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Research & Collaborations

Academic Profiles

Taipei Tech maintains detailed academic profiles of all faculty members. Please see below a list of Department of English faculty member academic profiles.

Current Projects

Flourishing and Cultivating Mudan

Taipei Tech University Social Responsibility Project

Led by Dr. I-Chien Chen

“Taipei Tech Social Responsibility: Flourishing and Cultivating Mudan” is the university’s mission to combine school curriculum and learning with social services to guide students to assist in flourishing and cultivating remote areas in Taiwan.

Freshmen English majors from Taipei Tech have been guided and led by Dr. I-Chien Chen since late 2017, including the field trip training in December 2017, followed by the 3-day in-depth Mudan field trip in January 2018. Freshmen from English Department, introduced to and immersed in Mudan culture and history through conversation with locals and teachers/students in Mudan, are to assist in refining the online English information on Mudan and to publish their field trip reflections on touring websites to promote the beauty of Mudan history and culture and to possibly attract more foreign tourists to Mudan.


The Changes in Motivations and the Use of Translation Strategies in Crowdsourced Translation

Case Studies on Global Voices’ and TED’s Translation Projects

MOST Project by Dr. Ya-Mei Chen

The Internet era has given rise to a new translation practice, that is crowdsourced translation, which can be divided into three types: cause-driven, product-driven and outsourcing-driven. Using the Chinese translation projects of Global Voices and TED as two case studies, this project aims to provide a thorough sociological analysis of cause-driven crowdsourced translation by addressing the following three issues: (1) the changes of volunteer translators’ and reviewers’ motivations for participation; (2) translators’ and reviewers’ use of translation strategies; (3) the correlations of translators’ and reviewers’ motivations and strategies with the organizational mission, the translation style guide, the translator-reviewer interaction, the mediation of the translation platform and various types of capital within the translation field.

In order to systematically investigate the above-mentioned three issues, this project will first collect both quantitative data (i.e. an online questionnaire) and qualitative data (i.e. the source-target text comparison and the content analysis of the online translation community forum). Then, drawing upon activity theory and field theory, the correlations at issue will be further explored. In the first two years of this project, the case studies on the Chinese translation projects initiated by Global Voices and TED will be conducted to provide a detailed analysis of the afore-mentioned three issues. In the third year, this project will compare and contrast the results from the two case studies at issue. In addition, a contrastive study will be made between cause-driven translation (i.e. the case studies conducted in this project) and outsourcing-driven translation (i.e. the case studies on the Chinese translation projects launched by Facebook and Twitter in my 2015 MOST project) regarding the use of translation strategies and the acquisition of different types of capital within the translation field.


Speech-to-text applications and web user customization for Taiwan’s National Education Radio Station

Dr. Yung-hsiang Shawn Chang is co-PI of the industry-university cooperative research project titled “Speech-to-text applications and web user customization for Taiwan’s National Education Radio Station” (2017/12/11-2018/08/31). This interdisciplinary project is a continuation of the Ministry of Education-funded project (2016/08/01-2017/08/31) titled “Corpus archiving and dissemination of Taiwan’s Education Radio Station’s radio programs”, for which the team won a Golden Bell Award (the Taiwan counterpart to the US’ Grammy Awards) in the category “Innovation, Research, Development and Applications”. This industry-university cooperative research project is building a corpus based on National Education Radio’s broadcasts. Part of this corpus is currently in use as the automatic speech recognition training materials for “Formosa Grand Challenge: Artificial Intelligences” hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology. Upon completion (the corpus currently contains approximately three hundred hours of processed, transcribed and annotated radio speech data), the corpus will be licensed for research or commercial use by industry and academia. We built a basic searchable interface for the corpus, but continue to expand the filtering features to enhance search performance. We hope this corpus will be of great help to CSL (Chinese as a second language) teachers and learners.

The team also uses transcripts to automatically generate keywords and summaries for radio shows. This feature is integrated into Channel+, an interactive learning platform on National Education Radio’s website. The platform tracks web users’ browsing habits and makes recommendations based on usage data.


