The School of English is proud to welcome Professor Adam Jaworski as a new member of its team.
In 2011, he spent a semester in our department as a visiting professor. When he left, we seized the opportunity to ask him a few questions about his impressions of Hong Kong.
Dear Prof. Jaworski, thank you for agreeing to answer my questions.
First, can you tell me where you have worked, what is your field of expertise?
Since 1993 I have been at Cardiff University and before that at Birkbeck College and at Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań. Depending on who’s asking I describe myself as a sociolinguist, discourse analyst, language and communication scholar, or social semiotician. Sometimes, when asked by taxi drivers or barbers, for example, I say that I am a sociologist of language (or just sociologist).
How many times have you been a visiting professor at HKU?
My good fortune brought me in this capacity to HKU in spring 2007 and 2011.
Under what circumstances did you come here for the first time?
Serendipity and the good will of my kind colleagues in the School of English.
What were your first impressions?
My first and lasting impressions: World Class University in Asia’s World City.
Did you notice any differences between your visits?
The University and the city seem to be changing and growing all the time. Work on the Centenary Campus is well under way. In between my visits, the city acquired a new ‘tallest’ building. Intellectually and culturally, the University and the city seem to be as vibrant as ever.
How do you find living in Hong Kong? What are the good (and bad) points?
I’m a ‘natural’ urbanite, so I find the scale and infrastructure of Hong Kong both very impressive and efficient. I also like the city’s diversity and the fact that I find myself so much at home here.
How does HKU compare to other universities you have known so far?
My main point of reference is always the department where I have been based and I must say that wherever I’ve worked, I’ve always been blessed with most generous, friendly and academically stimulating colleagues. HKU’s School of English has been no exception.
What do you think of the role of English in HKU?
English has obviously a central and most privileged position at HKU, which is how and why I can function here, but one should not underestimate the presence and role of other languages, most notably Cantonese and Putonghua, as well as many others used for research, symbolic, or interpersonal purposes. For example, my colleague and friend Professor Chris Hutton knows some very good (and whacky) Polish jokes.
And finally, would you like to come back?
I’d love to.
Thank you very much. We hope to see you again soon in the University of Hong Kong.
Our wish is now realized.
The academic profile of Professor Jaworski is available on the webpage of the School: