Rising Stars: Meet Hye Min Yoon!

Dear Linguist List Readers,

For this week’s rising star we have Hye Min Yoon, a senior at Emory College of Arts and Sciences in the Linguistics program. She’s been engaged in research since her sophomore year and as an undergrad is already submitting papers to journals as the first author. For one project, she is working on teaching Korean verbal honorific morphology through concept-based instruction to L2 and Heritage Language learners. For another she is working on the factors that influence the acquisition of Korean honorifics. On top of the aforementioned, she is a member of Emory’s Linguistic circle, is studying psycholinguistics, and is conducting an honors thesis on the effects of meditation and deep breathing on L2 learning. That’s a lot! There’s always more to add to the list of accomplishments when it comes to our Rising Stars so let’s get to her piece!


The scientific study of language has opened a unique window into the brain and developed into an integral part of understanding the neurological processes and cognitive functioning of humans. In particular, the subfield of second language acquisition and its intersections with cognitive psychology and neuroscience have created the space for researchers to work together towards a future of better supporting learners of all backgrounds and experiences, by enhancing their cognition.

Building on the current literature, my greatest curiosity stems from the relations between psychophysiology and second language acquisition. My research questions include the role of sleep-dependent memory consolidation in language learning, the effect of slow, deep breathing and oxygen saturation on students’ focus and attention in the foreign language classroom, and the efficacy of cardiorespiratory synchronization in facilitating hippocampal improvement when acquiring a second language.

Currently, I am working to bridge these interdisciplinary research gaps under the guidance of my incredible mentor professors through my B.A. honors thesis, in which I analyze the impact of short-term abdominal breath-control on second language word learning. Through this empirical study, I am hoping to explore the cost-free method of breath-control that could potentially strengthen not only students in the foreign language classroom but also those in classrooms of diverse areas of study, empowering learners of different ages across the world and particularly those who are disadvantaged and may not have had equal opportunities to enhance their cognition.

The greater picture of my research interests addresses the relationship between well-being and academic performance. Especially given the recent circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students have reported increased levels of anxiety and depression and difficulty in concentrating on their academic work. I believe that groundbreaking approaches to cultivating psychophysiological well-being that can generalize to education as a whole can be examined through the empirical study of second language acquisition, given recent research with findings that demonstrate practical methods, such as mindful breathing, to lower foreign language anxiety as a starting point.

The study of linguistics constantly drives me to ask research questions which I hope to pursue by embarking on a Ph.D. program in second language acquisition following my undergraduate career. I hope to further contribute to the field of linguistics and its interwoven disciplines by eventually becoming a research professor, and I look forward to collaborating with scholars from different fields for the rest of my life.

However, what excites me the most is that the field of linguistics, to say the least, is a tool of empowerment to change the future of education—and I am so beyond grateful to be able to find my identity within it.


If you have not yet– please visit our Fund Drive page (https://funddrive.linguistlist.org) to learn more about us and why we need your help! The LINGUIST List relies on your generous donations to continue its support of linguists around the world.

Our sincere thanks,
— The LL Team


Leave a Reply