Aims and Objectives

This course aims to:

a. train students to identify and critique relevant issues relating to cultural dimensions in the study of language and communication;

b. give students methodological skills for conducting independent research on issues that are relevant and significant in language and communication;

c. provide students with opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world social and linguistic data, in particular in their everyday contexts of Hong Kong and Asia.




  • Classes, held as lecture-seminar sessions, will raise and discuss issues in the field, with readings assigned from a variety of books and journal articles.
  • At various points of the semester, certain classes may be given over to fieldwork sessions where students engage in ethnographic study of language and communication in local communities; these sessions complement the lectures, providing experiential learning, with students utilising the theoretical knowledge and methodological skills acquired in class to conduct research.




  • Project website (group)                                                 30%
  • In-class presentation (group)                                          20%
  • LinguisticMinorities.HK contribution (individual)          10%
  • Final paper (individual)                                                    30%
  • Critical reflection (individual)                                          10%
  • All components of the assessment contribute towards the final grade for the course. A failure to complete any of the assessments will result in a 0 for that particular proportion of the grade.
  • Students who miss more than 3 classes, for whatever reason, will be considered as not having completed the course and will not receive a final grade.




Selected readings from (amongst others):

Auer, Peter and Li Wei, eds. 2009. Handbook of Multilingualism and Multilingual Communication. Berlin/NY: Mouton de Gruyter. (Selected chapters)
Austin, Peter K. and Julia Sallabank, eds. 2011. The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages. CUP. (Selected chapters)
Blommaert, Jan and Jie Dong. 2010. In Nikolas Coupland, ed. The Handbook of Language and Globalisation. Malden/Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. 366-385.
Bourhis, Richard, Howard Giles & Doreen Rosenthal. 1981. Notes on the construction of a ‘Subjective Vitality Questionnaire’ for ethnolinguistic groups. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development 2:144-155.
David, Maya Khemlani, Ibtisam M.H. Naji & Sheena Kaur. 2003. Language maintenance or language shift among the Punjabi Sikh community in Malaysia? International Journal of the Sociology of Language 161. 1-24.
Fasold, Ralph. 1984. The Sociolinguistics of Society. Oxford; Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. (Selected chapters)
Giles, Howard, Richard Bourhis & Douglas Taylor. 1977. Towards a theory of language in ethnic group relations. In H. Giles (ed.) Language, Ethnicity and Intergroup Relations. London: Academic Press. 307-344.
Li, Wei, Vanithamani Saravanan & Julia Ng Lee Hoon. 1997. Language shift in the Teochew community in Singapore: A family domain analysis. Journal of Multilingual & Multicultural Development 18:5. 364-384.
Lim, Lisa. 2013-2016. LinguisticMinorities.HK.
Lim, Lisa. 2016. The art of losing: Beyond java, patois and postvernacular vitality – Repositioning the periphery in global Asian ecologies. In Martin Pütz and Luna Filipović, eds. Endangered Languages: Issues of Ecology, Policy and Documentation. Amsterdam/ Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Lim, Lisa & Umberto Ansaldo. 2016. Languages in Contact. (Key Topics in Sociolinguistics.) Cambridge University Press.
May, Stephen. 2006. Language policy and minority rights. In T. Ricento (ed.) An Introduction to Language Policy. NY: Blackwell, 255-272.
Mesthrie, Rajend, Joan Swann, Andrea Deumert & William L. Leap. 2009. Introducing Sociolinguistics, 2nd ed. Edinburgh UP. (Selected chapters)
Meyerhoff, Miriam. 2011. Introducing Sociolinguistics. 2nd ed. London/NY: Routledge. (Selected chapters)
Mufwene, Salikoko S. 2002. Colonization, globalization and the plight of ‘weak’ languages. Journal of Linguistics 38. 375-395.
Myers-Scotton, Carol. 2006. Multiple Voices: An Introduction to Bilingualism. Blackwell. (Selected chapters)



Last updated: 1 September 2017