Officially launched in March 2006, The Halliday Centre for Intelligent Applications of Language Studies (HCLS) bears the name of the world-renowned linguist, Professor M.A.K. Halliday. The Halliday Centre, located at City University of Hong Kong (CityU), has the distinct honour of being named after this distinguished scholar, who for over half a century has been enriching the discipline of linguistics with his keen insight into this social semiotic phenomenon we call language. His scholarship has advanced our understanding of language as an activity which is rational and relational, systemic and semantic, dynamic and diverse. The Centre Director is Professor Jonathan Webster, Department of Linguistics and Translation.

Vision & Mission

We aim to apply our knowledge about how language works to achieving a better understanding of other phenomena in the human experience in order to:

  • Advance our knowledge of how language works to construe our experience and enact social relationships
  • Apply linguistic insight in such areas as education, and computer processing of language, i.e. practicing applicable linguistics

The Centre is committed to doing apply-able linguistic research, including corpus linguistics, discourse studies, visual analytics for texts, language learning, linguistic studies of Chinese and other minority languages, and translation.

About Professor M.A.K. Halliday

Professor M.A.K. Hallidayis Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at The University of Sydney and Honourary Professor at the Department of Linguistics and Translation, City University of Hong Kong (CityU). He is currently Advisor to The Halliday Centre for Intelligent Applications of Language Studies (HCLS), CityU.

As a significant contribution to language studies, Professor Halliday has developed a theoretical approach known as "systemic functional linguistics", incorporating a comprehensive model of grammar which has been applied to English and numerous other languages including Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese and Thai. His emphasis has always been on theory as a resource for solving problems (he calls it an "appliable" theory), so that his work has been of interest to a wide audience of those concerned with language, such as educators, computer scientists and practitioners in various professional fields.

A Brief Biography


Born in Leeds, England


Enrolled in Peking University


External BA (Hons.) London University (Modern Chinese)


Research student under Wang Li at Lingnan University, Guangzhou, China, doing dialect field work


PhD studies at Cambridge under J.R. Firth; title of dissertation: "The Language of the Chinese Secret History of the Mongols"

1963 - 1970

University College London, Director of the Communication Research Centre

1976 - 1987

University of Sydney, Founding Professor of Linguistics


Research Fellow, Australian Academy of the Humanities


David H. Russell Award for distinguished Research in the Teaching of English, National Council of Teachers of English (USA)


Lee Kuan Yew Distinguished Visitor, National University of Singapore


Corresponding Member of the British Academy


Inaugural recipient of the AILA Gold Medal Award for exemplary scholarship in the field of applied linguistics


Distinguished Visiting Professor, Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong


Advisor, The Halliday Centre for Intelligent Applications of Language Studies, City University of Hong Kong


Recipient of an honorary doctorate from the University of British Columbia in recognition of his contribution to linguistics, including especially educational linguistics


Recipient of an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Education honoris causa) from The Hong Kong Institution of Education

Global Partners

Name Position University
Professor CHANG Chenguang Dean, School of Foreign Languages Sun Yat-sen University, China
Professor HUANG Guowen Dean, School of Foreign Studies South China Agricultural University
Professor YOU Seok-Hoon Director,
Research Institute for Language and Information
Korea University, Korea
Professor ZHANG Jingyuan Dean, School of Foreign Languages University of
Science and Technology, Beijing
Professor Lewis LANCASTER Emeritus Professor,
Dept of East Asian Languages and Cultures;
Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative
University of California,
Berkeley, USA
Professor Edwin THUMBOO Emeritus Professor,
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
National University of Singapore,
A/Professor David BUTT Director, Centre for Language in Social Life;
Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics
Macquarie University, Australia
Professor J.R. MARTIN Chair Professor of Linguistics,
Department of Linguistics
The University of Sydney, Australia
Dr. Ahmar MAHBOOB Senior Lecturer,
Department of Linguistics
The University of Sydney, Australia