Linguistic and Paediatric researchers from The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) have developed a test to predict infants’ future language ability by electroencephalography (EEG). It could indicate to parents at the earliest possible time that intervention may be needed to reduce the severity of potential language impairment as well as to optimise language learning for all children.
The team led by Professor Patrick Wong, Stanley Ho Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience and Professor of Linguistics, along with Professor Ting Fan Leung and Professor Simon Lam of the Department of Paediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, CUHK (CU Medicine), has devised a method which uses a simple EEG test to forecast language developmental outcomes. The team enrolled 118 infants up to 12 months of age from Chinese-speaking families, and administered an EEG test to measure how an infant’s nervous system responded to different Chinese speech sounds while the infant was held by their caregiver and sleeping. About 1.5 years later when these children could use spoken language for communication, the team measured their language functions to see who had become better or worse language users. The EEG data obtained during infancy and the later language data were used to construct a predictive algorithm for forecasting language development in individual children.
The Faculty of Arts is pleased to announce the results of the Research Grants Council’s General Research Fund (GRF) and Early Career Scheme (ECS) for 2021-22.
The GRF aims to supplement the eight UGC-funded universities’ own research support to researchers who have achieved or have the potential to achieve research excellence, while the ECS is intended to nurture junior academics and to prepare them for a career in education and research.
This year, a total of HK$ 9.5 million is awarded to 23 projects under the Faculty of Arts. Besides the 16 GRF projects from various disciplines, the Faculty is pleased to note a record breaking 80% success rate in our ECS applications, which reflects the remarkable academic and research potentials of junior colleagues. Professor Gladys Tang, Associate Dean of Arts (Research), congratulated all awardees for their success in grant application. She looks forward to hearing about the fascinating research outcomes. As she says, “Research enables the pushing of frontiers of knowledge, with new findings to advance our understanding of arts and humanities, and ultimately to benefit society.”
Professor Ron Darvin from the Department of English is the principal investigator of one of the 23 funded projects. He received an ECS award for his project titled Language and e-learning: Investigating the digital literacies of Hong Kong youth with unequal access to resources. The process of conceptualizing and designing the project shows, commented Professor Darvin, “getting a grant like the ECS is not just about the originality of a single idea, but also the power of collective insight, the generosity of others, and the support and encouragement of the CUHK community.”
The Faculty pledges to continue facilitating the development of individual and collaborative research projects as well as programmes in order to extend their broad impact beyond academia.
Professor Zhao Zhenkai (Bei Dao), Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Arts, was awarded the 2nd Yakamochi Medal in Japan, on 3 July 2021.
The Yakamochi Medal was founded in 2017, on the occasion of the 1300th anniversary of the birth of the 8th century Japanese poet Otomo no Yakamochi, to recognise the achievements of the world’s greatest poets. The selection committee consisted of six literary experts, and Professor Zhao was selected as the winner from 109 candidates recommended by national literary scholars, poetry experts and poets across 24 countries and regions.
Susumu Nakanishi, the Chairperson of the Yakamochi Medal Selection Committee, wrote, “Bei Dao is an expert user of metaphors and an expert at commanding language on a large scale. In his poems, there are often two "I"s in dialogue. One is the "I" that exists as a flesh body, which is expressed as a "melody" composed of history, background, and landscape; one is the "I" that exists as the soul of poetry called "My love". Bei Dao has been majestically performing poems weaving the melody over time as his flesh and blood with the progress of the other soul - the very entity he calls his love.”
Bei Dao, whose real name is Zhao Zhenkai, was born in Beijing in 1949. He co-founded the literary magazine Today (Jin Tian) in 1978. Since 1987, he has been teaching in universities in Europe, America, and Hong Kong. In addition to teaching, he is committed to poetry education. He founded the International Poetry Nights in Hong Kong, currently the most influential international poetry festival in Asia, in 2009 and the Hong Kong Poetry Festival Foundation in 2018. His work has been translated into 30 languages. He has received many awards, among them were the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, the Swedish PEN Literature Award, the American Guggenheim Prize, and the Golden Wreath Prize of the Macedonian Struga International Poetry Festival. He is an Honorary Doctorate at Brown University and an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
The Faculty of Arts is delighted to share the outcome of the Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) 2020 announced by the University Grants Committee (UGC) on 24 May 2021. In a nutshell, a significant portion of our research (74%) is rated as either world leading or internationally excellent in the humanities and arts.
