LINGUISTICS CONFERENCE, LOS ANGELES AND CAMBRIDGE
Dr.Hisashi Morita and Dr. Liang Chua DEpartment of Business English
We traveled to the U.S. in May 2003 to present papers at the Workshop for Altaic Languages in Formal Linguistics and the Southeast Asian Linguistics Society meeting respectively.
We first traveled to Los Angeles for Liang's conference at the University of California at Los Angeles from the 2nd to 4th May. Liang's paper was on language shift among the Thai Chinese, which was part of her ongoing work on the Thai Chinese. The work presented at the meeting was to a high standard and we both felt intellectually stimulated. We met many colleagues working on many different aspects of Southeast Asian linguistics and benefited from the conversations we had. We were surprised by the number of scholars working on Thai. We found that there were many linguists in the west who were interested in Thai linguistics. Liang also met a well-known linguist working on a similar field to hers and felt encouraged. They promised to keep in touch and exchange notes in the future.
We were impressed by the high standards of Southeast Asian Studies departments in the U.S. We met many graduate students from these departments who spoke fluent Thai and displayed in-depth knowledge of the language.
Hisashi's conference was on a different theme. Altaic refers to the language family consisting of Japanese, Korean, Turkish and Mongolian. Hisashi presented his work on pied-piping in Japanese syntax. He has been studying Japanese syntax for many years now. The workshop was held at the Massachusettes Institutue of Technology in Cambridge, near Boston from the 16th-18th May. The M.I.T. possibly has the strongest linguistics department in the world when it comes to formal/generative linguistics. We met many of the leading figures in Japanese linguistics and were inspired by the quality of their work.
We both spent hours on end in the humanities library at the M.I.T. It held most of the books and journals that we always dreamt about reading but were not able to in Thailand. The M.I.T. library reminded us of our time at Oxford: the Bodleian at Oxford boasted of having a copy of every book published in the U.K. We often spent the whole day in the library. We were very pleased to be able to do that again at the M.I.T. We hope that Au. will soon expand its library collection as well as extend its opening hours and to make it a more welcoming place for students and faculty alike.