PANEL 8: LINGUISTICS, LANGUAGE POLICIES AND DIGITAL TOOLS

Lecture Theatre 5, 13:00- 14:30
Chair: Sara Abdelmawgoud

 

The Hong Kong Strategy: Linguistic Politeness in Hong Kong Cantonese when compared to British English and Standard Mandarin Chinese
Adam Daniel Sheridan, MA Student, Australian National University

Across languages, politeness strategies are frequently identified as variant and well-researched. Speakers of British English tend to apologise more than do speakers of Standard Mandarin Chinese, particularly preceding requests and interruptions, but to what extent are politeness strategies in other Chinese languages comparable to tendencies of politeness strategy use in British English and/or Mandarin Chinese? In a pilot study on Hong-Kong (HK) Cantonese, native speakers of HK Cantonese completed role-play scenarios with the researcher online, corresponding directly to scenarios presented in Han (2012) which established different conversational politeness strategies between British English and Mandarin Chinese speakers. This allowed for direct comparison of the results. It was expected that HK Cantonese would vary from Mandarin Chinese and, aligning more closely with British English politeness strategies due to the recent history of substantial British involvement and governance in the region. However, not only were the politeness strategy results for HK Cantonese dramatically different from politeness strategy types and applications thereof in both Mandarin Chinese and British English, but they also showed drastic variation in politeness strategy production rates by sex, with males producing politeness strategies 274% more frequently than did females. While certain sociolinguistic base was proposed to explain these differences, further data is needed to corroborate such unexpected results in HK Cantonese more generally. It would be interesting to extend this study to other regional varieties of Cantonese, as well as other Yue languages and regional languages such as the Zhuang-Tai group known to have historical connections to them, in an attempt to determine baseis for these differences.

Adam Daniel Sheridan is a current student of the Masters of General and Applied Linguistics at the Australian National University. He is a qualified Personal Trainer and Swim Instructor, and has worked privately as an academic editor since 2013, contributing to a number of Honours and Masters Thesis publications at ANU. He speaks English, Mandarin and French, with varying additional competencies in Cantonese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Turkish, Hebrew, Modern Standard Arabic, Russian and ASL. His primary research interests include the histories and applications of Martial Arts, sports performance and physiology, phonetics and phonology, tonetics and tonology, linguistic politeness and pragmatics, linguistic relativity, and pedagogical application in various fields.

 


 

Communication in the Sciences in the 21st Century: A Linguistic Analysis between Academic Writing and Popular Science Writing
Gayani Ranawake, PhD Candidate, University of New South Wales, Canberra

Effective communication is central to any discipline of study. This study deals with effective written communication in science. Scientists are responsible for conveying their research findings not only to their discourse community but also to the public. Adopting appropriate writing style and using proper linguistic choices to address different target audiences is challenging. Scholars who work in a particular discipline for a long period of time gain a better understanding of genre conventions, writing style, terminology and linguistic choices of their fields of interest. But novice researchers find it difficult to acquire those skills within a short period of time. There is a limited research on language use of scientists. This study investigates the differences and similarities of linguistic choices in science journal articles and popular science magazine articles. This study is a part of a larger project investigating genre and gender differences in scientific writing. The sample for this study is composed of 60 research articles from three science journals and 60 popular science magazine articles fromtwo popular science magazines. The linguistic model employed in this study is Hyland’s metadiscourse model for academic writing proposed in 2005. The frequency of the usage of different linguistic devices was measured and interpreted in relation the two genres under investigation. The findings of this study will contribute to the enhancement of the quality of novice researchers’ scientific writing.

Gayani Ranawake is currently a PhD Candidate at UNSW, Canberra. Her research focus is interdisciplinary incorporating both domains of Science and Linguistics. Her research interests include Scientific Writing, Gender, Academic Literacy, Disciplinary Conventions and English as a Second Language. Gayani has presented her work in Australia, Sri Lanka, Italy, Singapore and Japan and won the best presenter’s award in ICTCS (Singapore, 2016) and ICLTS (Japan, 2019­). Gayani brings broad teaching experience gained from working as a university tutor and a school teacher in overseas and within Australia.

 


 

The Language Divide in Investment: The case of Japanese FDI in Developing Asia
Andree Surianta, PhD Candidate, Australian National University

This paper explores how foreign language abilities may impact a country's performance in the global economy.  Past empirical studies generally agree that language is an important Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) determinant and usually control for official language commonality in the analytical model.  Such approach, however, is not very useful for making policies as countries rarely change their official language. This paper proposes an extension to the treatment of language in gravity model which accounts for the presence of foreign language learners when no common language exists.  This is achieved by leveraging data on Japanese language learner and Japanese FDI into Developing Asia.  It finds a positive relationship between foreign language learners and FDI levels, supporting the importance of language as FDI determinant while highlighting a policy option that considers language not as a dividing barrier but as a connecting channel instead.

Andree Surianta is a PhD candidate in Policy & Governance at the Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.  With nearly fifteen years of experience living and working for private and public sector in Indonesia, Canada, Malaysia and Australia, he has developed a strong interest in topics around foreign language skills, human capital and foreign direct investment.  He has blogged about these subjects in LinkedIn Pulse and his thesis attempts to synthesize them into an integrative policy framework.  Aside from research, he also tutors Masters students in the Policy & Governance and Resources, Environment & Development subjects.  He is also active in student advocacy, serving as an elected representative of the Postgraduate and Research Student Association at ANU. 

 


 

Digital humanities: As simple as Google tools, as complex as one wants
Vu Lam, PhD Candidate, University of New South Wales, Canberra

The past decade has seen a surge in the research, creation and implementation of digital tools that support social sciences and humanities research – aptly named digital humanities. Among those tools, there is a wide array of web-based tools that facilitate the collection and analysis of online user data to make predictions and demonstrate trends. While some of the tools require the average researcher to have programming skills, many are as simple as performing a Google search. Google Trends and Google Keyword Planners are among the more accessible and user- friendly tools. These tools provide beneficial insights into public curiosity, which is of great help to any research involved with public opinion and communication. This presentation is a brief discussion on what those tools can do with examples from a diplomatic study whose one of the objectives is to establish a link between policy intent and effect based on internet user interest.

Vu Lam is a PhD candidate at the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, UNSW Canberra. He holds a master’s degree in International Studies (Advanced) from the University of Queensland. His 10-year stint as international officer for a flagship Vietnamese university has sparked his academic interest in soft power and public diplomacy. His writings, academic or otherwise, can be found on Asian Politics & Policy and The Interpreter.