Emma J. Merritt
Doctoral Researcher


  • Johann-Wolfgang Goethe University
  • merritt[at]em[dot]uni-frankfurt[dot]de
  • +49 69 79832215



  • 2019-2020

    Master of Philosophy, Theoretical & Applied Linguistics

    University of Cambridge

  • 2015-2019

    Bachelor of Arts, Linguistics & Chinese

    University of Massachusetts Amherst

  • 2013-2015

    International Baccalaureate Diploma

    Shanghai Community International School


  • Experimental design
  • Statistical analysis
  • Python
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe InDesign
  • LaTeX


English (Native)

Mandarin Chinese (HSK 5)

Spanish (CEFR C1)

German (CEFR B2)

American Sign Language (ASL) (Intermediate)

Portuguese (CEFR A2)

Korean (Novice)


I am a graduate student at Goethe University interested in various aspects of language acquisition and bilingualism. My dissertation research deals with English-Mandarin bilingual children's acquisition of recursive structures in their two languages, and the extent to which typological similarities influence the acquisition path. Previously, I have also done some work on codemixing, as well as early L2 learners' productions of English consonant clusters.

What's New

1 February, 2022

Presentation at the Nominal Modifications RTG Colloquium. Download the slides here.

27 October, 2021

Research proposal accepted at Goethe University Fachbereich 10.

24 June, 2021

Presentation at the annual Nominal Modifications RTG Retreat. Download the presentation slides here.

1-2 June, 2021

Moderated sessions for the workshop Recursion Across Languages: The Intricacies of Babel.

23 April, 2021

Completed certificate "Using Python for Research."

26 January, 2021

Presentation in the Nominal Modifications RTG Colloquium. Download the presentation slides here.


Research Assistant

September 2017 - June 2019 | University of Massachusetts Linguistics Dept.

Assisted with several ongoing language acquisition research projects, supervised by Prof. Tom Roeper. Responsibilities include working with children for raw data collection, protocol and task design, data coding/transcription, liaising with local elementary schools, and data analysis.

Bilingual Tutor

January 2019 - April 2019 | Sunderland Elementary School

Worked one-on-one with a Chinese student during their first few months of third grade in the US. Responsibilities included translating for teachers and peers, one-on-one English tutoring, and bridging culture and knowledge gaps.

Student Intern

January 2018 - May 2018 | Joseph E. Metcalf Elementary School

Spent 40 hours assisting in a Spanish immersion kindergarten, learning about bilingual and early literacy education.

After School Staff

April 2018 - December 2018 | Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School

Cared for approximately 20 children enrolled in the after school program. Daily tasks include taking attendance, feeding students a snack, organizing activities, loading some children onto the bus, and providing homework assistance when needed.


May 2017 - December 2017 | University of Massachusetts Spanish and Portuguese Dept.

Responsible for designing and editing fifty-two chapters of a pedagogical grammar book sponsored by UNESCO-Brazil for speakers of Wapichana, an indigenous language of northern Brazil.


  • Foucault et al.“Relative gradable adjective recursion such as small small big mushrooms is more challenging for children than possessive recursion such as the deer’s friend’s sister’s mushrooms Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America, vol. 7, no. 1, May 2022. Download

  • Merritt, Emma J. “The Impact of Codemixing on Language Differentiation in Young Bilinguals.” Entrehojas: Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, vol. 10, no. 1, Apr. 2020, pp. 44-72. Download

  • Li, Daoxin, et al. “The Acquisition of Recursion in Child Mandarin.” Proceedings of the 44th Boston University Conference on Language Development, Cascadilla Press, 2020. Download

Certifications and Awards

Using Python for Research

Completed April 2021

Certifies completion of an online course from Harvard dealing with the applications of Python for qualitative and quantitative research. View the certificate here.

CITI Certification for Human Subjects Research

Valid through 20 September 2022

Training on ethical practices involving research on human subjects.

Commonwealth Honors College Scholar with Greatest Distinction

Awarded May 2019

Awarded to students whose cumulative GPA was greater than 3.800.

Certificate of Specialization: Intermediate Level (American Sign Language)

Awarded April 2019

Certification awarded to students who completed at least six semesters of American Sign Language.