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Language and Communication
Updates on May 24, 2021:
  • The Language and Communication major and minor syllabus below is only applicable to existing students admitted in 2020-21 or before.
  • New feature: For new students admitted to HKU in 2021-22 and thereafter, they are able to study English Studies, and declare optional specialization streams in the “Literature Stream” and/ or “Language and Communication Stream”. The following information will be included in the English Studies syllabus for 2021-22 and thereafter:

Major students who have successfully passed at least seven courses (three introductory courses and four advanced courses) with a literature OR language and communication focus, respectively, will be given a School of English certification, upon request, which attests to this specialization in the “Literature Stream” or “Language and Communication Stream.” If applicable, a dual recognition in both the “Literature Stream” and “Language and Communication Stream” is possible.

Please note that the declaration and certification of specialization stream(s) is optional and students can graduate with a major in English Studies without declaring any specialization stream(s).


  1. Courses affiliated to specialization streams are listed on the School’s website.
  2. Neither the transcript nor the graduation certificate will show the specialization stream(s). If applicable, students may approach the School for certification of their specialization stream(s).

Language and Communication is an interdisciplinary programme within the Faculty of Arts, which centres on the study and use of language in society in a multilingual, globalized world. It thereby focuses on both languages of global import, such as English, as well as those with local significance, and on how they are appropriated and positioned in multilingual, cosmopolitan contexts of Asia. The programme provides the theoretical foundations and applied contexts for understanding and addressing linguistic and social questions of language and communication. It equips students with the intellectual and practical tools to critically examine, intelligently reflect on, and competently participate in communicative situations, in real-world contexts, such as in the workplace as well as in more informal sites of multilingual communication. The Language and Communication programme takes particular pride in engaging in experiential learning, from internships and projects in courses involving fieldwork in Hong Kong, to initiatives such as overseas field trips. In addressing the need in society for linguistically versatile and culturally sensitive leaders in the 21st-century knowledge economy of Asia’s world city and beyond, the programme aims at honing transferable skills for a wide range of careers, including education, materials development, editing and publishing, public administration, public relations, marketing, the media, event organization, tourism, cultural affairs and global creative industries.

The courses of the Language and Communication programme incorporate a variety of teaching and learning methods, including formal lectures, seminars, small group tutorials, workshops, and online learning. They are mostly assessed by coursework, including oral presentations, in-class tests and quizzes, essays and research projects and portfolios. They are designed to provide students with skills of accurate and historically sensitive analysis, critical reading and thinking, and clear and coherent argument in both writing and speaking.

Students are encouraged to discuss their study plans and course selections with the UG Coordinator, their Academic Advisers, or any teachers in the Language and Communication programme.


Programme Outcomes

Click here for the pdf version.

On successful completion of the major or minor in Language and Communication, students should be able to: 

  • identify and critique relevant issues in the study of language and communication, and apply theoretical and methodological knowledge to real-world social and linguistic data;
  • critically evaluate established knowledge and creatively apply it to novel, contemporary contexts of communication, in this multilingual, globalized world, in particular in the settings of Hong Kong and Asia;
  • critically reflect upon the strengths and weaknesses of their own and others’ viewpoints and communicative practices, and challenge taken-for-granted assumptions about language and communication;
  • identify, appreciate and critically examine the role of diversity in languages and communicative strategies across cultures and time, and how this shapes one’s linguistic identity and comes to bear upon communicative situations, drawing on cross-cultural perspectives in the study of language and communication;
  • use the necessary intellectual, communicative and practical skills to participate in intellectual discussions of linguistic and social issues and collaborate productively in research projects, in and for both institutional and real-world contexts; and
  • demonstrate an understanding of the complexities of contemporary social and political issues of language and communication in the context of globalization – such as the appropriation and positioning of languages of global significance, in particular English, and the fine balance struck with other local languages, with a view to sustainability in multilingual, cosmopolitan contexts of Asia, – which allows for intelligent, significant and responsible contributions to society.
Credit Unit Statement

Click here for the pdf file.


Syllabus for students admitted in 2020-21

Below is a summary of the full syllabuses. For the full syllabuses with course descriptions, please click here.

*New courses added to the relevant course list shall also be counted towards the major/minor for students admitted in the earlier cohort(s).


First-year Prerequisite

Students intending to declare a major or minor in Language and Communication in the second year must pass at least one introductory LCOM course from List A “Historical and Theoretical Foundations” (6 credits) in the first year.

Admission to all introductory courses is on the basis of academic record including a minimum Level 5 in English Language in the Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) examination, or an equivalent score in another recognized English proficiency test.


Major in Language and Communication (78 credits)

To complete the requirements of the major, students must take:

  1. 30 credits of introductory courses (including the first-year prerequisite), normally taken in the first two years of study, which consist of:

    (a) 12 credits from List A (of which at least 6 credits must be from LCOM as a first-year prerequisite);
    (b) 6 credits from List B;
    (c) 12 credits from List C; and

  2. 48 credits of advanced courses, which consist of:

    (a) 24 credits from the ENGL and LCOM course lists below (of which 12 credits must be from LCOM, and 12 credits from either ENGL or LCOM), which must include a capstone course to be taken preferably in the final year;
    (b) 24 credits from any other programmes from the list below (i.e. which are not ENGL and LCOM courses).

