We are pleased to announce a Workshop on Bilingualism and Language Acquisition to be held on 17 March 2010 at Cho Yiu Conference Hall, the Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Ellen Bialystok (York University, Canada)
Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology
Maria Polinsky (Harvard University, USA)
Professor of Linguistics
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The Workshop brings together researchers working on different areas in the fields of bilingualism and language acquisition, in an effort to promote the integration of research in both fields. The study of how children acquire two or more languages, including Chinese languages, has drawn increasing attention and has been gathering research momentum in recent years. The Workshop will launch the Distinguished Speakers Lectures Series, with two keynote speakers giving inaugural speeches. In addition, a number of speakers from institutions in Hong Kong will present their work at the Workshop. Represented in the Workshop are researchers from linguistics, neuro-cognitive science, psychology, speech therapy, engineering and language education. TheWorkshop seeks to create a platform to facilitate presentation and exchange of recent findings on bilingual acquisition involving Cantonese, Mandarin and English. We hope to forge a dialogue and synergy between researchers who share similar interests in bilingual acquisition, stimulating research with an interdisciplinary perspective. The Workshop will be of interest to a wide spectrum of professionals in early childhood education, language pathology, speech science and teacher training.<back to top>
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Keynote Speech: Early birds have words: 早學三光， 晚學三荒 (PDF)
Professor Maria Polinsky (Department of Linguistics, Harvard University)
Bilingualism and language acquisition in early childhood: research and application (PDF)
Professor Virginia Yip (Director, CBRC, Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, CUHK) and Dr Stephen Matthews (Department of Linguistics, University of Hong Kong & Co-Director, CBRC)
Assessment of Mandarin Receptive Vocabulary in Hong Kong Children
Angel Chan (Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies, Hong Kong Polytechnic University & CBRC), Kathy Lee (Division of Speech Therapy, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK) and Virginia Yip (CBRC)
The acquisition of rhythm in bilingual children
Professor Peggy Mok (CBRC & Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, CUHK)
Computer-aided Language Learning: applications for early childhood education (PDF)
Professor Helen Meng (Director, Human-Computer Communications Laboratory; Co-Director, MoE-Microsoft Key Laboratory of Human-Centric Computing and Interface Technologies, Department of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management, CUHK), Dr. Pauline Lee (Director, Independent Learning Centre, CUHK) and Professor Virginia Yip (CBRC, CUHK)
Parent-child interactions for language and literacy skills in Hong Kong Chinese children (PDF)
Professor Catherine McBride-Chang (Department of Psychology, CUHK) and Professor Cheung Him (Department of Psychology, CUHK)
English as a second language: views of local preschool teacher
Professor Samuel Leung Cheung Shing (Head, Department of Early Childhood Education, Hong Kong Institute of Education)
The emergence of bilingual education in the Hong Kong Pre-primary sector: challenges in early language learning
Professor Richard Wong (Early Childhood and Elementary Education Division, Hong Kong Baptist University)
Chinese dyslexia: multiple problems without a core deficit
Professor Tan Li Hai (Co-Director, The State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Hong Kong)
Keynote Speech: Cognitive advantages of bilingualism in early childhood (PDF)
Professor Ellen Bialystok (Distinguished Research Professor of Psychology, York University)
Professor Ellen Bialystok (York)
Professor Maria Polinsky (Harvard)
Ellen Bialystok (York University)
Maria Polinsky (Harvard University)
Angel Chan (Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies, Hong Kong Polytechnic University )
Cheung Him (Department of Psychology, CUHK)
Kathy Lee (Division of Speech Therapy, Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK)
Pauline Lee (Independent Learning Centre, CUHK)
Dr. Samuel C.S. Leung is Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Early Childhood Education at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. He obtained a BA in English Studies from the University of Hong Kong and received post-graduate training in English as a second Language (MA), Chinese linguistics (MA) and linguistics (Ph.D.) from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in the USA. Dr. Leung has taught courses on language development, language education and language disorders at both undergraduate and post-graduate levels. His research interests include first language acquisition, English as second language, bilingual development, and language delay and disorders in children. He has been involved in research projects funded by Hong Kong Research Grants Council on children’s language development as well as language education policy.
