Institutions, Centers and Labs
What kinds of linguistic knowledge do adult speakers possess? How do baby learners come to acquire complicated linguistic systems? Among various types of linguistic knowledge, our group focuses mostly on sound systems of languages, phonology. Language learners figure out sound contrasts (p vs. b), well-formed structures of sound sequences (blick vs. bnick), as well as the system of sound alternations in different contexts (cat[s] vs. dog[z]). Our group approaches issues in phonological acquisition, by employing behavioral experiments and computational modeling with human subjects of all ages (from infants to adults).
Youngah Do, Director
Hong Kong Documentation Center
Did you know that there are almost 7,000 different languages spoken today? Languages and their speakers can be extremely different from each other. When we document a language we aim to record as much as possible about its sounds, its rules, and the ways in which it is used. We also want to film its speakers in their everyday interaction, and we like to collect their stories and their traditions. In this way we hope to learn more about how different cultures and different thought systems work through language. This is especially valuable for the many hundred of languages that are currently endangered and may no longer be spoken in the near future, as well as for the thousands of minor and lesser-known ethnic groups that exist today. Our documentation centre is home to several documentary projects that our faculty are involved in. We provide an opportunity for an exchange of ideas and a presentation of our work that involves high-quality documentation and preservation of linguistic and cultural data. We also share and discuss ethnographic methods for working with speakers and their communities and aim to come up with new and creative ways of sharing this knowledge with the wider public.
SIOK Wai Ting,