TANG Wai Lan Gladys 鄧慧蘭

Research Projects


  • Acquisition of Classifiers in Hong Kong Sign Language by Deaf Children
  • TANG Wai Lan Gladys
    15 May 2001
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    This project aims to examine the development of classifiers in Hong Kong Sign Language (HKSL) by deaf children. Previous research has shown that classifiers in signed language are represented by handshape. This sublexical unit becomes a bound morpheme and combines with the movement morpheme to form a characteristic construction among signed languages - classifier predicates. Tang (2000a & b) demonstrates that HKSL classifiers display properties of semantic universals such as animacy, humanness, size and shape. Similar to other signed languages, they are verbal rather than nominal and enter into different types of predicate constructions. Classifiers have been categorized into three types. The semantic classifiers have been intensively studied with respect to verbs of motion and location. The size and shape specifiers are associated with adjectival predicates, and the instrument classifiers enter into causative constructions in signed language. The current project aims to examine how deaf children acquiring HKSL as first language develop the knowledge of classifiers. This involves an analysis of:
    (1) the process in which they associate classifiers with the different forms of handshape;
    (2) how the different forms of handshape reflect the child's knowledge of semantic characteristics;
    (3) how the three different types of classifiers emerge in the grammar of classifier predicates; and
    (4) the development of the movement root in the classifier predicates.
    This research project adopts a cross-sectional approach, involving deaf children aged between 3 and 10 who develop HKSL since birth from deaf parents. A picture description task and an interactive language game will be used and the deaf children's performance will be video-taped. The data will be transcribed according to the CHILDES' format adapted for analyzing signed language acquisition data (Slobin and Hoiting 2000). The data will be compared with the acquisition of classifiers by child acquirers of American Sign Language and the Sign Language of the Netherlands. Also, data from the hearing children from a spoken classifying language background like Cantonese and Mandarin will also be adopted in order to verify the universal issues of language acquisition. (AL00990)


  • Development of Hong Kong Sign Language by Deaf Children
  • TANG Wai Lan Gladys
    1 December 2001
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    The research project examines the development of Hong Kong Sign Language (HKSL) by deaf children. It consists of two tasks:
    (1) to document the acquisition of HKSL through the establishment of a corpus generated through a 3-year longitudinal study on 2 deaf children, and
    (2) to investigate verb learning in HKSL. This project is significant in a number of respects. First, it is the first project in HK that attempts to study the acquisition of sign language by deaf children. Second, cross-linguistic data from HKSL acquisition allows verification of linguistic theory which has so far been examined with the support of spoken language data. Third, it establishes a crucial database for future sign language research in the territory, which in turn sheds light on research in deaf education. (AL01278)


  • An Interdisciplinary Approach to Cyberculture Research in Hong Kong
  • WONG Kin Yuen, CHAN Sin Wai (Dept of Translation), GU Yang, TANG Wai Lan Gladys, TSE Ka Ho*, YIP Choy Yin Virginia
    1 September 2001
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    As Heidegger pointed out, physics is indeed poeisis in the highest sense. Cultural theorization on modern technology (including of course information technology and the Internet), therefore, should be taken seriously, especially when Hong Kong is now aspiring to become a .knowledge society. in the near future. It should be readily recognized, that any attempt at catching-on with digital technology, be it commercially driven or educationally oriented, should root itself firmly within the arena of its cultural imaginary and creative potentiality. This research project responds rigorously to the obvious lack of attention given to the cultural part of the emergence of cyberontology, and proposes to face it head-on through an interdisciplinary approach to a study of cyberculture in Hong Kong. It is a pioneer effort to systematically collect relevant data, to render translated texts for school students, to linguistically analyze cyberdiscourse, to collate an English-Chinese Dictionary of cyber-related hybrid words, and to critically research on how best cyberculture as a whole can be introduced and promoted in primary and secondary schools as well as in universities through a careful design of curricula. Finally, it is suggested that an international conference be organized to consolidate and further develop the findings from the various projects proposed herein. (AL01267)


  • Promotion of Deaf Communication through Hong Kong Sign Language - Pilot Programme to Promote Hong Kong Sign Language in a School Setting
  • TANG Wai Lan Gladys
    1 August 2003
    S.K. Yee Medical Foundation

