Nick Evans in China
Nick Evans and Hong Kong-based Partner Investigators Virginia Yip (CUHK) and Stephen Matthews (UHK) were featured speakers at the first China–Australia Symposium on Bilingualism held at the College of Chinese Language and Culture, Jinan University, Guangzhou, from 2-5 November, coorganised by Ruying Qi, head of the Bilingualism Laboratory, WSU and Dean Shao Yi of Jinan University.
Here in Australia we tend to think of 'heritage languages' and 'major world languages' like Mandarin as disjunctive, but Jinan University specialises in the teaching of Chinese to overseas Chinese for whom Chinese is a heritage language which they may not have mastered, and it was enlightening to see the problems of language teaching and maintenance brought together in this way.
Nurturing bilingualism up through childhood plays a crucial role, and the conference included a special evening workshop for parents struggling with the challenges of raising their children bilingually.
On his way back, Nick visited the Childhood Bilingualism Research Centre of the Chinese University of Hong Kong to deliver a 'Distinguished Scholar Lecture in Bilingualism and Human Complexity' on the topic: 'The multilingual matrix of language evolution: Lessons from small-scale speech communities'.