Research Center for Language and Language Education of CCNU was founded in May, 1999. Reviewed and evaluated by the expert panel of Ministry of Education, the center was approved officially as one of the Top 100 Key Research Institutes of Humanities and Social Sciences in November, 2000. With the successful assessment in 2004 and 2010, the center ushers in a new chapter. Currently, it has over 20 full-time and part-time researchers, including 16 professors and 10 associate professors. Among its faculty members, twelve are doctoral supervisors and eleven master’s supervisors. There are two research areas here: the study of Chinese language and the study in language teaching. In accordance with the regulation provided by the Ministry of Education, the overall development goals of CCNU and its own development plan, the center has yielded impressive results in disciplinary development, academic research, faculty recruiting, talent training, academic exchange and social service.
I. Disciplinary Development
The founding of the Research Center for Language and Language Education marked a new starting point for the development of language studies in CCNU. With the full support by the center, Chinese Language and Literature became a first-class discipline granting doctoral and master’s degrees in 2000. In the following year, the post-doctoral programme was established in the same discipline. In the year 2002, Chinese Philology was approved as the National Key Discipline and the title was retained after the successful evaluation conducted by the MOE in 2007. Then, it was graded as the Advantageous Discipline of Hubei Higher Institutions in 2008. Moreover, the newly-founded Research Base for Chinese Language Promotion in CCNU was approved as the Key Research Institutes of Humanities and Social Sciences in Hubei Province in 2006. Guided by the philosophy of “Disciplinary Ripple Effect”, an increasing number of disciplines were entitled to confer doctoral degrees. By the end of 2007, doctoral programmes in another three disciplines (namely Comparative Study of Chinese and Foreign Languages, Chinese Information Processing, and Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language) were set up along with the original two (Chinese Philology, and Linguistics and Applied Linguistics). In the same years, the center was given the right to render Master’s degree of Teaching Chinese to Speakers of Other Languages.
II. Academic Research
Since 2001, the center has carried out over 80 projects funded by National Social Science Fund, amounting to more than 9 million RMB yuan. Among these, Professor Xing Fuyi’s project “Global Study on Chinese Grammar” was classified as the major project in 2011. In addition, 70-odd books written by the research staff were published by the Commercial Press, Zhonghua Press and other major publishers and over 600 papers were published in Zhongguo Yuwen (Chinese Language), Fangyan (Dialet), as well as other academic journals. Altogether, more than 30 high-level prizes were awarded to the centre. A Collection of Grammatical Explorations, Chinese Grammar, Research on Chinese Compound Sentences, and A Collection of Grammatical Questions, authored by Professor Xing Fuyi, received the First Prize of Outstanding Achievement at the first, second, fourth, and sixth review on humanities and social sciences studies among Chinese higher institutions.
III. Faculty Recruiting
Through the introduction of oversea scholars and the training of the domestic scholars, the center has enriched its second-tier staff and set up the third-tier. With two prestigious young and middle-aged scholars introduced from home and abroad as well as many talented doctors and post-doctoral staff, an academic pyramid (senior- middle-aged-young) took shape, featuring high professional degree, reasonable structure, good teamwork and intellectual vigour. Throughout the years, one researcher was appointed as member of Social Science Committee of MOE, one as First Group of Hubei Famous Scholars in Social Sciences, one as Distinguished Professional Talent, one as the Middle-aged/Young Expert Making Impressive Contribution to Hubei and one as Senior Professor in Liberal Arts of CCNU. Moreover, three researchers were included in the Programme for New Century Excellent Talents in University and one in the Hubei Chutian Scholar Programme.
IV. Talent Training
Over the years, the talent training programmes have expanded from academic degree to professional degree, from Chinese postgraduates to international postgraduates, and from the one which focus on cultivating talents with languages proficiency to the one that emphasizes on nurturing talents who excels in various areas with hands-on experience. While upgrading its structure, expanding its programmes and improving its capacity in talent training, the center reforms and innovates the teaching methodologies for graduate students. As a result, it brings about the idea of “Four Combinations” (i.e. to combine lecture with discussion, study with research, reading with writing, pragmatism with innovation) so as to ensure the quality of its students. Most of the postgraduates have published several papers during their academic study here, some of which are published by authoritative academic journals or the core journals or are reproduced in full-text in the Renmin University’s Reproduced Full-text Articles of Journals and Newspapers. Two doctoral dissertations are nominated as National Excellent Doctoral Dissertation; four doctoral dissertations and five master’s theses are graded as Excellent Academic Thesis in Hubei. Several Ph. D candidates have been sent to USA, UK, Canada and other countries for further study. So far, the center has been awarded one Second Prize for National Teaching Achievement, two First Prizes and one Second Prize for Hubei Higher Institution’s Teaching Achievement. What’s more, one of the courses here—Modern Chinese Language— is recognized as the National Quality Course.
V. Academic Exchange
Up till now, over 20 international or domestic academic conferences have been sponsored or co-sponsored by the center. International Conference on Modern Chinese Grammar, the highlight of all, has been held for six times. It is acclaimed by scholars home and abroad thanks to its topic-centered approach, coherence and practicality. Its journal, Hanyu Xuebao (Chinese Linguistics), is now included in CSSCI, and the book series, A Collection of Chinese Language Studies, win Hubei Book Award. They become important venues for academic exchange and exert profound influence. With more frequent academic exchanges, dozens of renowned Chinese and foreign scholars have paid visit to the centre and given lectures to the students. The research staff, at the same time, also takes part in important domestic and international academic conferences. Besides, a professional library and a large-scale Chinese Corpus are established here to provide rich resources for study and research.
VI. Social Service
On the one hand, the center focuses on language practice in China. It complies Report on the Development of Philosophy and Social Sciences in Chinese Higher Institutions: Linguistics, Report on the Development of Philosophy and Social Sciences in Foreign Higher Institutions: Linguistics, Report on the Development of Philosophy and Social Sciences in Chinese Higher Institutions (1978-2008): Linguistics and participates in the writing of Chinese Language Situation Report. By bringing forward proposals and consulting reports to the CPPCC, National Language Committee, Department of Language Information Administration of MOE, Language Research Institute of Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macau and other institutions, the center has provided sound and feasible suggestions and advice to the government with regard to the national language strategies. Furthermore, it holds seminars on Wuhan dialect for free and joins in the compiling of the chapter on dialect in Wuhan Almanac, contributing to the popularization of Wuhan dialect and the training of researchers in this area. On the other hand, it attaches importance to the global presence of Chinese. A large number of consulting reports are provided by the center to the compiling of the Chinese textbooks used in primary and secondary schools in Singapore. At the same time, quite a number of students from Singapore, Vietnam, South Korean and other countries obtain their master’s or doctoral degrees here, who now play a leading role in Chinese language teaching back in their own countries. Hence, it is no exaggeration to say that the centre is a vital booster to the spread of Chinese language and culture around the world.