Stephen Matthews (Department of Linguistics, University of Hong Kong and Childhood Bilingualism Research Centre)
Catherine McBride-Chang (Department of Psychology, CUHK)
Helen Meng (Human-Computer Communications Laboratory; Microsoft-CUHK Joint Laboratory for Human-centric Computing and Interface Technologies, Department of Systems Engineering and Engineering Management, CUHK)
Peggy Mok (Childhood Bilingualism Research Centre, Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, CUHK)
Tan Li Hai (The State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Hong Kong)
Richard Wong (Early Childhood and Elementary Education Division, Hong Kong Baptist University)
Virginia Yip (Childhood Bilingualism Research Centre, Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, CUHK)
Here are some written comments on the Workshop from our participants:
- I travelled thousand of miles to take part in the Workshop on Bilingualism and Early Language Acquisition and was inspired by the quality and variety of presentations during the day. The keynote speakers delivered outstanding presentations on major current research issues i.e. cognitive-benefits of bilingualism and heritage languages. The highlights of the day included talks on assessments of language outcomes, parent participation and issues relating to education. A perfect blend of research and practical applications. Well done and Congratulations to Prof. Yip and S. Matthews for taking this initiative.
- There has often been the misconception that Hong Kong lacked the critical mass of scholars who studied Hong Kong children's acquisition of the following three languages: Cantonese, English and Mandarin. 15 years ago that may have been true - but now it does not seem true anymore. During the conference scholars from across a range of related disciplines: neuroscience, linguistics, developmental psychology, early childhood, computational linguistics, etc. were brought together to engage in a very fruitful dialogue about the topic of trilingualism (more than anyone could have expected because the series title involves the word bilingualism rather than trilingualism!!!). Even more importantly, if we look beyond who were 'talking', we would find that among the audience were a number of early childhood administrators and practitioners. Their presence means that for the first time researchers (from the afore-mentioned disciplines) and practitioners gathered together to listen to one another. This experience was transformational because it allowed both parties to reflect on whether there is any gap between research and practice. This bilingualism workshop series provided a good starting point for tightly mapping developmental norms with teaching practices. Hope that there will be more similar series in the future!
- Congratulations on the workshop and thank you very much for telling me about it. It was very inspiring and I learnt a lot. My knowledge is so limited that the Workshop really opened my eyes! I was amazed regarding the data on the topic on rhythm and also the Chelsea software!!
Unfortunately I had to go back to work in the afternoon... there should be more for me to learn in the afternoon session! Thank you very much again and I look forward to your coming workshop!
- I like the design of the poster for this workshop very much! I also like the paper title of Prof. Polinsky's keynote speech, both the English title and its Chinese translation for the humorous use of pun!
- I love the papers related to technology, like computer.
- The time control was perfect, and presenters presented in a clear and effective way. What's more, it would be better if every talk has a printed ppt for us. Thank you very much for this workshop. We students could learn a lot through this workshop, having this opportunity to listen to scholars' talks.
- A lot of the papers presented are valuable. The workshop was well organized.
- The workshop has reminded me again the close relationship between bilingualism and our life now. It has provided an opportunity for us to understand the issues of bilingualism and child language acquisition from different perspectives. From the perspectives of reseachers, we understand more about the potential that children can have in acquiring languages during early childhood. From the perspectives of educators and parents, we also realize how much children can benefit from acquiring two or more languages from an early age and what we can do for our next generation in order to make sure they benefit from lifelong language learning. In short, the workshop has appropriately and successfully responded to the issues on bilingualism and language acquisition from different angles through inspiring presentations and fruitful discussion.
- Everyone who went to the workshop would attest to what a big success the event was. It was such a privilege to be among world-class child bilingualism researchers who had such inspiring new insights on the field to share. Events of this calibre are rare and much needed in the field, and praise must be given to Professor Yip and Dr. Matthews for putting together such a magnificent event!