    The current project aims at experimenting the use of Hong Kong Sign Language (HKSL) in a deaf school setting. The objectives are: (1) to explore the effective use of HKSL as the medium of instruction, (2) to provide training of HKSL to deaf students, teachers and hearing parents, (3) to develop in-house training on sign linguistics and deaf literacy for teachers and deaf instructors, and (4) to promote a positive attitude towards the deaf people in the society.
    The duration of the project is two years. The focus of the first year is on (1) the evaluation of the use of HKSL in promoting reading literacy in Chinese, and (2) the establishment of training programmes for teachers, parents and deaf instructors. In the second year, the use of HKSL will be extended to other lessons and will be evaluated. With the support of the deaf school and deaf associations in HK, a deaf awareness programme for the general public will be developed. (AL03351)



Research Publications


  • "Acquiring verb types in Hong Kong Sign Language by Deaf Children, co-authored with Scholastica Lam ". Paper presented in the The 11th Conference on Contemporary Linguistics, organized by Tianjin Normal University. Tianjin, China, 2006.10.



  • "Acquisition of Simultaneous Constructions by Deaf Children of Hong Kong Sign Language. co-authored with Felix Sze and Scholastica Lam". Simultaneity in Signed Languages: Form and Functon ed. by Vermeerbergen, Myriam; Leeson, Lorraine and Crasborn Onno. Amsterdam, Holland: Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2006. pp.75.



  • "Classifiers of Hong Kong Sign Language: A Semantic Universals Perspective". Proceedings of the 12th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics ed. by Zhang, Zheng-sheng . San Diego, 2001. pp.20.



  • "Classifiers of Hong Kong Sign Language: Conflation and Lexicalization". Perspectves onClassifier Constuctions in Sign Languages ed. by Emmorey, K. . Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates, 2003. pp.24.



  • "English self-learning packages for Hong Kong New Arrival Children: a case of developing learner autonomy’, co-authored with Gu Yang.". Paper presented in the Annual Research Forum, organized by Linguistic Society of Hong Kong. Hong Kong, 1998.



  • "English self-learning packages for Hong Kong New Arrival Children: a case of developing learner autonomy". Paper presented in the International Language in Education Conference, organized by Hong Kong Institute of Education. Hong Kong, 1998.



  • "Events of motion and causation in Hong Kong Sign Language". Lingua co-authored with Gu Yang. 2006. pp.30.



  • "Grammaticalizing FINISH into a perfective marker in the acquisition of Hong Kong Sign Language: The case of a deaf child". Paper presented in the 6th Glow in Asia Conference, organized by The Chinese University of Hong Kong, 2007.12.



  • "History of Sign Language Research at The Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Centre for Sign Linguistics and Deaf Studies". Invied Talks at The 2nd National Sign Language Forum ed. by Felix Sze, Jenny Lam and Brenda Yu. Hangzhou, China: The National Association of the Deaf & National Association of the Handicap, 2006.05. pp.25



  • Hong Kong Sign Language: A Trilingual Dictionary with Linguistic Descriptions. Hong Kong, China: Chinese University Press, 2003.



  • "Movement – Simultaneity and Dynamicity in the Phonological System of Hong Kong Sign Language" (co-authored with MAK KA LEONG). The First SignTyp Conference 2008.06.26.



  • "Negative and Interrogative Constructions in Hong Kong Sign Language'". Sign Language Typology: Interogatves and Negation ed. by Ulrike Zeshan. Nijmegen: Ishara Press, Holland, 2006. pp.26.



  • "Nominal Expressions in Hong Kong Sign Language: Does Modality Makes a Difference?" (co-authored with SZE Yim Binh). Modality and Structure in Signed and Spoken Languages ed. by Richard P. Meier; Kearsy Cormier; Daivd Quinto-Pozos. Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2002.



  • "Person Agreement and Location Marking in Hong Kong Sign Language" (co-authored with LAM WAI SZE). Paper presented in the Australasian Deaf Studies Research Symposium II, organized by Renwick College, 2003.10.27.



  • 《香港手語詞典》,Hong Kong:Chinese University of Hong Kong,2007。
    (CUHK Library Call No: UL Reference HV2476.5.H66 D46 2007 c.2; UL HK Studies HV2476.5.H66 D46 2007)


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