Linguistics Breaks into TOP 20 in the World

Top 50 Worldwide in the QS World University Rankings by Subject for 5 years in a row

Since 2011, when the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject were first introduced, Linguistics at CityU has been in the Top 50 and ranked 18th in the world this year.

Linguistics at CityU has developed along the two trajectories of general linguistics and intelligent linguistic applications. On the one hand, we are endeavouring to address the complex interplay between various linguistic components, ranging from language structure and meaning to the use of language in text and discourse. On the other hand, we have made significant progress in our efforts to build an empirically-based collection of language data, ranging from fieldwork-acquired minority language data to language learner corpora.

Over the past five years, CityU linguists have secured over HK$11 million in external competitive peer-reviewed research funding for studies in syntax, semantics, phonetics, sociolinguistics, discourse, psycholinguistics/language development, corpus linguistics, and computational linguistics. The strength of CityU Linguistics lies on its uniqueness of having unified a team of scholars specialising in various branches of linguistics from theoretical linguistics to those more applied in nature, producing over 100 academic papers in such international linguistics journals as World Englishes, Language Resources and Evaluation, Semiotica, Journal of Literary Semantics, and numerous books and monographs with presses such as Mouton de Gruyter, Bloomsbury, Springer, and Equinox. The outstanding ranking of Linguistics is due to the collective involvement of researchers from various disciplines.

Researchers working in theoretical linguistics have, over the past five years, produced over 50 academic papers in leading linguistics journals like Language, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Journal of Semantics, Lingua, and a number of books and research monographs published with international and influential Chinese publishers, presenting highly recognised and significant research findings in morphology, syntax, semantics, and typology.

CityU is also home to The Halliday Centre for Intelligent Applications of Language Studies (HCLS), the only centre worldwide to bear the name of the globally renowned linguist, M.A.K. Halliday. The Centre is committed to doing appli-able linguistic research, including corpus linguistics, discourse studies, visual analytics for texts, language learning, linguistic studies of world languages, and translation. In addition to actively contributing to studies in language and linguistics through several book series, including the collected works of leading linguists, such as M.A.K Halliday, Ruqaiya Hasan, Sydney Lamb, and Braj B. Kachru. The Centre also has editorial responsibility for three high-profile international linguistics journals: Linguistics and the Human Sciences (2005–), Journal of World Languages (2013–), and WORD (1945–). The Halliday Centre recently partnered with the International Linguistic Association and Beijing Normal University to simulcast the first Global WORD Roundtable between Beijing and New York City; panellists included such well-known pioneering linguistics scholars as William Labov (sociolinguistics), Jacob Mey (pragmatics), and M.A.K. Halliday (systemic-functional linguistics).

Researchers working in corpus linguistics and language-learner corpora have compiled and developed corpora of various types (e.g. British and Chinese Englishes, classical Chinese, learner English, children's stories, and bilingual texts mined from the web) and computer-assisted language learning tools (e.g. software production for language learning in primary school, and construction and maintenance of CALL websites for pedagogical and research purposes).

The outstanding ranking of Linguistics also reflects the positive reputation of our academic programmes (both undergraduate and postgraduate) among scholars and employers worldwide. Well-equipped facilities in support of both teaching and research include a Phonetics Laboratory and a Language and Cognition Laboratory. The former focuses on research related to the phonetics and typology of Chinese dialects and phonetic explanations for sound changes in Chinese; the latter is for carrying out cognitive research in various aspects of language-related human cognitive capabilities. Over the past five years, more than 30 PhD students have graduated in Linguistics, with many taking up academic appointments in leading universities and research institutes in China, Hong Kong, and overseas.