- This is a very inspiring workshop! The talks are interdisciplinary. Scholars from linguistics, psychology, engineering and education as well as educators from kindergartens all gathered to share their expertise from various perspectives. This is a good chance to put research into practice. Also, the keynote speakers have given very insightful presentations. I have learned a lot from this workshop.
- The Workshop was very inspiring and successful in offering an exchange of recent advances on bilingualism and language acquisition. It contributed to our understanding of the most intriguing of all mental phenomena - children's ability to acquire multiple languages without effort and without conscious knowledge of the underlying regularities of languages.
The Workshop covered a wide scope of interests to Bilingualism: from theoretical issues to biological cognates and behavioural studies, as well as language pedagogy, expressive speech and written language literacy. It is very special to have a bilingualism and language acquisition workshop here in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has been a special place to bilingualism or even multilingualism studies. Children normally acquire Cantonese, English, Putonghua and written Chinese altogether. Children are immersed in a multilingual environment in a school setting. However, when it comes to daily situations, English and Putonghua are of comparative much less (though increasing) usage.
It is different from other multilingual countries, where learning to speak different languages in different settings is crucial. For example, in India, children speak their heritage language at home, speak another when attending religious events, and use English or Hindu as lingua franca. It is always interesting to see how language environment and language attitude would interact to affect acquisition of languages. Hong Kong is certainly a good place to observe such phenomena.
There is an increasing number of young mainland emigrants who have to adapt to the new language environments in school; as well as an increasing number of families with one of the parents not speaking Cantonese and choose to speak Putonghua to children. I expect it would become the next focus of interest for the field of language learning and teaching in Hong Kong in the near future. With the results from longitudinal studies started a few years back starting to yield, I look forward to similar workshops like this in the future.
- I just wanted to congratulate you on last Wednesday's Workshop, in my view it was a complete success.
- Thanks a lot for organising such an inspirational and stimulating workshop! I would like to give my feedback about the workshop I attended on 17 March. To me, hearing about the current intriguing research on bilingualism/language acquisition and meeting such a variety of people from the field was one of the most impressive aspects of the workshop.
Although I was not able to attend all the sessions, I found most topics/information presented interesting. I think this conference did a good job of blending research with frontline preschool educators. I appreciated the excellent mix of research and functional application. The sessions that I found particularly informative and useful are: Early birds have words, Bilingualism and language acquisition in early childhood: research and application, The acquisition of rhythm in bilingual children, and Cognitive advantages of bilingualism in early childhood. I think the quality of these presentations was excellent and the information was very inspiring.
The workshop is well organized with good time control as well as effective audio and visual aids. The topics were well scheduled. More presentation handouts could be provided to the participants. There could be two Q & A (one AM, one PM) sessions to cater for participants attending different sessions.
Thank you very much again for organising such a useful workshop. I look forward to attending more in the future!
- The notion of “Heritage language” was mentioned in Prof. Maria Polinsky’s
keynote speech. China is a country with various ethnicities and languages. Protecting minority languages has been expressly stipulated in both the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China and Law of the People's Republic of China on the Standard Spoken and Written Chinese Language. But in fact, all of the ethnic minorities inside China, which have their own languages, are coming up against the problem of “Powerful Chinese”. Consequently, the bilingual policy, Chinese plus languages of ethnic minority, has to be put into effect. The intention of this language policy was quite good，but in the implementation process, different areas and different minority language usages cause formation of bilinguals to varying degrees. (For example: Tibetans who live in Xizhang, Uyghur and Kazakhs who live in Xinjiang.) On the one hand, this kind of “bilinguals” basically acquire Chinese and their own national language at the same time illustrate in a way that the ethnic minority formed a good bilingual environment where children can acquire both languages at their early age and their language heritage is preserved well. On the other hand, the Yi and the Miao nationality etc. with large population in Southwest of China (in urban areas) who are affected by the “Powerful Chinese” cannot benefit from a good language environment or social language atmosphere which would allow the national public to start acquiring their own minority language at an early age, but only after they enter primary school or middle school. This kind of circumstance is more worrisome. Bilingualism scholars may want to pay attention to this special bilingual case in China. “Bilingual” as discussed in the Workshop mainly focused on English, Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese) and other “great languages” which are widely used in the world but less attention is paid to the minority languages whose communities are comparatively small. In China there are rich language resources and varied bilingual circumstances, which may provide quite a lot of materials for bilingualism research.
