A UK-based independent worldwide fellowship
+44 20 8906 8798
In 2023, the Global China Academy Council Chair, Professor Tony McEnery FAcSS, distinguished Professor of Lancaster University, had been appointed as a distinguished Chair Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU). As a renowned expert in corpus linguistics, he engaged in various academic activities in China. His contributions included inaugurating the ‘McEnery Corpus Research Center’ at XJTU and delivering insightful lectures at several universities. These lectures, covering topics such as ‘Language Matters,’ ‘Corpus Linguistics, Learner Corpora, and Second Language Acquisition,’ and the application of corpus linguistics in the era of big data, showcased his commitment to linguistic research and interdisciplinary study. His activities in China highlighted the dynamic and evolving nature of corpus linguistics and its potential to address complex social issues, emphasizing the importance of continuous innovation and critical evaluation in research methods.
On the afternoon of April 17, 2023, Professor Tony McEnery was appointed as a Chair Professor at Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU). The Vice President of Xi’an Jiaotong University, XI Guang, met with Professor McEnery and presented him with a certificate, and adorned him with the XJTU badge. During the meeting, XI Guang and McEnery jointly unveiled the ‘McEnery Corpus Research Center’ at the School of Foreign Languages of XJTU.
XI Guang expressed his hope that this appointment would serve as a starting point to build a cooperative bridge and further promote new achievements in inter-university collaboration. Professor McEnery stated his intention to fully leverage his personal capabilities to continue actively promoting cooperation between both parties and to embark on more substantive joint work.
After the meeting, Professor McEnery presented a lecture entitled ‘Language Matters’ to the faculty and students of Xi’an Jiaotong University (XJTU).
The lecture was divided into three parts: exploration, critical evaluation, and technological innovation. Professor McEnery used three classic studies from the ESRC-CASS Centre at Lancaster University, UK, as cases to illustrate the innovation in linguistic research methods to the audience, and sparked their thinking about interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research and technology in the era of big data. Professor McEnery emphasized that language itself and its role in different areas of social life are of undeniable importance. The use of large-scale text corpora is significant in linguistic research, and employing interdisciplinary research methods to analyze the relationship between language and society is of great importance. It enables researchers to analyze real language more deeply and in detail, providing new perspectives and methods for understanding social phenomena. During the question-and-answer session, the attending faculty and students engaged in discussions with Professor McEnery about parts of the lecture that interested them.
On the afternoon of April 19, Professor Tony McEnery gave a lecture at the School of Foreign Studies of Xi’an Jiaotong University titled ‘Corpus Linguistics, Learner Corpora, and Second Language Acquisition.’ Starting from perspectives such as research origins, corpus size, interdisciplinary interaction, and research objectives, he analyzed the relationship between learner corpora and second language acquisition research and offered research suggestions. The faculty and students present actively asked questions, engaging in more in-depth discussions and exchanges with Professor McEnery on topics such as language theory, foreign language learning, and the relationship with corpora.
On the afternoon of April 20th, Professor Tony McEnery engaged in academic exchange at the Institute of Foreign Languages and Literatures of Xi’an International Studies University. He delivered an academic speech titled ‘Corpus Linguistics: Past, Present, and Future,’ in which he detailed the three important stages that corpus linguistics has undergone from its origins to its rapid rise, and discussed the future trends in the discipline in the context of the big data era.
On the morning of April 23, Professor Tony McEnery gave an academic report titled ‘Language Matters’ at the School of Foreign Languages of Zhejiang Gongshang University, with the session chaired by Professor Qian Yufang.
Professor McEnery discussed the role of language in different contexts and how linguists collaborate with other fields to explore issues related to their core subjects. Through ongoing cases at the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS) at Lancaster University, he demonstrated how language research can innovate methodologies, thus fostering a critical evaluation of ‘big data’ technologies.
He emphasized that the methods used should be grounded in our identity as linguists and also evaluated by linguists. By analyzing cases such as 17th-century English, patient feedback in the UK National Health Service, and Islamophobia in British news media, he showed how to combine advanced corpus methods with linguists’ insights into language, thereby revealing the value of the research.
The significance of this lecture lies in demonstrating the potential for linguists to conduct interdisciplinary research in different social contexts and historical periods. By collaborating with other fields, linguists can uncover new insights into language and its impact on society. This interaction is not one-way, as linguists can also reflect on their own practices and find various explanatory frameworks through language analysis.
On April 24, Professor Tony McEnery delivered a lecture titled ‘Language Matters’ at Shanghai International Studies University, hosted by Professor HU Kaibao. This lecture had the same title as the one he delivered at XJTU on April 17.
On the afternoon of April 26th, Professor Tony McEnery gave an academic lecture titled ‘Discourse, Language Learning, and Learner Corpora’ at the School of Foreign Studies, Xi’an Jiaotong University, as part of the ‘High-End International Expert Masterclass Series’. Professor McEnery discussed the relationship between discourse, language learning, and learner corpora, and raised many thought-provoking questions and suggestions related to language acquisition research, using specific case studies. After the lecture, there was an in-depth exchange and discussion with the students and faculty on topics such as discourse structure annotation, the construction of new types of corpora, corpus-based pragmatics research, and the limitations of learner corpora.
