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PhD Candidates Triumph in the 2nd FH Three-Minute Thesis Competition

The Faculty of Humanities (FH) hosted its 2nd Three-Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition on 12 June, showcasing the research prowess of its PhD students. The event challenged participants to present their complex research projects in just three minutes, emphasising clarity, conciseness, and effective communication. Our doctoral candidates have emerged victorious in this competition. The winner is Joanna Chen, with John Ganaah as first runner-up. Both students’ research and presentation skills showcased the depth and rigour of the work being done in our Department. They will represent FH in the University-wide 3MT competition (semifinal) scheduled for 24 June. Please join us in extending your warmest congratulations to Joanna and John on their remarkable achievements. Their success is a testament to the exceptional calibre of students at our Department!

18 Jun, 2024


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New article on the static welfare claimant vs. the dynamic migrant: Contrasting figures of personhood in YouTube comments

This new article by our Dr John Scott Daly, published in the Journal of Language and Politics under John Benjamins Publishing Company, analyses YouTube comments attached to an episode of Benefits Street (a British factual welfare television programme) which enregister two figures of personhood: "The static, unmotivated British benefits claimant" and "the dynamic, driven migrant". Using Park's (2021) critical heuristic of time, space and affect, the study finds that the welfare claimant figure is constructed as a social failure, and the migrant as both a yardstick (to measure the failure) and a rattan stick (to punish it). The key factor is mobility: The migrant experiences social mobility via mental mobility (i.e., motivation) and spatial mobility (i.e., travelling for opportunities). The welfare claimant's lack of mental and spatial mobility prevents their social mobility. Ultimately, the paper argues that contrasting the figures represents an attack on rootedness and a celebration of neoliberal mobility based in ideals of meritocracy and the erasure of social class as a relevant construct. More information about the article can be found on the website HERE.

17 Jun, 2024



ENGL and RCPCE successfully hosted the International Civil Aviation English Association (ICAEA) Conference 2024: Research and developments in aviation communication (16 - 18 May 2024)

The International Civil Aviation English Association (ICAEA) Conference 2024 recently concluded a highly successful conference hosted by the Department of English and Communication (ENGL) through its Research Centre for Professional Communication in English (RCPCE). The conference brought together experts from industry and academia to explore a range of critical issues related to training, language assessment, and communicative competence in aviation, generating important insights and advancements to benefit the global aviation sector. Participants and plenary speakers from over 25 countries included Mr Catalin Popa representing the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO); Prof. Markus Bieswanger from Bayreuth University, Germany; Dr Malila Pardo from BNU-HKBU United International College, Zhuhai, China; Ms Jennifer Roberts from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Florida, USA; and ICAEA president Mr Michael Kay from Aeronautical Radio of Thailand. Key topics covered at the conference included recognising factors that determine communicative competence in aviation, identifying training needs to develop communication strategies, and advancements in assessment methods, including test design and delivery. "The ICAEA conference was a tremendous success, providing a platform for industry and academia to come together and tackle the critical issues surrounding English communication in aviation domains, especially targeting the strategic locations of Hong Kong and China’s Greater Bay Area,” said Prof. Eric Friginal, Head of ENGL and local organising committee chair. “The synergistic discussions and exchange of ideas have generated valuable insights that will significantly benefit the global aviation industry.  ENGL and RCPCE researchers and staff are honoured to host ICAEA 2024!” Some of the key outcomes and contributions from the conference include recommendations for updates to the ICAO Language Proficiency Requirements to enhance aviation communication standards worldwide; workshops on innovative assessment methods and online testing capabilities to improve the evaluation of aviation English proficiency; and curriculum development and teacher training strategies to better prepare aviation professionals for effective cross-cultural communication. Mr Popa emphasised the importance of collaborations and knowledge-sharing between industry and academia to accelerate progress in this critical field. The insights and outcomes from the conference will be shared through publications and ongoing collaboration among the attendees, driving meaningful improvements in aviation communication globally. ICAEA 2024 was supported by the Jiangsu-Hong Kong-Macao University Alliance (JHMUA) Open Bid Funding. For more information about the ICAEA and its activities, please visit

7 Jun, 2024



PolyU Department of English and Communication’s Outstanding Alumni Award 2024 – Announcement of awardees