Co-speech Gestures in L1 and L2 Narratives and Conversations

The Role of Proficiency, Cognitive Loads and Cross-linguistic Transfer

MOST Project by Dr. Yen-Liang Lin

This study investigates the extent to which co-speech gestures differ between Chinese as L1 and English as L2 narratives and conversations among speakers of different L2 proficiency levels, and further examines the role language competency, cognitive loads, and cross-linguistic transfer plays in gesture production. To this end, 40 Taiwanese learners of English at different proficiency levels will be recruited and meet face-to-face, having two casual meetings in L1 and L2. Each meeting will last 30 minutes, resulting in an hour of total conversation for each pair. In narratives, each participant will be shown a cartoon first and required to retell the story once in L1 and once in L2. The data analysis first focuses on co-gesture speech, using a corpus linguistic approach to analyze the extent to which participants preferred to “gesture” particular semantic and part-of-speech categories of information in their speaking in L1 and L2. The study then explores co-speech gestures, investigating the extent to which co-speech gesture (beats, iconic gestures, deictic and metaphoric gestures) differ between L1 and L2 among speakers at different L2 proficiency levels. Furthermore, in order to obtain a more robust understanding of linguistic-gesture representation from cognitive perspectives, based on Thinking for Speaking Hypothesis (Slobin, 1987) and Information Packaging Hypothesis (Kita, 2000) this study investigates motion event in L1 and L2 narrations with the following aims: 1) to see if there is L1 transfer on gestural encodings of motion in L2 narrations and what gesture types are more likely to be transferred than others, 2) to examine the extent to which participants use more representational gestures in their L2 than in L1, and lastly 3) to test if enhancing cognitive loads makes L2 learners produce significantly more gestures in their L2, and the extent to which cognitive loads correlate with cross-linguistic transfer. The examination of the co-occurrence of speech and gesture is expected to provide a key insight into the second language cognition and the interplay between the two models of communication.


A Comparison of the Modality Systems in Cebuano and Tagalog

MOST Project by Dr. Michael Tanangkingsing

This project has a threefold objective. First, to build a spoken corpus on Tagalog. Tagalog linguists have so far concentrated on morphology and verbal studies, and not many people are working on Tagalog discourse and pragmatics. Through this corpus I can contribute to Tagalog studies by replicating some of my discourse and pragmatic research on Cebuano into Tagalog. Second, to investigate modality in Cebuano and Tagalog as comprehensively as I can to supplement the current information on these languages. I will investigate the forms and functions of the modal markers, as well as enclitic clusters and their internal order and emerging senses, examine their interaction with other forms of modality such as the so-called “defective” verbs and their interaction with negation. Third, to share the patterns and other results to researchers working on other Philippine languages, with the goal of drawing up together a grammar of modality in Philippine languages.

Research questions are thus posed. First, what are the similarities/differences in the expressions for conveying modality in Cebuano and Tagalog? The discussions in the previous sections show that these modal expressions primarily involve second-position enclitics and complement-taking defective verbs, as well as clause-initial/final discourse markers. Would there be other ways to express modality in both languages? Are there distinctions in terms of the meanings that are projected between the different forms? Would there be distinctions between epistemicity and evidentiality in both languages? What further senses do they convey if several forms are used together at the same time? Second, is there a fixed order in enclitic clusters, and what kinds of new senses may emerge in such cases? How would the enclitics interact with negation or with other grammatical categories? How do the “defective” verbs and the enclitics divide the labor in modality expression?

The initial phase of the project will involve recording and transcribing, as well as glossing and analyzing, a spoken corpus in Tagalog, which will be used together with an already existing spoken corpus in Cebuano. The corpus will then be culled for modal markers, including the second-position enclitics and defective verbs. They will then be analyzed in both languages according to form, function, distribution, and interaction with other markers and with negation. At the end of the project, it is expected that data on modality will be incorporated to the grammars of both languages. In addition, a Tagalog spoken corpus will also be made available to other researchers. The procedures of this project will also be shared with researchers of other Philippine languages so that a grammar of modality in Philippine languages could be drawn up in the near future.


Masquerade and Female Identity in Early Eighteenth-Century Novels: Study of Daniel Defoe’s Roxana and Eliza Haywood’s The Masqueraders

MOST Project by Dr. Tsai-ching Yeh

Introduced by John James Heidegger (1666-1749), the Swiss Count, masquerades became a “fashionable Amusement” (Guardian 261) in London society in the early eighteenth century. The disguised attendees came from different social backgrounds, such as aristocrats, gentry, merchants, thieves, and prostitutes alike, while such masked assemblies turned out be the arenas where social order was challenged and reversed.

The issue of the “doubleness” of identity of the masqueraders deserves further discussion. As Terry Castle notes that the early eighteenth-century masquerades were a “collective meditation on ‘self’ and ‘other’ and an exploration of their mysterious dialectic” (4). In reality as well as in literary texts, the masked meetings provided the eighteenth-century women the space to reverse their inferior positions in man-woman relationships, helping them achieve a state of sexual license and libertinism. Therefore, this project aims to discuss the issue of female identity in Daniel Defoe’s Roxana and Eliza Haywood’s The Masqueraders, for the purpose to investigate the idea of the doubleness of “self” and “other” as well as define the concept of women’s emancipation in the early-eighteenth novels.


