In 1992, the Department was awarded a Chiang Ching-Kua Foundation Grant to provide seed money to establish a position in Chinese language and linguistics. Under the direction of Dr. Hua Lin the department has been very active in research in Chinese linguistics. Currently, the department is one of the key departments for Chinese linguistics studies in North America and the only linguistics department in Canadian universities that has a Chinese Linguistics teaching and research component.
Major research interests have centered on Chinese language in the areas of phonology and second language acquisition. Within the Generative Linguistics framework, she has explored the phonemic systems, tonal systems, syllables, stress patterns, words, word structure and syntactic structure of the Chinese dialects, especially Mandarin, the official dialect/language of China, Taiwan and Singapore. She has conducted historical studies of the language, and has examined a popular type of Chinese versification called shunkouliur. More recently, she has done research on teaching and learning Chinese as a second language, teaching and learning English by native Chinese speakers and bilingual education in China.
During the past decade, a sizable number of graduate students have done research in various areas of Chinese linguistics, ranging from theoretical studies in syntax and phonology, psycholinguistic studies of language production and word recognition, acoustic studies of focus and whispered tone, and applied linguistic studies of teaching Chinese as a second language and teaching English as a second language to native speakers of Chinese. Virtually all these students have either continued to a higher degree program or found professional jobs related to their studies. The following is a list of these students, their thesis titles and their current positions:
(In Progress) Ms. Lili Ma, Chinese syntax. Though she has not finished her dissertation yet, Lili Ma has been a faculty member in a military college in the United States for the past three years.
1997 Yang, Wei. Speech Errors in Chinese: A Psycholinguistic Study. Adjunct Professor of Chinese and MBA student at Thunderbird, The American School of International Management.
1995 Yang, Suying. The Aspectual System of Mandarin Chinese. Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature, Hong Kong Baptist University.
1993 Hua Lin. On the Nature of Mandarin Tone and Tone Sandhi. Associate Professor, Department of Linguistics, University of Victoria, Canada.
(In Progress) Miss Yunjuan He, Chinese as a second language learning.
2002 Gao, Man. Tones in Whispered Chinese: Articulatory Features and Perceptual Cues. Ph.D. candidate, Department of Linguistics, Yale University.
2002 Hong, Lei. Foreign Language Classroom Discussion through the Internet: An Experimental Study of Intermediate Learners of Mandarin Chinese as a Foreign Language. Ph.D. candidate, Faculty of Education, University of British Columbia.
2002 Yang, Jingbo. Chinese-English Bilingual Education in China: The Implication of Content-Based Instruction.
1999 Man, Ching Han Vicky. An Acoustic Study of the Effects of Sentential Focus on Cantonese Tones. Language Instructor, Language Centre, Hong Kong Baptist University.
1998 Hwang, Kathy Kai-Yu. Psycholinguistic Aspects of Word Recognition in Chinese Orthography. Instructor in a college in Taiwan.