Jenny Zeng

Research Student

Research Program: Speech and Language

Thesis Title

Infants' Cue Weighting in Speech and Music Rhythm Perception.

Research Project

Stress-timed languages contain lexical stress that is made up of relative stronger cues such as pitch, intensity and duration, which listeners use to segment/group information, and the perception of which is dependent on the rhythmical nature of the language or languages they are learning. English is a stress-timed language, for which lexical stress is used to convey meaning, whereas Mandarin is syllable-timed language which does not differentiate meaning through lexical stress. Similarly, in music, the perception of rhythm is through accentuation (stronger over weaker beats) that is also characterised by cues such as pitch, intensity and duration. Given the similarity across the two domains, my project examines if early (preverbal infancy) experience with richer language rhythmicity has a positive transfer effect in the music domain, and to what extent the processing of speech rhythm and music rhythm are similar/different. To facilitate accurate and timely measurement of responses to multiple cue-weighting, I am using EEG to measure infants’ responses at the neural level.


  • 2011 Bachelor of Arts, Sichuan International Studies University
  • 2014 Master of Translation and Interpreting, Western Sydney University
  • 2017 Master of Research (Lexical Retrieval and Bilingualism Across the Lifespan), Western Sydney University

Professional accreditation: NAATI accredited Certified Interpreter (Mandarin-English)

Contact Jenny
LocationWestern Sydney University Bankstown campus (Bullecourt Ave, Milperra)