In accordance with the long-term development policy of the Academia Sinica 'institutes for basic sciences and centers for intra-disciplinary research', and in order to explore the common biological, mathematical, and cultural roots of human language with an aim to establishing its scientific and systematic knowledge, a preparatory office for the Institute of Linguistics was set up in 1997, resulting in a full-fledged Institute in 2004. Currently, the Institute's faculty comprises 16 full-time researchers. The overall objective of the Institute is to achieve scientific and systematic knowledge about human language by conducting purely linguistic as well as interdisciplinary research on languages of Taiwan and genetically and areally related languages. Important contributions have been made especially in linguistic structure analyses, linguistic computation and simulation, language archiving, and cross-discipline studies.
The major approaches to linguistic research conducted at this institute include the following:
Structural research: descriptive and typological analysis, historical comparison
Theoretical research: phonological, syntactic, and semantic theory
Linguistic documentation: language archiving, corpus linguistics, geo-informatics
Cognitive research: neurolinguistics and cognitive development of language
Computational research: speech engineering, language anchor and ontology, WordNet
Linguistic diversity research: documentation of endangered languages, language conservation, ecological linguistics
Apart from conducting individual research, research fellows of the Institute also join various research groups according to their research interests. Three research groups are currently operational, including Linguistic Structure and Typology Research Group, Corpus and Computational Linguistics Research Group, and Phonetics, Phonology, and Speech Science Research Group. Research groups constitute cross-language and cross-discipline platforms allowing researchers to conduct issue-oriented collaborations. The two core laboratories of the Institute, the Phonetics Lab and the Cognitive and Neural Linguistics Lab, enable researchers to probe into various linguistic phenomena via conducting experimental studies in the lab.
There are currently 18 full-time research members at the Institute of Linguistics. Their names, education and research fields are as follows:
Austronesian Linguistics, Language Archive, Functional Linguistics, Typology
Major Research Contributions
1. Academic Publication
Over the years, the Institute has produced several hundred items of research. Important research areas that have yielded output with considerable international impact include Sino-Tibetan reconstruction, migratory history of Formosan aboriginals, salvage work on endangered languages of Taiwan, discovery of new Tibeto-Burman languages and dialects, introduction of MARV theory in lexical semantics, application of geographic information system technology to dialectology, discourse prosody, discovery of cross-linguistic generalizations between word form and concept development, and neural correlates of Chinese language processing. In 2000, the Institute began issuing the international journal Language and Linguistics, which has since been recognized as one of the highest-quality linguistic journals in this country, indexed now inter alia by the SSCI and AHCI citation databases. The journal also has accompanying monographs in several series. Monographs that came off the press in the past two years include A Grammar of Mantauran (Rukai), Studies on the Menggu Ziyun, Ritaual Texts of the Last Traditional Practitioners of Nanwang Puyuma, Acquisition and Evolution of Phonological Systems, The Emergence of Language: Development and Evolution, Interfaces in Chinese Phonology, Mapping Taiwanese, Linguistics Patterns in Spontaneous Speech, and Computational Simulation in Evolutionary Linguistics: A Study on Language Emergence.
2. Language Archiving
The Language Archiving Project of the Institute systematically creates digitized archives of language data. Since 2002, archived materials have been successively posted online for convenient searching, and our online archiving webpages have become basic research portals for researchers on Chinese and Austronesian languages. The second phase of the project was launched in 2007 with the following sub-projects: Southern Min and Hakka, Indigenous Austronesian Languages, Sociolinguistics of Spoken Taiwan Mandarin, Tagged Corpus of Old Chinese, and Lexicon of Pre-Qin Inscriptions on Bone, Bronze, and Bamboo Media.
3. Academic Activities
Each year, the Institute hosts important international meetings and conferences on divergent linguistic themes. The conferences organized in the past few years, for instance, include The Past Meets the Present: A Dialogue Between Historical Linguistics and Theoretical Linguistics, Workshop on Tibeto-Burman Languages of Sichuan, Workshop on Chinese Directionals: History and Dialectal Variation in conjunction with the 6th Cross-Strait Conference on Chinese Historical Grammar, Workshop on Coordination and Comitativity in Austronesian Languages, International Conference on the Tangut Language and the Religions and Cultures of the Northern China in the Age of the Xixia, the Liao, and the Jin, and the 7th Workshop on Formal Syntax & Semantics (FOSS 7), the 12th International Symposium on Chinese Languages and Linguistics, International Symposium on Sino-Tibetan Comparative Studies in the 21st Century, Taiwan Summer Institute of Linguistics: Min Studies, and the Eighth International Symposium on Taiwanese Languages and Teaching.
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