Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics
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​The Department of Linguistics and Applied Linguistics was established in May 2003, following the establishment of discipline of linguistics and applied linguistics in the early 1980s. The discipline currently recruits doctoral candidates in the field of linguistics and applied linguistics (sociolinguistics and Chinese language education) and master’s candidates in the fields of theoretical linguistics, applied linguistics, and teaching Chinese as a foreign language. It also teaches linguistic theory and related professional elective courses to undergraduate students.

The Department currently has nine faculty members, including professors Zhang Weijia, Fu Ailan, Zhang Heyou and Song Zuoyan; and associate professors Rong Jing, Sun Wei, Zhou Shihong, Wang Qing and Wang Gaowu, all of whom have doctoral degrees. The current director is Professor Zhang Weijia and the deputy director is Professor Song Zuoyan.

The development of this discipline and the Department are the result of concentrated efforts of the previous generation of linguists. Renowned linguist Professor Wu Tieping was committed to the study on linguistic theory, in particular the study on foreign linguistics. He authored publications including “Fuzzy Linguistics” and “Linguistics is a Leading Science”, and presided over the compilation of “Language and Character Recognition”“Fuzzy Linguistics” won the first prize at the 6th Outstanding Achievement Awards in Social Sciences of the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences. Professors Zhong Zheming, Huang Zhixian, Wu Tieping, and Cen Yunqiang have all been chief editors to introductory textbooks to linguistics of various styles, which have generated wide influence in the field of linguistics teaching.

This discipline and the Department carry the flame of previous generation of linguists. The publications of Professor Zhang Weijia, namely, Evolution and Competition: Changes in the Phonological Structure of Guanzhong Dialect, Levels and Origin of Hanja (Korean Characters), and Comparative Study on Yanhe Dialect in Shanxi and Shaanxi Provinces (combined) won the second prize at the 10th Wang Li Awards in Linguistics, third prize at the Ministry of Education’s 6th  and 7th  Outstanding Achievements of Scientific Research in Higher Education Institutions (Humanities and Social Sciences), and the first prize for Outstanding Achievements in Humanities and Social Sciences Research in Shaanxi Colleges and Universities, respectively. The publications of Professor Fu Ailan, namely, Grammatical Category of Verbs in Pumi Language, New Theory on Tibetan and Burmese Languages (combined), On the Relationship between Chinese and Ethnic Minority Languages (combined), and Applied Research on Ethnic Minority Languages in China (combined) won the second prize at the 8th Wang Li Awards in Linguistics, second prize at the State Education Commission’s 2nd National University Press Outstanding Academic Publication Awards, third prize for the Ministry of Education’s 2nd Humanities and Social Sciences Research Achievements in Regular Colleges and Universities, and second prize for Outstanding Achievements in Philosophy and Social Sciences in Beijing, respectively. Professor Song Zuoyan’s publication Research in Lexicon Generation Theory and the Imposing Phenomenon of Mandarin Chinese Events won the first prize at the 18th Lyu Shuxiang Awards in Linguistics. Professor Zhang Heyou’s publication Syntactic and Semantic Studies of the Structure of the Character Shi () and textbook Introduction to Linguistics (co-editor), Introduction to Sociolinguistics edited by Associate Professors Sun Wei and Zhou Shihong, as well as An Outline of Lexicology by Associate Professor Wang Qing all generated considerable impact in the field of linguistics teaching and scientific research in colleges and universities in China. Professors Fu Ailan, Zhang Weijia, Zhang Heyou, Song Zuoyan, and Rong Jing have all published papers in the journal Chinese Language. The Department is in charge of over 10 projects at the provincial and ministerial levels, including research on the semantic interface of Mandarin Chinese syntax, research on Chinese interrogative morphology-syntax interface, typological research on Chinese sentence information structures, research on dialect grammar from the perspective of typology, Hanyu Pinyin (Standard Mandarin Chinese romanization system) teaching and Putonghua (Standard Mandarin Chinese) testing, language and cultural resource database and digital museum construction and research, and research in Putonghua phonetic physiology.

Our staff values theoretical and applied research based on the facts of language. The main research interests are as follows:

I. Research on Syntactic and Semantic

From a cross-cultural and cross-linguistic perspective, this research direction focuses on the adoption of cutting-edge theory such as linguistic typology, cognitive-functional linguistics, and generative linguistics in conducting in-depth topical research on important issues in the fields of dialect syntax, lexical semantics, morphological syntax, generative lexicon, syntax-pragmatics interface, and sentence information structure. Professor Zhang Heyou’s research on comparison of words in Chinese and English language systems, Associate Professor Rong Jing’s research on Chinese dialect demonstratives, Associate Professor Sun Wei’s research on the structure of ancient Chinese eventsProfessor Song Zuoyan’s research on generative lexicon theory, and Associate Professor Zhou Shihong’s research on sentence information structures have all generated significant impact in their fields.

II. Research on Lexicology and Cultural Semantics

This research direction strives to exercise the role of the basic discipline of linguistics to explore the nature and functions of language in the wider knowledge structure, and establish social, historical, and cultural perspectives for the study of lexical and semantic evolution. Associate Professor Wang Qing is experienced in the research on the culture of history and language, language and script, Buddhist scripture translation, and the history of Chinese and foreign cultural exchanges.

III. Research on Historical Linguistics and Experimental Phonology

This research direction adopts speech as the main research entry point, and adopts cutting-edge theory and methodology such as historical linguistics, evolutionary phonology, experimental phonetics, and linguistic musicology in conducting in-depth research on important issues in the fields of historical levels and type evolution of Chinese dialects, ethnic language contact, speech physiology modeling, teaching of Standard Mandarin Chinese phonetics, and prosody in reading ancient Chinese poetry. The research outcomes of Professor Fu Ailan on Tibetan and Burmese grammar, and that of Professor Zhang Weijia’s on Hanja phonetic syllables and the evolution of northwestern Chinese dialect types, carry certain significance in the construction of the history of ethnic language relations and the history of northwestern Chinese dialects. Associate Professor Wang Gaowu’s research on the geometric model of Standard Mandarin Chinese vocal tracts has practical application value in various fields including speech engineering, Chinese language education, and speech therapy. 

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