A research team, led by Professor Pan Haihua, Chairperson of the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, has received funding from the National Social Science Fund of China. The winning research proposal was listed as one of the major projects of the Fund. Directly funded by the National Office for Philosophy and Social Sciences, the major project is regarded as the most prestigious and competitive funding in the field of Arts and Social Science research in China. Professor Pan is the first faculty member in CUHK to receive the funding.
The winning proposal, titled Chinese Studies of Formal Semantics and Theoretical Innovation of Formal Semantics, has been awarded RMB800,000. This five-year project aims to establish a comprehensive Chinese research database of formal semantics and carry out a more precise and detailed investigation of Chinese major linguistic phenomena using formal semantics tools. Based on Chinese linguistic facts, the research project will critically evaluate current theoretical assumptions and existing analytical frameworks of formal semantics, point out the limitations and deficiencies of existing theoretical analyses of natural languages especially Chinese, and propose new analyses and theories, which will further promote the theoretical development of formal semantics in China.
“I am thrilled to hear that our research team has won the bidding for the major project,” said Professor Pan. “Our preparation for the bidding started earlier last year. As the project leader, I have organized online meetings and exchanged ideas frequently with five other researchers from Mainland China and Britain, who will be responsible for five important subprojects, covering the semantics of Chinese nominal phrases and Wh-phrases, intensionality and indexicals, information structure (topics, focus), conditionals and negative expressions.”
“This funding will allow us to solve problems in the major areas of Chinese semantics research, to build a more complete and more explanatory semantics theoretical framework, and to revise and verify existing Western formal semantics theories, which will have a long-term impact on Chinese semantics research in China.”
The major projects of the National Social Science Fund in 2022 issued a total of 343 bidding topics, including not only basic theoretical research but also applied and interdisciplinary research, and covered 23 research disciplines of Philosophy and Social Science. For each bidding topic, only one research proposal will be selected in principle, which will receive a funding level of RMB800,000 in five years.