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Conference Information



Full Title: Future of English in Asia: Perspectives on Language and Literature

      
Short Title: FOEIA
Location: Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Start Date: 19-Apr-2013 - 21-Apr-2013
Contact: Michael O'Sullivan
Meeting Email: click here to access email
Meeting URL: http://call-for-papers.sas.upenn.edu/node/46891
Meeting Description: Future of English in Asia: Perspectives on Language and Literature
April 19-21, 2013
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

As English becomes progressively more multimodal and destandardized and as we look to a future where by 2050 Chinese ‘will have nearly triple the numbers of speakers that English has’ (Ostler, 2003) it is important to explore how English can respond to the challenges and opportunities of this multilingual age. Whether we see English as a tool to ‘win friends and influence people,’ as a lingua franca, or as a language whose use is now more symbolic than communicative, its possibilities remain endless. Now that English looks to a new stage in its history in this globalized ‘Asian century’ it is timely that the future of English is explored from an Asian perspective. If Hong Kong can provide us with an acid test for the possibilities that lie ahead for English in Asia, then recent events that point to a change in attitude to English in Hong Kong can be revealing of broader trends. It is important that the dimensions of this shift in perspective are examined so that the relevant disciplines (Linguistics, ESL, Literary Studies, World Englishes, English Education, to name but a selection) can adapt accordingly. In linguistics alone there has been a great deal of research on Hong Kong English (HKE) by Deterding, Kirkpatrick and others. It has been argued that English language benchmarks in HKE are often based on exonormative (usually RP English) models of English which may not represent the English actually spoken in Hong Kong (Kirkpatrick, 2007). This has informed recent debates in Hong Kong society on the relative merits of multilingual teachers and native English teachers for secondary schools. This conference sets out to explore how such issues are transforming English language teaching and learning in university curriculums across Asia.

English literary studies is another important element of English in Asia. Literary studies offers a valuable outlet and resource for English language students. Literary education fosters literacy and intercultural education as well as enabling imaginative and creative learning. It offers a broader approach to learning than one grounded solely on critical thinking. In a recent article on education in Hong Kong, Anthony Cheung Bing-leung points to the promise subjects such as literary studies can hold for education in general. Cheung Bing-leung argues that education in Hong Kong is in danger of becoming ‘commodity’ education. He warns against what Harry Lewis, a former dean of Harvard, called ‘excellence without a soul’. He suggests we should offer a system of education where the ‘new generation’ should ‘be able to display imagination and creativity unbounded by conventional wisdom and mainstream thinking’. In the current academic curriculum in Hong Kong, English literary studies (ELS) and the important local tradition of Hong Kong literature in English provide a valuable resource for such imaginative and creative learning.
Linguistic Subfield: Applied Linguistics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
LL Issue: 23.2917


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