Minor in Language and Communication (36 credits)

To complete the requirements of the minor, students must take:

  1. 18 credits of introductory courses (including the first-year prerequisite), which consist of:

    (a) 6 credits of LCOM course from List A (first-year prerequisite);
    (b) 6 credits from List B;
    (c) 6 credits from List C; and

  2. 18 credits of advanced courses (of which at least 6 credits must be from LCOM).
Introductory Courses
List A: Historical and Theoretical Foundations

The courses in this list will introduce students to the history and organization of diverse areas of linguistic scholarship. Students will acquire a general overview of selected areas and issues, including major theoretical distinctions or classifications and their historical development over time.

ENGL1011   An introduction to the study of meaning (6 credits)
ENGL1015   Introduction to English linguistics (6 credits)
ENGL1017   Introduction to sociolinguistics (6 credits)
ENGL1018   Language and gender (6 credits)
ENGL1037   Persuasion (6 credits)
ENGL1045   “Community” in Sociolinguistics (6 credits)
ENGL1051   English sounds (6 credits)
LCOM1001   Introduction to language and communication (6 credits)
LCOM1002   Language, communication, society, field (6 credits)
LCOM1003   Theorizing communication (6 credits)
LCOM1004   Introduction to pragmatics (6 credits)
List B: Critical Reading, Analysis and Writing

The courses in this list will introduce students to the practice and methods of critical reading, analysis and writing, focusing on different areas of literary and linguistic study. Students will acquire a basic grasp of analytical distinctions and terminology, and learn to ask questions and construct critical arguments.

ENGL1014   Imaginary geographies: The art of writing place (6 credits)
ENGL1026   Adaptation: From text to screen (6 credits)
ENGL1027   Analyzing discourse (6 credits)
ENGL1028   Awakenings: Exploring women’s writing (6 credits)
ENGL1030   Dramatic changes: Versions of Renaissance literature (6 credits)
ENGL1031   English grammar(s) (6 credits)
ENGL1032   Late Victorian Texts and Contexts (6 credits)
ENGL1033   Intercultural communication (6 credits)
ENGL1034   Language and prejudice (6 credits)
ENGL1035   Language crimes (6 credits)
ENGL1036   Meaning and metaphor (6 credits)
ENGL1038   Practice of criticism (6 credits)
ENGL1039   Realism and representation (6 credits)
ENGL1040   Rewriting and writing back (6 credits)
ENGL1041   Modernity and literary modernism (6 credits)
ENGL1042   World Englishes (6 credits)
ENGL1043   An introduction to 20th-century English Poetry (6 credits)
ENGL1047   The English lexicon (6 credits)
ENGL1048   Crime stories (6 credits)
ENGL1049   Early English sonnets (6 credits)
ENGL1050   An introduction to qualitative research methods in sociolinguistics (6 credits)
ENGL1052   Introduction to theatre studies (6 credits)
ENGL1053   Eighteenth century drama: The rise of celebrity culture (6 credits)
ENGL1054   Writing disaster: Literature, trauma, memory (6 credits)
List C: Introductory Courses from other programmes

African Studies

AFRI1001   Foundations in African Studies (6 credits)
AFRI2004   Introduction to African linguistics (6 credits)

China Studies

SINO1003   Greater China: A multi-disciplinary introduction (6 credits)

Comparative Literature

CLIT1008   Ways of reading: Film, literature, and culture (6 credits)
CLIT1010   Ways of thinking about culture and society (6 credits)

European Studies

EUST1010   Foundations of European Studies (6 credits)

General Linguistics

LING1000   Introduction to language (6 credits)
LING1004   Language structure for language learning (6 credits)
LING2004   Phonetics: Describing sounds (6 credits)
LING2009   Languages of the world (6 credits)
LING2034   Psycholinguistics (6 credits)
LING2050   Grammatical description (6 credits)
LING2056   Sociolinguistics (6 credits)

Global Creative Industries

GCIN1001   Introduction to global creative industries (6 credits)

Hong Kong Studies

HKGS1001   Hong Kong’s long twentieth century (6 credits)

Japanese Studies

JAPN1011   Introduction to Japanese studies (6 credits)

Korean Studies

KORE1021   Introduction to Korean culture and society (6 credits)


CHIN1311   Introduction to translation (6 credits)
CHIN2333   Culture and translation (6 credits)
CHIN2352   Language contrast and translation I (6 credits)
CHIN2364   Bilingualism and law: Perspectives from translation (6 credits)

Students should note that LING1000 is the pre-requisite for the five other introductory LING courses. However students who have completed any introductory course in List A may enroll in these LING courses without the pre-requisite LING course.

Advanced Courses

In order to enroll in any advanced courses in English Studies or Language and Communication, students must normally have completed 18 credits of introductory courses, with at least 6 credits from both List A and List B.

