Programmes > Linguistics

The Linguistics faculty of the department are committed to the study of language as an innate, biological endowment and as an integral part of mind. We are committed to the comparative study of language structure, language acquisition, and language use, in particular in the context of the languages of China. We encourage interdisciplinary approaches to the study of language and cognition.

Linguists of the department research actively on a number of areas: Comparative syntax and semantics, Comparative phonetics and phonology, Language development (acquisition, change and evolution), Bilingualism, Sign Linguistics, and Language typology, with focal attention to the languages spoken in Hong Kong and China.

The department is known for its research contributions to the formal study of Chinese syntax and phonology, the acquisition of Chinese, English-Cantonese bilingual development, and the structure and acquisition of Hong Kong sign language. Over the years, colleagues in the department have produced a number of linguistics corpora that have been used by researchers worldwide.

In our undergraduate BA programme in Linguistics, we train students in the methodology of Linguistic science and introduce them to the achievements of the field. During their years with the department, students are encouraged to reflect critically on what human language is, how languages are acquired and used, how languages change and evolve, and how language is related to thought and culture. We prepare students for future careers in various sectors (education, media, community and social services, business) as well as postgraduate study by enhancing their language awareness and equipping them with sharp analytical and problem-solving skills.

With respect to postgraduate programmes in Linguistics, we offer MPhil/PhD programmes that train research students to carry out original research in the areas of specialization of the faculty. We also provide systematic, in-depth instruction in the form of taught courses, with an MA programme in Linguistics, and an MA programme in Chinese Linguistics and Language Acquisition.


Graduation dinner, Class of 2009


Workshop on nominalization, Jan 2006


Linguistics majors visiting the Guangdong Foreign Studies University, May 2009