Previous Events 2013

Category Date Participant Title Venue
Talk 23 Oct Prof M.A.K. Halliday Languages, and language, in today's changing world HKU
Seminar 20 Dec Prof Liao Meizhen Metaphors we construct and organise our text and talk by: Towards a model of metaphorical discourse CityU
Symposium 22-25 Jul USTB, SYSU, HCLS Launch Symposium for the Journal of World Languages USTB
Seminar 18 Apr Dr WU Fuyun Producing Chinese relative clauses with determiner phrases by Chinese speakers and L2 learners CityU
Seminar 16 Apr Dr WU Fuyun Parsing relative clauses in Mandarin CityU

Visiting Scholar Prof M.A.K. Halliday's Talk @ University of Hong Kong

Professor Liao Meizhen (Central China Normal University, China)

Metaphors we construct and organise our text and talk by:
Towards a model of metaphorical discourse

Date : 20 December 2013
Time : 4pm -- 5pm
Venue : B7603, 7/F Lift 3, Blue Zone, Academic 1, City University of Hong Kong


Based on Lakoff & Johnson's theory that human conceptual system is fundamentally metaphorical in nature and also on the author's previous work on discourse metaphor, this paper is devoted to construction of a practical framework for metaphorical discourse analysis. Metaphors are (re)classified according to their textual functions at different levels of texts. Examples from a corpus of Chinese and English metaphorical discourse of different genres are used to illustrate the framework and some key concepts as analytic tools. It is hoped that the new model will be a useful complement to the existing repertory of discourse models.

Keywords: textual metaphor, thematic metaphor, metaphorical discourse model


Professor Liao Meizhen obtained his PhD in linguistics from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. He is currently a professor of linguistics and the Dean of the School of Foreign Languages, Central China Normal University. His academic interests include forensic linguistics, discourse pragmatics and discourse metaphor. His representative publications include "Metaphor as a Textual Strategy in English", Text 19 (2), 1999, "A Study of Interruption in Chinese Criminal Courtroom Discourse", Text & Talk , 29-2, 2009, A Study of Courtroom Questions, Responses and their Interaction , Law Press, Beijing, 2003, and the Principle of Goal and Communication, Journal of Foreign Languages, 2009 (4 & 6).

The Launch Symposium for the Journal of World Languages

Visit the official website for more information

Dr Wu Fuyun (Shanghai International Studies University, China)

Producing Chinese Relative Clauses with Determiner Phrases

Date : 18 April 2013
Time : 4:30pm -- 6:30pm
Venue : B7603, 7/F Lift 3, Blue Zone, Academic 1, City University of Hong Kongg


Chinese relative clauses (RCs) are head-final, whereas English RCs are head-initial. Chinese has numeral classifiers but no articles, whereas English has articles but no classifiers. When a demonstrative-classifier (DCL) sequence (or a determiner phrase, DP) co-occurs with a RC in Chinese, the DCL can occur either before or after the RC. These typologically unique properties of Chinese RCs, together with the flexible word order of DCL, may impose difficulties on L2-Chinese learners whose native language is English. What principles are at work in guiding Chinese speakers to position the DCL when they utter RCs? How do L2-Chinese learners differ from Chinese speakers in ordering the DCLs relative to the head nouns of subject- vs. object-extracted RCs? In this talk, I will present distributional data from written and spoken corpora (in L1 and/or L2) and from on-line word-based sentence production experiments to address those questions. I will show that our results are not predicted by the Speaker-Internal Constraint Model (e.g., Lindblom, 1990; Ferreira & Dell, 2000), but instead lend support to the Audience Design Model (e.g., Clark & Murphy, 1982; Temperley, 2003). Furthermore, the production data provide additional evidence for the universal preference for subject relatives (Keenan & Comrie, 1977).

Parsing Relative Clauses in Mandarin

Date : 16 April 2013
Time : 4:30pm -- 6:30pm
Venue : Lecture Theatre 16 (LT-16), Academic 1, City University of Hong Kong


Chinese relative clauses (RCs) contain both a noun phrase (NP) and a verb phrase (VP), and NPs are head-final in Chinese, but VPs are head-initial. Such mixed word order properties allow psycholinguists to examine issues that affect online parsing of complex structures cross-linguistically, and to evaluate sentence processing models that are proposed mainly based on head-initial languagesor head-final languages. In this talk, I will focus on two competing approaches to RC processing—the working memory-based approaches (e.g., Gibson, 1998, 2000; Lewis & Vasishth, 2006; Van Dyke & Lewis, 2003) and the experience-based approaches (e.g., MacDonald, 2013; Gennari & MacDonald, 2008; Hale, 2001; Levy, 2008), and use different sentences with the RC structure in Chinese by varying i) extraction types, ii) similarities between noun phrases, and iii) the presence or absence of pre-head cues. Converging evidence from our corpus investigation, self-paced reading and eye movement data shows that subject-extracted RCs are easier to process than object-extracted RCs when i) in bare structures, ii) controlling animacy, or iii) preceded by disambiguating cues. Our results impose challenges to some variant of the working memory-based approaches, in particular, the storage-cost metric as well as the integration-cost metric of the Dependency Locality Theory. Implications for existing sentence processing models are discussed.


Dr. Fuyun Wu is currently an Associate Professor at the Institute of Linguistic Studies, Shanghai International Studies University. She obtained her PhD from Linguistic Department of the University of Southern California in 2009. Her major research interests are psycholinguistics (particularly, adult sentence processing) and language acquisition. Her recent work is published in Language and Cognitive Processes, Corpus Linguistics and Linguistic Theory, EUROSLA Yearbook, and some Chinese journals.