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The 21st Chinese Lexical Semantics Workshop (CLSW2020)

Hong Kong Secondary School Research Award

The 21st Chinese Lexical Semantics Workshop (CLSW2020), a premier forum for Chinese linguistics research, will be held at City University of Hong Kong on 28-31 May 2020. CityU’s Department of Linguistics and Translation, which ranks 32nd among linguistics departments in the world and 2nd in Hong Kong, will host the workshop. And the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong will co-host the workshop.

For the first time, CLSW will offer a high school track. Senior secondary school students (Forms 4-6) will have a chance to present their work and receive feedback from leading experts at the workshop.

Important dates

Submission deadline: 1 May 2020
Notice of acceptance: 10 May 2020
Project presentation date: 31 May 2020

Project topics

The theme for the secondary school track is “Language landscapes in Hong Kong”.

We invite submissions on the following topics:

1. Linguistic fun and creativity in Hong Kong

There are many unique features of language usage in Hong Kong.

  • Identify Chinese characters that were invented in Hong Kong in the last ten years and discuss their meanings and uses.
  • Identify Chinese words or expressions that have a significantly different meaning in Hong Kong and in other Chinese-speaking communities.
  • What other aspects of language are fun or inspiring to you? These aspects could be specific written forms, certain rules in grammar, or more abstract patterns in language use. What are their features and characteristics?
  • Do you notice any mixing of two or more languages in the linguistic landscape or in the languages spoken around you? Does this mixing happen between sentences? Between words? Within one word?

2. Linguistic diversity in Hong Kong

Hong Kong is home to speakers of many languages and dialects, including different varieties of Chinese.

  • How many languages or dialects can you identify being used among your friends, family, or in your community? How does the linguistic diversity around you affect/change your life?
  • What are some frequently used words or expressions in languages other than Chinese and English? What are their written forms, what do they mean, and why are they used at all?
  • Look at the language on official signs (government signs, school signs etc.), or in official documents. Which languages are included and in what order? How does the planning of language affect your daily life?
  • Are there any special words or languages that are used to advertise certain products? Are you likely to see the same linguistic forms used to advertise both a French bakery and an electronics store? Why or why not?
  • What do the patterns tell us about the association between words, languages and advertising?

3. Movie names and subtitles in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, foreign movies are often dubbed or subtitled into Chinese.

  • What are the common practices of subtitling (translation) for movies in Hong Kong?
  • What are the differences between dubbing and translation for foreign movies in Hong Kong?
  • Are foreign movie names translated into Chinese differently in Hong Kong, compared with those in other Chinese-speaking communities?

4. Linguistics in the AI era

Computers can now use artificial intelligence (AI) to produce language, for example in automatic translation, chatbots, intelligent personal assistants.

  • What are some funny translations or responses from chatbots or personal assistants you have noticed?
  • What types of words or sentences are computers good at understanding and processing? What types do they have trouble with? Why do you think this is the case?

We encourage you to base your project on authentic examples from everyday life. You may consider showing examples from, for example, social media, casual conversations between friends, street art, web pages or text collections such as LIVAC (www.livac.org).


Your submission can be in English or Chinese, using any of the following formats:

  1. Essay: The essay may have up to 1500 Chinese characters or English words, excluding footnotes and references. (Word or PDF format)
  2. Slides: Up to 20 slides (PowerPoint or PDF format)
  3. Video: Up to 5 minutes (Mp4 format)


All senior secondary school students (Forms 4-6) are eligible to participate, either individually or in groups of up to 4. Please submit your project to CLSW.secondaryschool@cityu.edu.hk with the subject "CLSW Secondary School Track".

Result announcement

The CLSW Program Committee will review your submission. Notice of acceptance will be sent by e-mail by 31 March 2020. Accepted projects will be presented either in 10-minute oral sessions or as posters at CLSW on Sunday, 31 May 2020.

The authors of all accepted projects will receive a certificate of participation. Book coupons will be awarded to the three best projects. The authors will also be offered free registration to attend any session during the four-day CLSW and learn from the scholars.

Page last updated: 28 February 2020