Raymond Cheng

A Life with Languages Published on Thursday, 18 February 2016 Parent Category: News Share page with AddThis

Raymond Cheng MCIL CL is a media analyst. He explains how he uses languages in his work; for the version of this article in his native Chinese, see The Linguist 55,1

Raymond Cheng

I was born in Hong Kong, furthered my education in the United States, the Philippines, the UK and India, and witnessed the change of sovereignty of Hong Kong from the UK back to China in 1997. I have lived in places where either the East meets the West or where cultures clash, and I am always fascinated to discover the true meaning of everything language-related.

My work for the last 20 years has focused on the applied side of corpus linguistics and statistics. Speaking English, Cantonese and Mandarin fluently, and being sensitive to media texts, I work as a consultant to help businesses and corporate clients look at their marketing and media communication strategies.

Having started my career as a researcher for a political party in Hong Kong, I understand how sensitive the public can be to words, yet how unaware they are of the changing meaning of the words that shape their culture. I learned to track social and language trends by looking closely at the changing usage of specific terms in gazettes and government papers.

I consider myself lucky to have been academically trained in a rather rare combination of disciplines (computing, market research, data analytics, business and public administration, logistics, language, criminal justice, corruption studies, education and public health) in different places around the world. I now teach the Globalization and Media Communication module for the MA in Bilingual Corporate Communication at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University; am a half-time Assistant Professor in language and humanities subjects at the Caritas Institute of Higher Education; and will soon be spearheading the Bath Spa University BA programme in Business and Management in Hong Kong as the Academic Director. I always advocate the power of language, as well as its hidden role in society, to my students.

In my spare time, I work on my website, Commentary.com, a social cause I established in 1997 that aims to arouse public awareness about selected socio-political issues. I am also working on a new project with the Open University at Central Luzon State University, which involves offering a low-cost undergraduate degree programme (costing only about 10-20% of the usual fee) via distance learning to those who either cannot afford the usual tuition or cannot attend college due to work or other commitments. From July, I will be delivering free seminars and hosting a radio show on RTHK Channel 5 for this degree programme. So please tune in.

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