YIP Choy Yin Virginia 葉彩燕

Research Projects


  • Childhood Bilingualism and Second Language Acquisition in Hong Kong Children
  • YIP Choy Yin Virginia, MATTHEWS Stephen James*, SHIRAI Yasuhiro
    1 January 2006
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    Hong Kong children who are exposed to both Cantonese and English in their preschool years achieve various degrees of bilingualism. This project focuses on the interface between bilingual first language acquisition (i.e. the acquisition of two first languages simultaneously) and child second language acquisition (i.e. the acquisition of a second language after a first language is acquired.) We investigate the developmental processes underlying Hong Kong children.s acquisition of bilingual and second language competence. In the two acquisition contexts, we seek to address (a) empirical issues regarding the ways in which different groups of child learners exhibit similarities and differences in terms of their developmental profiles and ultimate attainment; and (b) theoretical issues regarding the initial state of acquisition, epistemology (the representation of knowledge of language), underlying processes such as cross-linguistic influence and directionality of transfer and related factors including language dominance and input properties in child-directed speech. A number of complex grammatical structures which are potential .vulnerable domains. likely to pose learning problems in the acquisition of Cantonese and English, including relative clauses and dative constructions, will be investigated in depth to ascertain the relationship between word order and processing effects in comprehension and production. Longitudinal and experimental studies will be carried out to investigate the phenomena concerned. (CU05692)


  • 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)


  • Language Differentiation in Bilingual Acquisition
  • YIP Choy Yin Virginia, MATTHEWS Stephen James*
    1 January 2004
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    The project addresses the issue of language differentiation in early bilingual child language acquisition by investigating the evidence for phonological differentiation and the age at which such evidence emerges. The project analyses longitudinal data between age 1-2 from the Hong Kong Bilingual Child Language Corpus created by Yip et al. (2001), in which sound files are linked to transcripts, facilitating phonological analysis. The investigation focuses on salient contrasts between English and Cantonese such as final consonants, which are unreleased in Cantonese but typically released in English. The study aims to establish whether there is evidence for an initial unitary system before the languages become differentiated, at what age the consonants are treated differently in the two languages, and whether there is transfer of phonological features in either direction. Student helpers or research assistants will be trained to use the relevant software for phonetic analysis and help with the statistical comparison of the phonological contrasts under investigation.
    In theoretical terms, the project has the potential for the findings to contribute to the debate in early bilingual acquisition regarding the nature of language differentiation and the unitary vs. separate systems hypothesis. In addition there may be practical implications for early bilingual education and second language learning. (AL03885)


  • Multimedia Perspectives on Bilingual Development
  • YIP Choy Yin Virginia, MATTHEWS Stephen James*
    1 September 2002
    Research Grants Council (Earmarked Grants)

    The project extends and enhances the Hong Kong Bilingual Child Language Corpus recently established by the researchers by utilizing newly available multimedia tools to make the database multi-functional. The bilingual database will be extended to include new longitudinal data from children exposed to Cantonese and English from birth and enhanced by making the existing longitudinal data accessible in multimedia format through audio and video digitization of the original recordings, linking the sound and video to the child language transcripts. The use of new digitization techniques will enhance the multi-functionality and accessibility of the existing corpus and provide untapped potential for child language acquisition in general and bilingual acquisition in particular. Contextual information and paralinguistic cues made available through the video data will aid the investigation of syntactic, semantic and pragmatic issues in early bilingual development, while phonological aspects of language acquisition will be made accessible through the availability of sound-linked transcripts. The research addresses theoretical issues which figure prominently in current investigations of early bilingual acquisition, such as the factors determining and predicting language transfer and measures of language dominance. The archive will be useful to a wide range of professionals and researchers including linguists, psychologists, educators and clinicians. (CU02014)


  • Syntactic Categories in Early Bilingual Development (Category B - Pilot Projects)
  • YIP Choy Yin Virginia
    1 January 2002
    CUHK Research Committee Funding (Direct Grants)

    The project investigates the acquisition of syntactic categories by Cantonese-English bilingual children using data collected in the Hong Kong bilingual child languages corpus (Yip et al. 2001). The project includes the following objectives: (1) chart the developmental pattern of syntactic categories in the bilingual subjects. two languages over time; (2) verify the accuracy of tagging of the part of speech in the subjects. Cantonese and English in the existing data and (3) account for the analysis of syntactic categories in child Cantonese and child English in bilingual development vis-a-viz analysis of the adult languages as well as their monolingual counterparts in first language acquisition.
    Where the categories differ between English and Cantonese, the possibility of cross-linguistic influence arises. As an illustration of such cross-linguistic influence, one of the topics will be the transfer effects of Cantonese coverbs such as 跟 and 同 .with., which correspond to prepositions in adult English. It is hypothesized that the use of coverbs as verbs in English in a bilingual child as in He followed me to go is a case of transfer from Cantonese to English, reflecting the interaction between two developing grammars. Evidence of transfer and interdependence of two grammars contributes to the central debate in the study of early bilingual development (Paradis & Genesee 1996, Döpke 2000).
    The study of the development of children.s grammatical categories crucially hinges on the analysis of the categories in adult language. The project thus has the potential to contribute the study of grammatical categories in natural languages and their specific instantiations in child language. (AL01582)



Research Publications


  • "Cross-linguistic Influence in Hong Kong Children's Bilingual Development: Integrating Input Ambiguity and Dominance". (co-authored with MATTHEWS Stephen) Paper presented in the 13th World Congress of Applied Linguistics, organized by Association Internationale de Linguistique , 2002.12.



  • "Hong Kong Bilingual Child Language Corpus: Charlotte corpus". (co-authored with MATTHEWS Stephen) A new corpus contributed to the Child Language Data Exchange System (CHILDES) Pittsburg, Carnegie Mellon University, 2004.01.18.



  • "Hong Kong Cantonese". Invited lecture given at the City Hall Hong Kong, City Hall, 2003.12.07.


* Name of external researcher
# Name of staff who has left the University