Causative verbs in Amis and Puyuma and their lexicographic practice

MOST Project by Dr. Jonathan Kuo

The project intends to scrutinize Amis and Puyuma causative verbs and the apparent "causative" verbs with the goal to come up with generalizations used in the lexicographic practice. Despite the promising research outcomes from previous studies, the functions of the so-called causative formatives remain debatable, no matter they are examined from a cross-linguistic or intralinguistic perspective.

The proposed research will involve revisiting secondary data and collecting/analyzing primary data of Amis and Puyuma, with a particular focus on entries that are "exceptional" or suspicious, considering their treatment based on current theories of causation. Both generativist approaches and functional-typological approaches will be considered in my research. In particular, I will evaluate the analyses of causative verbs within the predicate decomposition approach, the causative continuum, and the grammaticalization approach.

The research outcomes will serve as an important step toward understanding the functions of Formosan “causative” formatives from both synchronic and diachronic perspectives. In practice, the findings will not only contribute to Formosan language lexicography, but also benefit the indigenous communities on their way to language documentation and revitalization.


French Connections UnKnit: Anglophones à la Mode

MOST Project by Dr. Ping-Ta Ku

The provisional title––French Connections UnKnit: Anglophones à la Mode (hereafter referred to as FCUK)––hints at varied aspects that are essential to this project. To begin with, Anglophones refers to a clique of transatlantic writers sojourning in Paris during the first half of the twentieth century and frequenting Sylvia Beach’s legendary bookstore Shakespeare and Company, while the French phrase “à la Mode” connotes both “modernist” and “fashionable.” Secondly, the title bears a pronounced resemblance to the London-based high-street fashion retailer French Connection UK (also controversially branded as FCUK), yet the acronym “UK” now stands for UnKnit rather than the “United Kingdom”; such a semi-presence of the UK is symbolic, in the sense that the best anglophone writers of the period in Paris were either Irish (James Joyce and Samuel Beckett) or American (Djuna Barnes, Ezra Pound, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, among others). Last but not least, UnKnit not only echoes this project’s emphasis on knit fabrics but also expresses a wish to loosen the impossible knot that ties up anglophone modernism and Paris, the emblematic “capital of modernity” (as has been seen in the title of David (Harvey, David 2003)’s magnum opus). Better yet, UnKnit refers not only to Freudian psychoanalysis (which was à la Mode among Surrealists in interwar Paris) and its fantasy to untangle the human unconscious, but also to the Möbius strip of the Lacanian sinthome, a topological concept pertaining to James Joyce’s symptomatic writings in Finnegans Wake.

With its plural “Connections” FCUK also aims to highlight the fact the manifold facets of the reciprocal relationships amid the golden triangle––namely, anglophone modernists from both sides of the Atlantic, Paris as the singular modern capital during the interwar period (often referred to as the Jazz Age), and fashion (or la mode) as a concept, a practice, an industry, and, more pompously, a zeitgeist. In a nutshell, FCUK’s central task is to unknit the following tangled mysteries:

  1. What are the socio-economic and political factors that made Paris so gratifying to anglophone modernists during the Jazz Age?
  2. How did these contemporary expatriates influence each other stylistically, intellectually, and economically?
  3. To what extent was Freudian psychoanalysis complicit in the boom of fashion industry and unprecedented consumerism (especially when we think of his nephew Edward Bernays, who has been crowned as “the father of propaganda”)?
  4. Why anglophone flappers (such as Lucia Joyce and Zelda Fitzgerald) seemed more susceptible to schizophrenia and neurasthenia (which is thus nicknamed “Americanitis”)?
  5. Was la mode a liberating force that empowered women, ethnic minorities, and the colonised subaltern, or did it conceal an admiration for fascism (as we have seen in Salvador Dalí, Gertrude Stein, and Ezra Pound, among others)?

As can be seen in these questions posed above, FCUK aims to carry out an archaeology of la mode in a truly Foucauldian fashion. That is, FCUK dissects the formational history of la mode and reveals its nature as a complex of institutions where capital, power, and ideology are in action.

In this particular sense, FCUK is an organic extension of my doctoral project Quotidian Micro-Spectacles: Ulysses and Fashion, which is an archaeological study that excavates and exposes James Joyce the arch-modernist’s ambiguous fondness for British fashion despite his resentment against the empire’s colonisation and exploitation of his dear, dirty Dublin. Yet FCUK is tremendously more exciting than Quotidian Micro-Spectacles, as the enlarged scope of investigation now covers not only Joyce’s contemporary anglophone modernists who inhabited Paris––the capital of modernity––but also different generations of francophone writers and thinkers who came before and after Joyce. While FCUK’s scope of investigation seems all-encompassing, one unmistakable focus sets it apart from the other existing scholarship: sartorial fashion in historical context. Similar to what Quotidian Micro-Spectacles has achieved, FCUK wishes to rethink modernism by means of scrutinising the often overlooked material traces of its interplay with actual clothing.