We are delighted to share the names of the recipients of the Department of English and Communication’s Outstanding Alumni Award 2024. The Department would like to recognise the outstanding accomplishments of three of our alumni in their fields. The three awardees listed below have all made significant contributions to PolyU, our Department, and society. The Alumni and Young Alumni awardees, in alphabetical order by family name, are: 1. Miss Demi KIM Minju, Sustainable Development Associate, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Graduate of 2020) Outstanding Young Alumni Award in Community Service Achievement Miss Demi KIM has been instrumental in bridging the digital divide. Her career has spanned several roles in sustainable development, public diplomacy, and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) consultancy. Her roles at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific have significantly contributed to digital inclusivity. Beyond her exemplary work within the United Nations, Miss Kim has continued her global aspirations by relocating several times to international offices to focus on supporting ICT development projects in areas that need much support. Miss Kim’s unwavering commitment to digital rights and inclusivity is truly commendable. “I am truly delighted to receive the Outstanding Young Alumni Award from my proud alma mater,” said Miss Kim. “PolyU has been a transformative home for four years, offering an amazing experience that allowed me to widen my horizons. I especially want to thank the Department of English and Communication, where every single faculty staff had been incredibly supportive of students' aspirations, fostering an environment where we felt encouraged to explore and engage with the global community in diverse ways.” 2. Mr Paul LEE Ka Kei, Senior Manager, Kum Shing Group (Graduate of 2001) Outstanding Alumni Award in Community Service Achievement Mr Paul LEE’s contributions to our Department and PolyU are numerous and noteworthy. He was the founding chairman of the Department of English Alumni Association in 2002 and has actively supported various activities for the Federation of PolyU Alumni Associations. His long-term involvement with the Department's Departmental Advisory Committee over the past six years, both as a member and as Chair, further exemplifies his leadership and dedication. Mr Lee also devoted his strengths and passion for language and music to the PolyU community as the winner of the Alumni Category of the PolyU 85th Anniversary Theme Song Lyric Contest and a proficient Gaohu player at the 39th PolyU SAO Chinese Orchestra Annual Performance in September 2023. Mr Lee’s approachability and readiness to share his knowledge and mentor others truly set him apart. Mr Lee felt honoured to receive this award and said, "I owe a lot to PolyU, as it has given me three years of memorable study life. Ever since my graduation, it has been my oasis, a place where I can find peace. I'm delighted to be able to serve the school via alumni and other activities so that I continue to be part of the PolyU family." 3. Dr Jack PUN Kwok Hung, Associate Professor, Department of English, City University of Hong Kong (Graduate of 2011) Outstanding Young Alumni Award in Scholarly Achievement Dr Jack PUN’s extensive research in Language Education and Health Communication has significantly advanced our understanding of these domains. His research work includes two books on English as a Medium of Instruction (EMI) and 61 peer-reviewed articles. His work has been widely cited and has secured significant grant funding. Dr Pun's exceptional academic contributions have also been recognised with the New Researcher Award 2019 and the College Excellence in Knowledge Transfer Award 2020 from CityU. Dr Pun’s leadership roles, including editorial positions in high-quality journals and membership in key institutes and networks, have positioned him as an influential voice in his field. Dr Pun expressed his excitement about receiving this award: “I feel very excited to be selected for this outstanding alumni award. PolyU ENGL has nurtured me and helped me develop my academic career. I am truly thankful to my teachers and all the world-leading faculty members from PolyU ENGL.”

31 May, 2024



Research on migrant domestic helpers’ healthcare and communication challenges in Hong Kong

Research on the health and other structural issues faced by migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, conducted by our Prof. Hans Ladegaard, Dr Jeffry Oktavianus, and Dr Margo Turnbull has been featured in local news and online media. The researchers, led by Prof. Hans Ladegaard, have interviewed more than 700 Filipino and Indonesian migrant domestic workers and surveyed more than 400 to investigate their life stories and well-being in Hong Kong, covering topics from narratives about their (traumatic) experiences, health literacy and healthcare needs to their communication networks. In view of the increasing number of workers driven by growing demand for domestic elderly care in Hong Kong, these studies aimed to highlight the significance of cultivating favourable conditions for workers. Another research study, led by Dr Jeffry Oktavianus, found that community storytelling networks, including interpersonal relationships, community organisations, and media outlets, played an essential role in supporting migrant domestic workers in coping during the pandemic. His research has been published in the journal Health Communication under Taylor and Francis. On the other hand, Dr Margo Turnbull led a research team focusing on the health literacy needs of migrant domestic workers. The study provides a critical examination of how breast cancer and migration impact these workers' lives and was published in the journal Quality Health Research under Sage Publications. Click HERE to read the full press release on the PolyU website. Local news and online media coverage: RTHK (1:08:52 - 1:13:51) Medical Xpress Mirage Ming Pao Daily News  

30 May, 2024


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New co-edited book - Dao De Jing: Artistic Seals and Calligraphy with Annotated Translation

