical assumption behind her project is derived from Long (1996)’s second language acquisition model, which links together the Input hypothesis (Krashen, 1981) and Output hypothesis (Swain, 1995), as well as the learners’ inter abilities. This model guides her research, bringing tone perception, production, and self-regulated strategies use together for investigation. As seen in the below diagram, her study intends to add a new field, which is as yet unexplored, into lexical tone research – namely self-regulated strategy use. It will also connect three previously disparate fields of research together, which will provide a deeper and more conclusive view on our understanding of lexical tone acquisition.


A mixed research method was adapted based on the complexity of her research, and the specific type is the Explanatory Sequential design (Creswell & Plano Cark, 2011). The quantitative phase is emphasized, and the qualitative phase results will be used to answer the secondary research question, as well as to help to interpret the primary quantitative results. In practice, Baili’s research hopes to be able to facilitate the shift from teaching Chinese as a first language (L1) to teaching Chinese as a L2, with ever increasing numbers of learners due to educational, economic globalization.

Baili Emily Lilienfeld is a full time PhD student as well as a mum with two children. She enjoys her research as it is an exciting journey of discovery, as well as enjoys spend time with the children as they are great learners. She previously worked as a casual singer, English teacher, Chinese teacher, Educational organiser and Research admin. officer. Her other research interests include technology and language skills (CALL), SLA theories, Bilingualism, Psycholinguistics, language and culture.


  • Outstanding Research Student Award, 2012
  • Applied Linguistics Association of Australia Travel Scholarship, 2012
  • Trevor Miller Memorial Fund Grant, 2013

Professional and community roles:

  • Member of Applied Linguistics Association of Australia
  • Member of American Association for Applied Linguistics
  • HDR student representative of Faculty of Education and Social Work

Conference presentations