ROAD-MAPPING English Medium Instruction: A Study on English Medium Instruction in Taiwanese University settings

MOST Project by Dr. Han-Yi Lin

The late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have seen a significant transformation in higher education driven by the interwoven forces of globalization, marketization, and Englishization. Aiming for globalization as well as Englishization of tertiary education, English medium instruction (EMI) has become a recognized component of English language policy which prevails in non-English speaking countries. The use of the English language to teach academic subjects in a non-Anglophone context has been a fast-growing global phenomenon which entails great contextual and sociolinguistic variances and could lead to divergent sociocultural and educational implications (Dearden, 2015).

As a result, this research project aims to provide a contextual and sociolinguistic investigation of English medium education in Taiwanese university settings. EMI at universities is regarded as a social phenomenon which entails dynamic interplay of multifaceted forces and sociolinguistic factors and can result in educational and linguistic effects. Drawing on Dafouz and Smit’s (2014) ROAD-MAPPING framework, this study examines and compares the six core dimensions regarding the implementation of EMI, i.e. Roles of English (in relation to other languages), Academic Disciplines, (language) Management, Agents, Practices and Processes, and Internationalization and Glocalization, in the four major types of higher education institutions (HEIs). Through analysis of national and institutional policy documents and semi-structured interviewees with stakeholders of EMI, the following research questions will be explored: (1) What are the roles of English (in relation to other languages) at the national and institutional levels in Taiwan? (2) What are the issues addressed and the decisions taken by various types of Taiwanese HEIs in face of internationalization and in the process of glocalization? (3) What policy measures, efforts and actions are taken to manage the implementation of EMI at the national, institutional and individual levels? (4) What are participants’ perceptions and practices regarding the implementation of EMI? How are EMI practices and participants’ academic literacy influenced by academic disciplinary practices?


Writing the Borders: Defining Scotland and Fairyland in the Late Nineteenth Century

MOST Project by Dr. Sharin Schroeder

The Victorian era has traditionally been seen as a period of decline for Scottish literature. There were no writers with the fame of Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott, Edinburgh had been eclipsed by London as a cultural center, publishers and authors alike had moved south, and the nationalist twentieth-century Scottish Renaissance had not yet arrived. Scholars such as Christopher Harvie, however, have argued that a Scottish “national literature of some sophistication emerged in the nineteenth century” in a “recovery of folklore and tradition akin to that pioneered by the brothers Grimm.” Scots led the way in the new disciplines of folklore and anthropology. Scottish expatriate writers, including Andrew Lang, George MacDonald, Margaret Oliphant, James Barrie, and Robert Louis Stevenson, in their Scottish fiction, fantasy writing, literary criticism, and journalism, defined Scottish identity for their British and international readers, firmly associating Scotland with the fantastic. Although the varieties of fantasy fiction written by these expatriate Scots varied, from portal quest fantasies (MacDonald and Barrie), to immersive fantasies (MacDonald), to intrusive fantasies and ghost stories (MacDonald, Oliphant, Lang, and Stevenson) to gothic weird tales (Stevenson), together, these writers contributed to a national fantasy tradition. Lang, Barrie, and Oliphant reviewed one another (and reviewed MacDonald and Stevenson). In English and Scottish periodicals, they mediated Scottish fantasy to a British audience.

In this project, I will examine the journalism of Andrew Lang, Margaret Oliphant, and James Barrie for its portrayal of Scottish fantasy, and its role in forming Scottish identity. I will assess the extent to which these critics spoke with one voice when discussing Scottish folklore and fantasy writing, how or whether they differentiated between folklore and literary fantasy in their criticism, and how their efforts to define the Scottish literary tradition differed from publication to publication. I will pay particular attention to criticism in recently digitized publications such as the Saint James’s Gazette, the Nottingham Journal, the Bookman, the Illustrated London News, the Athenaeum, and the currently undigitized Morning Post. I will also digitize Morning Post columns by Lang for this project, making them freely available to researchers on my open-access Andrew Lang Site. This project will open up new avenues for future research, including work on how the Scottish fantasy tradition influenced J.R.R. Tolkien and his goal of creating a mythology for England. The project will also allow me to prepare for future work on undigitized Scottish newspapers such as the Glasgow Weekly Mail, which published serializations of five George MacDonald novels.