Invited speakers

Prof. Gladys Tang (Chinese University of Hong Kong) [abstract]

Prof. Gladys Tang

Prof. Tang completed my Bachelor of Arts at the University of Hong Kong and my PhD at the University of Edinburgh, UK. In 1989, she joined The Chinese University of Hong Kong, and have been teaching linguistics and applied linguistics until now. In 2003, she established the Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies to consolidate research and training in the Sign Linguistics, Deaf Education and Sign Interpretation for HK, China and the Asia Pacific region. She has been Director of the Centre until now. In 2004, she founded the Department of Linguistics and Modern Languages and became Chairperson until 2011. To date, the linguistic curriculum at CUHK features training in Sign Linguistics and Hong Kong Sign Language at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Because of her work, she has been actively involved in liaising with the government units of Hong Kong and some Asian countries in the use of natural signed language in basic and tertiary education. She has also been actively working with some Asian universities and deaf associations in the establishment of Sign Linguistics as a disciplinary study in their countries.
Prof. Tang has three major strands of research:

  • The structure of Hong Kong Sign Language at different linguistic levels.
  • The acquisition of signed language by deaf children. In recent years, she also ventured into unraveling how deaf children acquire spoken language and signed language from a bilingual acquisition perspective.
  • The effect of sign bilingualism and co-enrollment in educating deaf and hearing students.

Dr. Robin Thompson (University of Birmingham) [abstract]

Robin ThompsonDr. Thompson is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Birmingham, UK and the director of the Multimodal, Multilingual Language Processing Lab (ML2). She is interested in the interaction of language with different aspects of human cognition and perception as well as how information from both linguistic and non-linguistic sources affect language processing and acquisition. Language is more reliant on other cognitive and perceptual systems than previously thought and knowledge of how language is integrated with, for example, vision and motor systems is critical for an accurate understanding of basic language processing as well as in defining a theoretical framework of language. Much of her research to date has focused on the relationship between language and modality (signed and spoken languages), including areas such as the role of iconicity and multiple information channels (e.g., hands, mouth, eyes) for language processing and acquisition. She also does research on Deaf reading, the linguistic functions of eye gaze in sign language, and the nature of speech-sign bilingualism.

Dr Thompson worked as a sign language interpreter and teacher before receiving an MA in Linguistics and an interdisciplinary PhD in Cognitive Science and Linguistics at University of California, San Diego. She has since worked at The Salk Institute (Laboratory for Cognitive Neuroscience) and at San Diego State University (Laboratory for Language and Cognitive Neuroscience) with Professor Karen Emmorey and at the Deafness Cognition and Language Research Centre at University College London.

Prof. Paula Fikkert (Radboud University Nijmegen) [abstract]

Prof. Paula FikkertProf. Fikkert’s research focuses on the acquisition of phonological representations and the role they play in early speech perception and production.  Phonological representations mediate between the acoustic signal and meaning in speech perception and between meaning and the articulatory output in speech production. Thus, phonological representations in the brain lay the foundation for successful communication. Yet, the nature of phonological representations that are built up during language acquisition is far from clear. This program aims at unravelling this. The acquisition of phonological representations in Sign Language may offer important insights into the nature of such representations. A substantial part of this research is carried out in the Baby Research Center in Nijmegen; another part is based on databases on child language production (CLPF database on spoken production; IPROSLA on signed production).
Prof. Fikkert leads the First Language Acquisition Group of the Centre for Language Studies at Radboud University.