The Department of English is pleased to introduce the latest HSUHK English Taster Lecture series conducted by professors of linguistics and literature from the Department. We will discuss different aspects of English, its latest developments and real-world applications of linguistic and literary knowledge, which are most suitable to Secondary 4-6 students interested in English.
Each of the half-an-hour taster lectures will be conducted on Microsoft Teams so every participant may have a chance to exchange views and thoughts with our professors directly. The details are as follows:
JULY 15 8:00-8:45 PM
Studying Language in the Big Data Era (Cantonese)
Everyone talks about big data. What does it mean for language enthusiasts and scholars? In this talk, we look at how knowledge of finding and analyzing data can help us better understand human language and make language learning more fun. We will get some hands-on experience in using language databases that are available online.
By Dr Charles Lam, Assistant Professor
If you are interested in joining the online lectures, please register through this form one day before the event. We will then send you the link to the Microsoft Teams session.
MAY 27 8:00-8:45 PM
Language Learning through the Lens of Feral Children (Cantonese)
Human beings boast distinctive capacity for language acquisition. However, if one is deprived of the opportunities of language contact from childhood, can s/he still manage to learn a language from scratch in adulthood? In addition, why do some people learn a second language such as English better than others? In this talk, I will discuss a few known cases of feral children and their language learning experiences. Then I will analyse key factors in language acquisition including the critical period and the contexts, which may shed light on English learning for students and parents in Hong Kong.
By Dr Gavin Bui, Associate Professor, Associate Head of the Department of English
JUNE 3 8:00-8:45 PM
From Bartleby to Burnout Society (Cantonese)
For the philosopher Byung-Chul Han, humans are living in a ‘burnout society’. They are exhausted under the culture of over-production and over-achievement. The society promotes productivity in every aspect of life, stifling differences, secrets and the unknown. Byung-Chul Han argues that the problem with today’s society is its overemphasis on the goodness of productivity. Alongside that is the by-product of depression and other neurotic illnesses. This lecture will illustrate such a tired society by looking at Bartleby, a classical figure in nineteenth-century American literature. He refuses to join the productive culture in his office and perishes at the end.
By Dr Paul Fung, Associate Professor, Head of the Department of English
JUNE 10 8:00-8:45 PM
From English to Englishes and Beyond (English)
世界英語 浩瀚無垠 （英語）
One of the common myths about studying English at university is that it is all about Shakespeare. Or in the context of Hong Kong, students tend to have the misconception that English is just an international language. While in Shakespeare’s time, English was the vernacular language of one nation, which embodied the history, culture and tradition of England, English is now the national language of many various countries, carrying with it significant elements of national cultures, political, social and territorial bonds. In this talk, we are going to survey through the evolution of the English language and to see how English has come a long way over ages from a national language, to a colonial language, and to become the version we use today.
By Dr Catherine Wong, Assistant Professor
JUNE 17 8:00-8:45 PM
Where Did English Come From? Where Is It Going (English)
English is now the world’s most important international language, but this is not always the case. English was once just another language spoken on an island off the coast of Europe and for hundreds of years it did not have high status even within England. How English survived and was changed by wars and invasions and contact with speakers of other languages is a fascinating story, but the story of English is still ongoing. Wherever and however it is used today, whether as a daily language or a language for wider communication or specific functions, modern varieties of English continued to develop and diverge. It is not yet clear whether English will continue to grow and spread at the expense of other languages, or diversify and split into many related but not always mutually understandable languages. This talk discusses how the history of English and the story of its development may offer insights into its possible future.
它曾經只是歐洲一個島上的另一種語言。即使在英格蘭，它的地位幾百年來並不高。我們會探討英語生存的故事 ， 了解英語如何因戰爭和入侵以及與其他語言的使用者接觸而改變。
By Dr Donovan Grose, Assistant Professor
JUNE 24 8:00-8:45 PM
It’s the End of the World! Apocalypse Narratives and Domination (English)
Renowned cultural critic, Fredric Jameson suggests that “it is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism”. Jameson’s point is that we find it almost impossible to believe that it is possible to live in a world that does not follow capitalist principles, which for Jameson create inequality and injustice. The last 30 years have seen a massive surge in apocalypse narratives (stories of the end of the world), and post-apocalypse narratives (stories set after the fall of civilisation). This talk will examine three of this kind of narrative (Avengers: Endgame , Travelers [2016-2018], The Road ), and ask whether they make it easier or more difficult to believe in a better future where we might improve our unjust economic, social and political systems.
著名的文化評論家詹明信（Fredric Jameson）講過：「想像世界的終結比想像資本主義的終結要容易得多」。 詹明信認為，我們幾乎無法相信會有可能生活在一個不遵循資本主義原則的世界中，對他而言，一個會造成不平等和不公正世界中。
過去三十年，以世界末日和末日後為題材的敘事激增。 是次演講會探討其中三個敘事（電影《復仇者聯盟4：終局之戰》  、劇集《旅行者》 [2016-2018]和電影《末路浩劫》 ） ，了解這些作品會否令我們更相信可以擁有一個更好的未來，從而有望改善不公義的經濟、社會和政治制度。
By Dr Jay Parker, Assistant Professor
JULY 8 8:00-8:45 PM
How to be polite in English? (English)
Second language learners seem to know how to use “thank you” and “please” at an early age, but does politeness just entail the use of these words? This talk introduces different types of politeness and politeness strategies to be used in different situations. Knowing the right type of politeness strategy for the right kind of situation can help learners build a good image and facilitate their communication with others.
雖然很多人的母語並非英語，但大多都很早就知道Thank you 和 Please 的用法，問題是，僅僅使用這些單詞就代表自己很禮貌嗎？
By Dr Maggie Ma, Assistant Professor