The Second Forum for Interdisciplinary Study of Language was Convened at SISU
Time: Nov 20.2021

The Second Forum for Interdisciplinary Study of Language was convened at Shanghai International Studies University today. The forum was co-organized by Committee of Interdisciplinary Study of Language affiliated to China University Alliance for the Development of Foreign Language and Literature Discipline (CUAFLL) and the Institute of Corpus Studies and Applications at SISU.

In his opening ceremony speech, President of SISU Li Yansong expressed his warm welcome and thanks to all guests and scholars, and his wish for a combined effort at creating opportunities so that foreign language discipline could play a more significant role in state-level key development areas and a discipline focusing on multi-language, interdisciplinarity and cross-culture becomes possible.

There were five keynote speeches in the morning session, which were chaired respectively by professors Han Ziman, Jiang Yong and Geng Qiang from ICSA.

Xiong Ziyu, a full-time researcher from China’s Social Science Academy, made a speech titled as “Research and Applications of Phonetics Based on Data”. Professor Xiong introduced three types of speech sound corpus and databank and then presented how to conduct data-driven research and its applications in a wide array of areas.

Professor Chen Changlai from Shanghai Normal University shared with his audience a speech on how to develop the discipline of language in a line with advocation for a new humanity in China. After a critical review of the loopholes in today’s language discipline, Chen made a close analysis of what challenges lie ahead and proposed divergent ways of updating the discipline with regard to theoretical and methodological innovation.

Professor Wen Xu from Southwest University made his report of “Embodied Social Cognition and Speech Communication”. The notion of “embodied cognition” suggests that human’s body experience is fundamental to how we communicate, know, express feelings and exchange verbal messages. Thus understood, social cognition is also related to embodied cognition. Professor Wen made analysis of the foundation and principles informing speech communication.

Professor He Wei from Beijing Foreign Studies University delivered a speech on “Holistic Development of Functional Syntax Theories”. Based on comparative analysis of two theoretical models in Systemic Functional Linguistics (Sidney and Cardiff models), He pointed out their advantages and disadvantages. Then, He made a new assumption of a new weak scale by integrating the above two models, suggesting that the definition of syntactical categories and syntactical relations should reflect the complicated features of real language fact.

Professor Shi Xu from School for Contemporary Chinese Discourse Studies at Hangzhou Normal University gave a speech of “China’s Global Communication Strategies in a Turbulent World”, arguing that the rich and excellent discourse sources hidden in Chinese culture could be utilized to produce a package of concepts, projects and wisdom for today’s world which has grown more insecure, conflictual, and unstable. China could play a proactive role in contributing to the governance of world affairs.

Six keynote speeches were presented in the afternoon session.

Professor Ni Yibin from ICSA gave his speech of “Misleading Interpretations of Chinese Stories in the West”. His decades-long research of Chinese stories taken from Chinese porcelains proved that misleading interpretations were frequently made of the Chinese stories described on Chinese porcelains exhibited in various museums and art galleries across the globe. Ni grouped the misleading interpretations into different categories and then built a multi-modal corpus to analyze so correct interpretation could be worked out for future reference.

Professor Zhang Falian from China University of Political Science and Law delivered a speech on “A new paradigm of legal language research from the perspective of foreign rule of law”, which integrated law research with language studies and presented how to translate China’s law concepts and practice to accurate foreign languages.

Professor Jiang Meng from Sichuan International Studies University addressed the topic of “Language Intelligence Studies from the Perspective of Cognitive Science”, in which he made a full introduction to cognitive science, the technology involved and how to conduct research in Language Intelligence from an angle of cognitive science.

Professor Shang Biwu from Shanghai Jiao Tong University made a speech of “Pushing Forward Narrative Studies by Integrating with Linguistics”. After a brief review of how the two disciplines of linguistics and narratology developed over time, he presented the ways of combining the two disciplines for a better study of literature.

Professor Zhao Ronghui from SISU focused her speech on various issues concerning language policies. She made a diachronic analysis of the relationships between China’s social linguistics and language policies studies, pointing out that the nature of language policy must be understood within its social and historical contexts. Future studies can combine social linguistics and language policy research.

Dr. Lü Shanshan from ICSA gave a speech of “A semantic typology of location, existence, possession and copular verbs: A real patterns of polysemy in Mainland East and Southeast Asia”. Her speech made a close analysis of the origin of the languages in Mainland East and Southeast Asia and the route of their grammaticalization.

The keynote speeches in the afternoon were conducted in four different sessions, which centered on topics of “legal language and translation”, “interdisciplinary language studies”, “internal study of language and applications” and “language data science and applications”.

The Forum was ended with a summary by Professor Hu, dean of ICSA, who highlighted that foreign language as a discipline in China needed to be approached from divergent disciplines by integrating with modern technology. Only in doing so, we could push this discipline forward and make it valuable to other disciplines.