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Selected Development Project
Project Title

Narrative Development in School-age South Asian Children in Hong Kong

Principal Investigator Professor CHEUNG Hin Tat
Area of Research Project
Language Education, Literature and Linguistics
Project Period
From 01/2015 To 06/2017
  • To compare the development of Cantonese narrative in school-age South Asian children as second language learner with that of age-matched native Cantonese children.
  • To examine whether uneven profiles exist in Cantonese narrative development of South Asian children at micro- and macro-structure levels.
  • To examine the role of written Chinese proficiency in the development of Cantonese narrative in South Asian children.
  • To examine the role of vocabulary and grammar of second language in the development of Cantonese narrative in South Asian children.
Methods Used

Three groups of primary school Southern Asian children in grades 1, 3 and 5 (each with 30 children) will be recruited, narrative samples will be collected at two different time points with 10 months interval. Age-matched native Cantonese children from the same school will be tested as baseline data to be compared with target SA children. Two elicitation tasks, personal experience sharing and picture-story retelling, will be used to collect narrative samples. Standardized oral Cantonese, Chinese assessment tools will also be adopted to investigate their contributions to narrative development.

Summary of Findings
  • Majority of southern Asian children in Hong Kong’s academic success are hindered by their competency in Cantonese as a second language.
  • The role of oral Cantonese skills on effective classroom learning of southern Asian children in mainstream schools.
  • Contribute to the lack of documentation on Cantonese oral narrative samples of Southern Asian Children in Hong Kong in which it would provide a clear picture of Chinese second language narrative development.
  • The study will clarify the causal link between oral language and literacy development.
  • The findings of the study would have long-term impact on the planning and implementation of effective Chinese-language education in Hong Kong.
Selected Output

To, C. K -S., Stokes, S. F., Cheung, H., & T'sou, B. (2010). Narrative assessment for
Cantonese-speaking children. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53, 648-669.
Tsou, C.-Z., Chang, C., & Cheung, H.. (2009). Personal narratives of high-functioning children with
autism. Bulletin of Special Education, 34, 73-99

Biography of Principal Investigator

Professor Cheung Hin Tat received his Ph.D. in Child Language Doctoral Program from University of Kansas. He has been investigating a wide range of issues in developmental psycholinguistics, including grammatical acquisition, language impairment and linguistics profile of children of with special needs, and narrative development. In recent years, he led a research group in establishing the construction of two publicly accessible corpora - Taiwan Corpus of Child Mandarin, which holds more than 300 one-hour spontaneous child language samples, and LTTC-ELC a digital archive of more than 12,000 ESL writing samples at intermediate and high-intermediate levels. 

Professor Cheung was previously Director of the Audio-Visual Educational Center (2001-2006), Director of the Graduate Institute of Linguistics (2007-2009) of National Taiwan University (NTU), and the President of the Linguistics Society of Taiwan (2007-2009). He has received Excellence in Teaching Awards for five times, between 1999 and 2011, while he was teaching at NTU.

Funding Source

General Research Fund