College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

Hong Kong partnership boosts language learning

A University centre promoting bilingualism and language learning has expanded its network with the opening of a branch in Asia.

Bilingualism Matters has launched in partnership with the Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The new centre will carry out research and community outreach projects focusing on bilingualism education and its effect on language and cognitive development.

Language exposure

One of the new areas of work will be to examine the benefits of being bilingual in a spoken language and a signed language.

A project called Fun with Sign and Speech (FS2) will be the first to investigate how early exposure to two languages, especially those stemming from two different modalities, benefits child speech and cognitive development.

Early exposure to two languages, including those stemming from two different modalities, benefits child development. The joint research will underpin outreach programmes in the UK and elsewhere.

Professor Antonella SoraceDirector of Bilingualism Matters, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Fun with Sign and Speech (FS2) provides an excellent platform for Bilingualism Matters and CSLDS to develop a community outreach and research model to promote and examine the effects of early bimodal bilingualism on child development.

Professor Gladys TangDirector of the Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong

The Bilingualism Matters Centre was established in 2008 at the University of Edinburgh to provide information to different sectors of society on the benefits and challenges of multilingualism and language learning.

International Network

It has since expanded into a network of 25 higher education institutions.

The Centre has branches in England - in Essex and Reading, across Europe in Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia and Spain and in the Middle East, as well as five branches in the US.

 Bilingualism Matters 

The Chinese University of Hong Kong 

Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies 

Photo caption - (From left) Prof. Felix Sze, Co-director of CSLDS and Associate Professor of the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, CUHK; Dr. Chi-ming Lee, Director, Office of Research and Knowledge Transfer Services, CUHK; Prof. Antonella Sorace, Professor of Developmental Linguistics and Director of the Centre Bilingualism Matters, University of Edinburgh; Prof. Gladys Tang, Director of CSLDS and Professor of the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages, CUHK; Prof. Chi Pun Yuen, Associate Professor of the Department of Special Education and Counselling at The Education University of Hong Kong.