The book Dao De Jing: Artistic Seals and Calligraphy with Annotated Translation, co-edited by Ms Pan Pan and our Dr Molly Pan, has been nominated as the designated gift by the Reception Office of the Luyi County Government in Henan Province, China. This book encapsulates the understanding and artistic interpretations of the Chinese traditional cultural classic, Dao De Jing, by three generations: Dr Pan Xie (Molly), her sister Ms Pan Pan, their father Mr Pan Yong, and their grandfather Mr Pan Youquan. This book contains three forms of the Dao De Jing: artistic seals, Chinese calligraphy (regular script in small characters), and annotations in contemporary Chinese with their English translations. Mr Pan Youquan published Dao De Jing Carving and Annotations in 1993. Starting from the age of sixty, Mr Pan Youquan used over two thousand pieces of stone, underwent eight rounds of polishing and re-engraving, and transformed the five thousand words of Dao De Jing into individual seals using Chinese seal carving art. This resulted in the creation of the world’s first stone-engraved version of Dao De Jing. Mr. Pan hoped that more people worldwide could understand the culture and art of the Dao De Jing. To this end, his granddaughters, Dr Molly Pan and Ms Pan Pan, translated his life-experience-based interpretation of the original text into English. In addition to seal carving, Mr Pan was also locally renowned for his Chinese calligraphy. To honor his love for calligraphy, his son, Mr Pan Yong, wrote the entire Dao De Jing using regular script in small characters. This book contributes to the international communication of Chinese traditional art and Taoism. Luyi County, the birthplace of Laozi, has been dedicated to the promotion of Taoist culture for many years. Serving as a cultural artifact, this book significantly enhances and promotes the local cultural industry. A formal new book launch event is being organized by Luyi Federation of Literary and Art Circles in July 2024. More information about the book can be found on the website here.

28 May, 2024


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New joint article on the role of signaling and novelty in rating metaphors

In this new joint paper by our Prof. Kathleen Ahrens "Comprehension of metaphorical expressions varies with novelty", published in the Journal of Psycholinguistic Research under Springer Nature, the research team found that novel metaphors decrease the interpretability and acceptability of sentences compared to conventional metaphors and literal sentences. Metaphor signals have minimal impact, except for double signals, which increase acceptability for novel metaphors but decrease it for conventional metaphors. Open access to the article from HERE.

6 May, 2024


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New joint article on migrant domestic workers’ experiences of having breast cancer in Hong Kong

This new paper in Qualitative Health Research under the Sage Journal, with Dr Margo Turnbull, Dr Carol Yu and Prof. Dennis Tay as the authors.  Diagnoses of breast cancer are continuing to increase around the world. Although research has focused on the care and recovery experiences of women in various geographical locations, little is known about how temporary, transnational migration influences access to and use of cancer-related services.  This article presents the findings of a qualitative research project that explored the experiences of a group of Filipino migrant domestic workers who were diagnosed with breast cancer during a period of employment in Hong Kong. Analysis of the narratives told by these women highlighted the numerous points at which their status as family income providers and temporary migrant workers intersected with and shaped their experiences of breast cancer detection, diagnosis, and treatment.  These findings provide useful insights into the information and communication needs of migrant workers diagnosed with serious illnesses.  Open access to the article from here.  

29 Apr, 2024


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New joint article on English Language Teachers’ Emotional Vulnerability in the Era of Self-Branding on Social Media

This new paper in TESOL Quarterly under Wiley, with our Dr Hassan Nejadghanbar and Prof. Guangwei Hu as authors, explores the burgeoning trend of language teachers utilizing social media platforms to promote their personal or institutional language programs. Despite the widespread adoption, little attention has been paid to the experiences, challenges, and vulnerabilities these teachers encounter in such contexts. This study aimed to bridge this gap by examining English language teachers' vulnerability and identity negotiation in relation to self-branding on social media. The results highlight the teachers' constant struggles in competing against those who appear to have superior skills and resources for self-promotion and their resistance to the "rules of the game" in gaining quick visibility. They shed light on language teachers' vulnerability and identity negotiation in their efforts to present themselves as authentic and legitimate teachers on Instagram against popular, self-branded individuals. This study highlights the intersection of language teaching, emotion, and identity, offering valuable implications for language teacher identity in a rapidly evolving teaching context.  More information about the article can be found on the website here.

12 Apr, 2024


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English Debate Club won a finalist prize in the 2024 Macau Debate Open

Meet Qin Xin, Eric, our English Debate Club's shining star and a finalist at the 2024 Macau Debate Open. Competing against other seasoned debaters, including undergraduate and graduate students, he demonstrated excellent debating skills and fluent English. Eric kept a cool head throughout each intense round, resulting in a remarkable overall performance that showcased his talent. We're incredibly proud of his achievements and can't wait to see where his debating journey takes him next.

9 Apr, 2024


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