RAE 2020 is part of UGC’s ongoing efforts to assess the performance of the eight UGC-funded universities in research over a period of 6 years from year 2015 to year 2020. It is a criterion-referenced assessment exercise with three elements:
- research outputs in terms of originality, significance and rigor;
- impact in terms of reach and significance; and
- environment in terms of vitality and sustainability.
The Faculty of Arts was represented as 11 units of assessment (UoAs), out of a total of 41 UoAs set up for RAE 2020. Among these 11 UoAs, 8 of them (History, Linguistics & Language Studies, Chinese Language & Literature, Religious Studies, Philosophy, Anthropology, English Language & Literature, Translation) did particularly well in Research Outputs, Impact, and Environment. (For further information, please visit the UGC website.)
As Professor David Huddart from the UoA of English Language & Literature put it, “It was heartening to see that all UoAs in the Humanities panel performed well. We noted that particular research areas covered by our UoA were foregrounded as world-leading and we will aim to maintain excellence.”
Notably, over 60% of cases submitted by the Faculty of Arts were judged as making outstanding impact in terms of their reach and significance. 5 out of 13 impact cases are rated as world leading, one of which, for instance, is on “Capacity Building Support Towards the Realization of LGBT Equality” submitted by the UoA of Religious Studies. Another such case is the world-renowned CHANT database that has significantly broadened public access to ancient Chinese texts.
On several occasions, Dean Max Tang has thanked and congratulated all staff members, from academic to administrative, for making this round of RAE a resounding success in the Faculty of Arts. “We have every reason to be proud of what we have achieved,” he said. “Together we will scale new heights in the coming years.”
We are delighted to announce that Dr Cai Xuanhui, Lecturer of the Department of Chinese Language and Literature, has received the Vice-Chancellor’s Exemplary Teaching Award 2020 in recognition of her commitment and contributions to the teaching of Chinese language and literature.
Dr Cai is deeply honoured to receive the award. She said, “We teachers should treat our students like our own children. Our job is to serve as a stepping stone to help our students’ development, leading them the way for a bright future.”
Dr Cai shares her teaching philosophy. “I always apply different instructional strategies to promote deeper learning,” said Dr Cai. “When I teach the development of Chinese literature, I use literature as the starting point to encourage students to rethink social developments. Reading articles from different perspectives can also facilitate students’ understanding of the diversity of thoughts,” said Dr Cai. “Young people with broad knowledge base and positive attitude will adapt well in the ever changing world.”
The Vice-Chancellor’s Exemplary Teaching Award Scheme was launched in 1999 to give recognition to outstanding teachers. 22 teachers from 10 Departments and Teaching Units in the Faculty of Arts have received the Award to date.
Professor Lai Chi Tim, Professor of the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies and Associate Director (Executive) of Institute of Chinese Studies (ICS), has received the Second-class Thesis Award for his work “Cultivating the Mind and Refining the Inner Nature: Lüzu’s Commentary on the ‘True Scripture of the Marvelous Wonder for the Supreme Mysterious Merit’《修心煉性 ── 〈呂祖疏解無上玄功靈妙真經〉白話註譯》” in the 8th Higher Education Outstanding Scientific Research Output Awards (Humanities and Social Sciences) from the Ministry of Education (MoE).
The Award is to recognize outstanding research projects and is presented to individuals who have made remarkable contributions in the areas of humanities and social sciences. Professor Lai is a scholar in religious studies, specializing in Daoism, history of religions, and social scientific theories of religion.
A brief summary of the book “Cultivating the Mind and Refining the Inner Nature: Lüzu’s Commentary on the ‘True Scripture of the Marvelous Wonder for the Supreme Mysterious Merit’” is available here.