- Thank you very much for organising such a fantastic workshop. I enjoyed it
very much and I believe that your research centre will play an important and promising role in the field.
- First, I wish to say a thousand thanks to all the organizers and distinguished speakers whose concerted effort made the workshop a huge success. Being a PhD student having my research interest chiefly focused on dyslexia, I deem it is an excellent opportunity for me to attend a workshop of this kind. Frankly, I treasure a lot the chances of leaving my own workspace for a day or two and joining workshops/seminars on slightly different but related research areas. Issues on bilingualism and language acquisition are unquestionably inspiring to me. Amongst all fascinating speeches, I especially enjoyed Prof. Polinsky’s sharing of heritage languages because personally I have an immense interest in minority languages, yet it is rather rare for me to come across it in my daily research.
I hereby wish all the speakers every success in their research work!
- Many thanks for the recent workshop on bilingualism and a good day in CUHK!
Before coming to your workshop, I knew little about bilingualism. Now I have a better understanding of it and learn more about what makes good research on bilingualism. It was an experience that would make a lasting impression and it was really a pleasure to spend a whole day together with the experts on bilingualism research.
- It was a wonderful day attending inspirational lectures by experts in the field, as Prof. Bialystock said earlier, doing research on Bilingualism is not easy. I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to the organizing committee and distinguished speakers. The registration was quick and smooth, venue of the workshop was beautiful although some of the audience had to sit on the floor during the talk. I also very much appreciated the tea breaks, there’s really a lot of refreshing drinks and snacks for us (I should say that was the best tea break I ever had) : )
I look forward to attending more seminars and workshops in the near future!
- "I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the talks and the forum that allowed lively interactions between the speakers and the audiences. The workshop was academically stimulating and educationally informative, one of a kind."
I can't wait till the next one. Last year's workshop I couldn't attend as I wasn't in Hong Kong. Prof. Cho, Sook-whan was the only one in Korea at that time that specialized in language acquisition, and that is how I was hooked onto language acquisition.
Once again, thank you so much for the great workshop and many congratulations on your success."
Speaking of bilingual studies in Hong Kong, disciplines such as Translation would easily come to mind. With the emergence of modern linguistics and the rapid development of fields such as language acquisition, the local academic community has the opportunity to rethink and review ‘bilingualism’, going far beyond traditional translation studies such as translation criticism or descriptive comparison between English and Chinese languages.
The Childhood Bilingualism Research Centre, directed by Virginia Yip and Stephen Matthews organized an academic Workshop at the right place at the right time.
Having ‘bilingualism’ as the common topic for discussion, experts hold different perspectives with diverse expertise and specialization. Among them, there are studies in theoretical linguistics, cognitive science, speech therapy, education and computer-assisted language learning (CALL). I am impressed by the sharing from scholars of different disciplines under a free atmosphere, which truly exemplifies the trendy term ‘interdisciplinary study’.
Having taught at secondary and tertiary levels and now being engaged in research, I realize that it is not easy to achieve a balance between ‘theory’ and ‘practice’, for there often exists a huge gap, or even conflicts. In the workshop, there was discussion on theoretical linguistics and application of research findings in the society, which is much appreciated.
I want to thank CBRC for their efforts in organizing the workshop. I look forward to attending another academic meeting of such high quality in the near future.
Photos of the workshop are now available online. Please click here.
Campus map of the Chinese University of Hong Kong: print version
Transportation from the University Train Station to the Conference Venue The University provides regular free school bus services from the MTR (formerly KCR) University train station to the main campus throughout the day.
telephone inquiry : 26961995, 26961930
fax number: 26037865
- Childhood Bilingualism Research Centre, Department of Linguistics
Chinese University of Hong Kong
- The State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Sciences,
University of Hong Kong
- Global Parent Child Resource Centre,
Braemar Hill Nursery School
telephone inquiry : 26961995, 26961930
fax number: 26037865