Eason Shum

Background

Eason graduated with first-class honours in English Studies and Translation from the University of Hong Kong (HKU). As part of his studies, he spent a semester at the University of Edinburgh, where he studied speech production and perception, phonology, and acoustic correlates of phonological contrast.

 

Previous Research

Before joining Oxford, Eason had amassed considerable research experience. His undergraduate thesis, titled “Top or Bottom? A Cross-linguistic Study of Homosexual Cantonese-English Bilingual Males’ Voiceless Sibilant /s/ Production”, contributed to understanding the sociolinguistic indexicality of an individual’s sexual orientation. His research examined the variations and acoustic correlates of sibilants in bilinguals, focusing specifically on Cantonese-English bilingual speakers. Eason’s work was the first to explore these variations in a Cantonese-English bilingual context and to consider the nuanced identities within the homosexual community, often overlooked in existing literature.

Eason served as a research assistant at both the Faculty of Education and the School of Chinese at HKU. At the Faculty of Education, he worked on a project on language attitudes in teaching English and Chinese as a Lingua Franca. At the School of Chinese, he was responsible for maintaining the Newssary mobile application and the Resources for Interpreting website, both instrumental toolkits for professional interpreters and translators. Additionally, he curated over 600 bilingual Chinese-English entries from current affairs for these platforms.

Eason also worked as a research assistant at HKU’s Speech, Language and Cognition Laboratory, contributing to a project on incidental learning of Thai tones. His responsibilities included developing online versions of tasks and experiments, testing participants, and translating various research materials from English to Chinese. At the same laboratory, Eason prepared a manuscript on the effectiveness of high-variability phonetic training (HVPT) and conducted empirical research on the impact of incidental HVPT on the acquisition of nonnative vowels and lexical tones by adult learners.

Eason completed a fully funded twelve-week research internship at the Child Language and Speech Studies Laboratory at the University of Toronto. Under the supervision of Prof. Elizabeth Johnson, Eason collaborated with PhD students and postdoctoral researchers on several developmental sociolinguistics projects. These projects included studies on gendered speech and accents, as well as a psychological phenomenon known as the illusory truth effect. His roles encompassed data analysis, literature reviews, research proposals, stimuli selection and manipulation, and experimental design.

 

Current Research

Currently, Eason is working on Zhanmi (or Jianmi), a language primarily spoken in China’s eastern Guangdong Province. His proposed MPhil thesis, titled “Vowels in Canton-Zhanmi: System and Diachronic Change”, aims to conduct detailed documentation and acoustic analysis of the vowel inventory in a variant of Zhanmi: Chishi Zhanmi. Eason is particularly interested in documenting the unique phonetic features of Zhanmi and examining the influence of the dominant Cantonese culture and language policies in Guangdong on the development of Canton-Zhanmi, with the goal of contributing to the preservation efforts of the Zhanmi linguistic heritage.

Eason’s research aims to bridge gaps in current literature and contribute to the preservation of minority languages. He continues to explore the complexities of sociophonetics, bringing a nuanced understanding of the dynamics of language change and preservation.

 

Hobbies

In his free time, Eason is a huge fan of snooker. He also plays the recorder with the Oxford Baroque Players.

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