Public Lecture for Wilson T S Wang - New Method College Visiting Professorship in Language Education 2023-24
"If Communication Is More than Words: Multimodal Perspectives on Chinese Language Education" by Prof. Hongyin TAO


2 May 2024




LT 9, G/F, Yasumoto International Academic Park, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Prof. Hongyin TAO
Professor of Chinese Language and Linguistics
University of California, Los Angeles

Biography of Speaker:

Hongyin Tao is a professor of Chinese language and linguistics at the University of California, Los Angeles; he also holds an honorary Distinguished Chair Professor position at the National Taiwan Normal University (since 2015), was a Fulbright Canada Research Chair with the University of Alberta (2022), and was a Sydney China Distinguished Fellow with the University of Sydney (2024). His research and teaching focus on the social, cultural, and interactional aspects of Chinese language use in context. Among his over 150 publications are Chinese under Globalization (World Scientific, 2011), Global Chinese Variation – USA (Commercial Press 2022), and Learner Corpora Construction and Explorations in Chinese and Related Languages (Springer 2023). He serves on editorial boards of over 30 academic publications and was a former president of the Chinese Language Teachers Association, USA.


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Synopsis of Lecture:

While word choice is a powerful way for people to communicate ideas, in face-to-face communication, speakers often use more than words and they communicate more than information. Thus, people are observed to be sensitive to not just what is being said but also how it is being said. As such, recent developments in research on language and social interaction have increasingly focused on interactional resources beyond verbal expressions and have expanded to the multimodal realms of communication, including conversational structure, prosody, spatial configurations, and embodied actions. In this talk, I will first demonstrate the need to investigate the multimodal character of social interaction in systematic ways. I will then explore some potential applications of multimodal interactional analysis in the area of L2 Chinese language teaching and learning, including the adaptation of teaching materials, design of classroom activities, as well as training and monitoring of teacher development.