UM hosts international conference on Yue dialects

The University of Macau (UM) Faculty of Arts and Humanities (FAH) recently held the 24th International Conference on Yue Dialects on November 13 and November 14. Experts and scholars from around the world participated in the two-day conference online and shared their research findings and insights on the subject.

Prof Xu Jie, acting dean of the FAH and head of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, chaired the opening ceremony and delivered a welcome speech. Prof Xu said that the theme of the conference, ‘language contact’, dovetailed nicely with Macao’s role as a ‘bridge’ of cultural exchange between China and the West. A video message from Prof Zhan Bohui, a co-founder of the conference and a 90-year-old professor at Jinan University, was also played at the ceremony. Prof Zhan said in the video that Macao is a small city, with not much research in this area; the conference thus plays a pivotal role in filling this gap. He encouraged young scholars to explore the contact between Cantonese and other languages ​​and dialects.

Prof Kang-Kwong Luke, a keynote speaker from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, gave a new interpretation of Singapore’s multilingualism from the perspective of co-participants in conversation. Prof David Li, another keynote speaker and head of the Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies at Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), surveyed the mixed use of monosyllabic English words and Cantonese in Hong Kong and explored the underlying mechanisms for the mixing.

The conference also invited three guest speakers, namely Dr Szeto Pui-Yiu from the University of Hong Kong, Dr John Wakefield from Hong Kong Baptist University, and Dr Rachel Kan, a postdoctoral fellow from PolyU. Dr Szeto talked about the typological relationship between Cantonese and other Lingnan languages. Dr Wakefield discussed patterns of semantic change of English loanwords in Cantonese. Dr Kan reported on the acquisition of Cantonese tones by children who speak Cantonese as a heritage language. The other 22 presentations covered topics such as language contact and change, syntax and semantics, applied linguistics, language acquisition, with informative content and innovative research perspectives. The conference attracted more than 80 scholars from Macao, Hong Kong, mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia, Europe, and the United States.

This year’s conference was hosted by the Department of English and co-organised by Joaquim Kuong, assistant dean of FAH; Brian Chan, an associate professor in the Department of English; and Tong Choi-Lan, an associate professor at Macao Polytechnic Institute. They say despite the travel restrictions due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the organising committee decided to hold the meeting as scheduled, by adopting a mixed format with online presentations and in-person attendance by the audience. Thanks to the support of the university and the cooperation of the scholars, the innovative idea panned out and the virtual conference was very successful. 

Source: Faculty of Arts and Humanities


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Released on 2020-11-19 17:55

The International Conference on Yue Dialects

The International Conference on Yue Dialects
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