Keith Dede specializes in Chinese language and linguistics, specifically the languages and culture of Qinghai Province in northwest China. He has written about the history of language contact in Qinghai, especially the influence of Tibetan and Mongolic languages on the development of local varieties of Chinese. He has also written about the effects of the changing socio-cultural ecology on the languages of the region, and how Standard Chinese interacts with the local languages. Recently he has begun translation and analysis of Chinese language literature from Qinghai. Ancilliary interests include the history of Standard Chinese and its relationship to the dialects, Chinese language teaching, and modern Chinese literature and film.