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Yvonne Chi presents at International Symposium on Bilingualism

Yvonne Chi presents at the Ninth International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB9)

Yvonne Chi, Research Student for the Department of ALC, tells us about her presentation at the Ninth International Symposium on Bilingualism

10 June to 13 June 2013

Ninth International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB9)

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

The International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB) is a biennial conference and was convened for the 9th session in 2013. It is the first time the ISB has been held in Asia and also my first ISB experience. The four full days were enlightening and I have to say Nanyang Technological University has impressed us with its organisational ability and hospitality. The theme "Multilingualism" even applied to the catering.

My presentation was scheduled in the late afternoon of 11th June, with ten other parallel sessions. There were around fifteen delegates who went to my presentation, including Professor Sachdev Itesh from SOAS, and Professor Margaret Deuchar from Bangor University, who kindly offered me useful suggestions about gender issues for my swearwords analysis. I also received some other questions regarding ethnical issues. I am grateful for the support of Ron Peek, PhD student from our department, and other delegates I met at the conference. I did not expect the amused reaction from the audience when I showed the first excerpt of the couple's disagreement. After the presentation, many people have talked to me and shared their own argument stories with me as multilingual couples during the break and meal time. It always encourages me when people told me how much they enjoyed my presentation due to the association they made with their own experiences.

Professor Li Wei's invited panel on Chinese diasporas was scheduled on the second and forth days. I have learned a lot from the cross generations' language repertoire and how their identities change from the research on Chinese families in Australia, Africa, the Netherlands, and Indonesia. One of the plenary speeches, Professor Nick Evans presented two case studies based on small-scale communities in north Australia and south New Guinea. How intermarriage and work can shape the society into a multilingual one across geographical boundaries. I also attended some poster presentations, and found it very informative, particularly Professor Jyotsna Vaid's research of language brokering where she lists motivations for code-switching.

Social Network: I was fortunate to sit at the same table with the keynote speaker, Professor Nick Evans at the conference dinner. It was astonishing when I realised the author I have read so many publications of was in front of me. At the cocktail reception night, during lunch break, and even on the shuttle bus, I talked to other delegates, such as Associate Professor, Katherine Chen from the University of Hong Kong, Dr. Barbara De Groot from Erasmus University College, and Mr. Fong Yeow Wah from Ministry of Education in Singapore. It was a great opportunity to socialise with scholars and colleagues on a less formal occasion. Next time ISB will be in the U.S.A. and many participants I met in Singapore have talked about going in two years time. I cannot recommend the experience more if anyone asked me about the ISB conference and we shall try to attend as many times as we possibly can.