On the evening of September 8th, Professor Tony McEnery hosted an expert interview and audience Q&A session titled ‘The Application of Corpus Linguistics in the Development of Spoken English Teaching Materials: Engaging with Stakeholders.’ Professor McEnery engaged in in-depth discussions on various topics such as different perspectives and methods in language learning research, limitations of language learning resources, and trends and challenges in language research. Dr. Curry presented on his five-year research project, titled ‘Engaging with Stakeholders on the Use of Corpus Linguistics for Spoken ELT Materials Development’.
On October 28th, Professor Tony McEnery planned and participated in an ‘International Conference on Frontiers of Corpus-based Interdisciplinary Research’. It was organized by School of Foreign Studies, Xi’an Jiaotong University. Co-organized by National Research Center of Foreign Language Education at Beijing Foreign Studies University, Journal of Foreign Language Education, Xi’an Jiaotong University Press and Journal of Corpus-based Studies across Humanities. Plenary Speeches include Tony McEnery, Lancaster University, UK/ Xi’an Jiaotong University, China; Mark Liberman, University of Pennsylvania, USA; WEI Naixing (卫乃兴) , Beihang University, China; XU Jiajin（许家金）, Beijing Foreign Studies University, China; Michaela Mahlberg, University of Birmingham, UK; QIAN Yufang（钱毓芳）, Zhejiang Gongshang University, China (Associated Fellow of Global China Academy); Paul Baker, Lancaster University, UK; Laurence ANTHONY, Waseda University, Japan; HU Kaibao（胡开宝）, Shanghai International Studies University, China; JIANG Yue（蒋跃）, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China; Niall Curry, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK; Gavin Brookes, Lancaster University, UK (Associate Fellow of Global China Academy); Paul Rayson, Lancaster University, UK.
Professor McEnery delivered a speech at the opening ceremony. He outlined the trajectory of the development of corpus linguistics. From its early beginnings with relatively modest datasets and few tools to exploit them, corpus linguistics has grown to the extent that there seems to be an endless choice of corpora and a wealth of tools to process them. However, he argues that a key feature of the future of corpus linguistics will be to focus on what cannot be done with existing corpora and tools – rather than becoming an approach to the study of language limited by the possible, corpus linguistics has always been at its best when it redefines the possible. That, he argues, is in essence the past, present, and future of this approach to the study of language. Yet he also argues that in redefining the possible, there must be a continuous effort to critique and improve the data and tools – if not, in the zeal to expand possibility, there is a risk of embracing the implausible.
Professor QIANG Yufang of Zhejiang Gongshang University, once a doctoral student under Professor McEnery and a Assocaite Fellow of the Global Chinese Academy, pointed out through her examination of reports on the efficacy of traditional Chinese medicine in several British newspapers that TCM is gaining increasing recognition in the Western world. However, skepticism about the scientific nature of TCM still exists. Based on this, she proposed suggestions for the translation and introduction of TCM knowledge abroad.
The conference featured 14 sub-forums, where delegates engaged in extensive exchanges and in-depth discussions on the research and application of corpora in interdisciplinary fields such as linguistics, literature, translation studies, foreign language teaching, medicine, law, and journalism.
This conference gathered more than ten of the most influential experts and scholars in the field of corpus research from both domestic and international institutions, along with teachers and students from over 110 universities worldwide. The event was marked by intense clashes of cutting-edge ideas and the fusion of academic viewpoints. It was undoubtedly a grand academic event for interdisciplinary corpus research, playing a significant role in promoting international academic exchange, fostering interdisciplinary integration, and strengthening the construction of new liberal arts.
On the evening of November 24th, the 24th lecture of the ‘Foreign Languages and Cultures Forum’ high-end international expert Masterclass series of the School of Foreign Languages was held online via Tencent Meeting. Profesor Tony McEnery participated and was the keynote speaker. He also discussed issues with Professor Culpeper, including politeness in pragmatics, language subjectivity and complexity, and corpus-based pragmatic research.
Professor Tony McEnery said that he had a highly enjoyable visit to China in April and May. His base was at Xi’an Jiaotong University, where he holds a prestigious Chair Professorship. During his stay, he engaged in providing valuable advice to staff, PhD candidates, and undergraduate students. Additionally, he delivered a series of lectures, highlighting the significant impact that studying large collections of language data, known as corpora, can have on the social sciences. Professor McEnery also had the opportunity to speak on the same topic at Xi’an International Studies University, Zhejiang Gongshang University, and Shanghai International Studies University. His interactions with numerous colleagues in China were not only enjoyable but also insightful, particularly in observing the keen interest in the study of language as a component of the social sciences in China. In October, Professor McEnery attended a conference at Xi’an Jiaotong University. This conference brought together scholars from around the world to discuss the intersection of language, data, and society. Before and after the October conference, Professor McEnery also participated in online forums.
In 2023, Professor Tony McEnery’s academic activities in China, highlighted his prominent role in the field of corpus linguistics. His series of lectures, including ‘Language Matters’ and discussions on topics like discourse analysis, language learning, and learner corpora, showcased his commitment to advancing linguistic research, particularly in the context of big data. His interactions, spanning various universities and covering a range of linguistic topics, not only fostered academic exchange but also reflected the dynamic and evolving nature of corpus linguistics. McEnery’s visit was instrumental in demonstrating the potential of linguistics to address complex social issues and the importance of continuous innovation and critique in linguistic research methods.
Note: Photos and texts have been provided by the organizers of events.
Clich here to visit News section.