Internationally Renowned Scholar Discusses Complexity of Attitudes Toward Bidialectalism in Canada     

On Monday 4th December 2023, with the generous support of the School of Arts and Social Sciences, the Department of Humanities, Language and Translation hosted a seminar entitled 'Changing Contexts, Changing Language Attitudes: Cantonese-Speaking Families' Divergent Paths Toward Bidialectalism in Canada' by Prof. Guofang Li from The University of British Columbia, Canada. Prof. Li, Professor and Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Transnational/Global Perspectives of Language and Literacy Education of Children and Youth, is a leading scholar in areas such as bilingualism and biliteracy development, Chinese heritage language education, new literacies and technology-enhanced language teaching, bilingual language teaching education, as well as language and educational policies. Prof. Li is the recipient of numerous national and international awards for her research.
On behalf of the School, Prof. Eva Kit Wah Man, Chair Professor of Humanities, extended a warm welcome to Prof. Li and introduced her to the audience. Prof. Li started by outlining her longitudinal project focusing on factors potentially affecting Cantonese- and Mandarin-speaking students' achievements in English and other core subjects in their early years. She then presented the audience with data taken from interviews with Cantonese-speaking Chinese parents and unpacked their changing attitudes toward Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin) in relation to English and French, the official languages of Canada. Prof. Li observed a shift toward Mandarin in parental attitudes and practices at home. Importantly, the complexity of this shift shaping the children's linguistic trajectories cannot be fully understood without considering the global, transnational, and local sociolinguistic forces.
The seminar concluded with a lively Q&A session. It attracted a good number of HKMU students, staff, and members of the wider community.