Stanford University plans not to renew the contract of a Cantonese-language lecturer, which is a bad idea (Stanford Quad with Memorial Church in the background. Photo: Wikipedia)

As Covid-19 takes a toll on the global economy, universities and colleges have had to make some tough decisions in light of new financial restrictions as they reconsider their budget and infrastructure.

It is truly unfortunate to see higher education institutions make cuts to their services, including courses and positions that are now deemed non-essential or redundant, and one such position is that of a Cantonese lecturer at Stanford University, which, despite being in existence for more than 20 years, is currently under threat.

Stanford has informed its Cantonese lecturer, Dr Sik Dennig (張錫莉博士), that it will not renew her…

The father of Son Goku, Bardock, as he confronts and challenges Freeza just before he destroys Planet Vegeta and exterminates the Saiyans

One of the most beautiful and poignant episodes in the Dragonball franchise. This is an OVA (i.e. anime spin-off) which deals with the prehistory of the Dragonball story, namely Son Goku’s birth and his Saiyan origins, which he does not realise until the second half of the story ( Dragoball Z) from when he meets his brother, Raditz. This episode tells of the Saiyans’ destruction at the hands of Freeza, their eternal nemesis and one of the main villains in the franchise. This is also the story of Bardock, Goku’s father ( to whom he looks identical and from whom…

Freeza and Cooler, two master villains in the Dragonball franchise

Toriyama Akira’s Dragonball is without doubt one of the most popular mangas in the world, having swept through Asia and the West with its unique characters and complex story-telling. Its popularity has not waned since making its manga in the 80s and its recent installments such as Dragonball Super and various movies show that its popularity is still on the rise throughout the world. Much has already been said about its literary composition, namely its precedence from the Chinese classic Journey to the West (西遊記), its eponymic symbolism as encouched in the characters’ names, and its literary allusions to Western…

What constitutes a masterpiece, and how many works of art can be genuinely counted as such?

Success is what most of us strive for. Yet it is easier said than done, since the path to achieving success is always tough and arduous. This is universally accepted. The key to success is perseverance, and as we encounter failures on our way to achieving what we want, one just has to keep going, no matter what. One may reasonably think that the course to success is a linear upward curve, which probably is the case for the majority of success stories. However, there are also some striking examples where the way to success is by no means linear…

There is so much happening on the road that one must be on guard at all times.

When one drives on the motorway, one is expected to go at top speed, which, in the UK, is capped at 70 mph. However, not all roads are motorways (and even on motorways there are speed cameras monitoring all vehicles, the miscreants of which are automatically tracked and sent speeding tickets for violation of traffic laws) and there are many types of roads that are filled with complicated layouts and potential hazards where it is practically impossible to drive at full speed. It is hence impractical to go at full speed throughout one’s journey, even if one wants to for…

Honda: the most successful car and motor company in the world. What are some of their tips for success?

Much has been written about the importance of sleep, which is derived from the wealth of research by sleep scientists on the many benefits of good quality sleep. I would be the last person on earth to endorse the benefits of sleep, since I am a notorious nighthound who prefers to operate at night when I feel that I am at my most productive. I hence tend to avoid sleep as much as I can in order to maximise the number of woken hours when I am up and going. This all sounds perfectly intuitive, since why would one think…

It is commonly believed that difficult situations tease out the best in human beings, and it is often at points of desperation that humans reach their creative and spiritual best.

The recent and ongoing protests against the extradition bill mark one of the most turbulent times in the history of Hong Kong (HK), and throughout the ongoing protests there have been some wonderfully creative and original uses of language, namely local HK Cantonese, that are worthy of mention, since, as with the Umbrella Revolution, these have added to the inventory of HK Cantonese, which is constantly evolving.

Many of these…


眾所周知,漢語的方言成千上萬,千變萬化,雖然眾多方言分享許多共同特徵,但仍能統核為單一語系(即漢語系 (Sinitic languages)),就個別地區的方言各有獨特的語法構造和表達方式,於形式語言學中(formal linguistics)可用形式變點(formal parameters)做形式分類(formal typology)。在此文章中從本人近年來教漢語的心得略解漢語語法中的一些主要變構,做為討論形式漢語語法學的出發點。


先從大型概括的語言結構說起。漢語方言均有密切的句子結構,現代普遍漢語(Common Sinitic)概有如下的句子結構:

COMP Subject Adv AUX Verb-Affix Object Verbal-Adv SFP

這均是普遍的語言學術語,在此略解: …

All Sinitic varieties are subsumed under the general pan-national notion of 漢語 which means ‘Chinese language’. Can parametric regularity be discerned between such a multitude of dialects?

As is well known, Sinitic varieties which are collectively known as Chinese dialects display a wide range of microvariations, some of which may be unified under the notion of pan-Sinitic grammar while others pertain to regional dialectalisation. Under current formal parametric assumptions about linguistic variation and change, it is possible to present and understand some of these microvariations systematically. Here are some important properties of Chinese dialects which have been noted in my teaching and research of Chinese language and linguistics:


Let’s start with the big picture. Sinitic varieties obey a general clausal schema which may be represented thus:

So many functions in mathematics, yet what do they really mean?

I mentioned in my previous post some key and fundamental elements of Chinese numerical superstition, namely the numbers four 4 (=’death’) and eight 8 (=’prosperity’) which permeate throughout our language and culture and have shaped our cultural understanding of numbers and portents. I also mentioned that it was possible to interpret these numbers in terms of their sequential positions and linear ordering. …

Keith Tse (MCIL CL)

#Linguist #DataScientist #Columnist #Balliol #Oxford #Manchester #York #Ronin #IGDORE #Scholar.

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