Students should note that they bear the responsibility of fulfilling the necessary pre-requisites, if any, for advanced courses in other programmes. Students who have completed any introductory course in List A may however enroll in some of the advanced LING courses in the list below without having to do the pre-requisite and/or introductory LING course(s), though it may still be preferable to do so.

American Studies

AMER2002   The road in American culture (6 credits)
AMER2014   A dream in the heart: varieties of Asian American culture (6 credits)
AMER2022   What’s on TV? Television and American culture (6 credits)
AMER2033   Asia on America’s screen (6 credits)
AMER2038   American film, from Golden-Age Hollywood to New Hollywood and beyond (6 credits)
AMER2040   Creating culture in the world: American creative industries in the age of globalization (6 credits)
AMER2041   How the West was won: The frontier in American culture and literature (6 credits)
AMER2042   Consuming culture: decoding American symbols (6 credits)
AMER2043   Born in the USA: U.S. youth cultures (6 credits)
AMER2045   Film beyond the mainstream: American art cinema (6 credits)
AMER2048   American literature (6 credits)
AMER2055   From slavery to the White House: African American history and culture (6 credits)
AMER2062   Disability and human rights in American Studies (6 credits)

China Studies

SINO2007   Creative Industries in China in a Global Context (6 credits)

Comparative Literature

CLIT2001   Comparative studies of literary and visual narratives (6 credits)
CLIT2025   Visual cultures (6 credits)
CLIT2026   Digital culture (6 credits)
CLIT2045   Colonialism/ Postcolonialism (6 credits)
CLIT2050   Globalisation and culture (6 credits)
CLIT2064   Hong Kong culture: Popular arts and everyday life (6 credits)
CLIT2074   Film and ideology in contemporary China (6 credits)
CLIT2083   Film art, language and culture (6 credits)
CLIT2096   Ethics of film and literature (6 credits)
CLIT2099   Anticolonialism and decoloniality (6 credits)

Fugitive science: Science and technology studies (STS) approaches to facts and fakes (6 credits)

English Studies

ENGL2002   Language in society (6 credits)
ENGL2004   English syntax (6 credits)
ENGL2007   Literary linguistics (6 credits)
ENGL2030   New Englishes (6 credits)
ENGL2039   Gender, sexuality and discourse (6 credits)
ENGL2047   English discourse structures and strategies (6 credits)
ENGL2048   Language and jargon (6 credits)
ENGL2050   English corpus linguistics (6 credits)
ENGL2057   Text and image (6 credits)
ENGL2103   Language and digital media (6 credits)
ENGL2104   Language in the USA (6 credits)
ENGL2112   An introduction to the history of English (6 credits)
ENGL2115   Theories of language acquisition (6 credits)
ENGL2117   English phonology and morphology (6 credits)
ENGL2123   Language and identity in Hong Kong (6 credits)
ENGL2125   English construction grammar (6 credits)
ENGL2126   Law, meaning, and interpretation (6 credits)
ENGL2127   Language and the law (6 credits)
ENGL2129   English as a language of science (6 credits)
ENGL2130   Signs, language and meaning: Integrational reflections (6 credits)
ENGL2138   Language and globalization (6 credits)
ENGL2140   Ideologies of language in early modernity (6 credits)
ENGL2141   Doing discourse analysis (6 credits)
ENGL2146   Cognitive semantics (6 credits)
ENGL2158   Language processing and learning (6 credits)
ENGL2160   Sovereignty in law, theory and culture (6 credits)
ENGL2161   Language rights and linguistic justice (6 credits)
ENGL2166   English phonetics (6 credits)
ENGL2168   The law of signs: Interpretative controversies in legal semiotics (6 credits)

European Studies

EUST2010   European Identity (6 credits)
EUST2015   From cinema to society: Understanding Europe through film (6 credits)
EUST2016   Creative industries in Europe in a global context (6 credits)
EUST2017   World War I (6 credits)
EUST2030   The modern imagination in Europe (6 credits)
EUST3012   The EU as a global actor and EU-China relations (6 credits)
EUST3015   The dark side of European civilization: the Holocaust (6 credits)
EUST3018   European empire: Comparative British and French imperialism (6 credits)
EUST3020   The making of the West: From Descartes to Rorty (6 credits)

General Linguistics

LING2003   Semantics: Meaning and grammar (6 credits)
LING2013   Language typology: The study of linguistic diversity (6 credits)
LING2022   Pragmatics (6 credits)
LING2023   Discourse analysis (6 credits)
LING2036   Child language (6 credits)
LING2037   Bilingualism (6 credits)
LING2040   Languages in contact (6 credits)
LING2048   Language and cognition (6 credits)
LING2058   Topics in Cantonese linguistics (6 credits)
LING2060   Languages of China (6 credits)
LING2061   Linguistic fieldwork (6 credits)
LING2062   Linguistic research methods (6 credits)
LING2065   Endangered languages: Issues and methods (6 credits)
LING2069   Origins of language (6 credits)
LING2071   Introductory statistics for the humanities (6 credits)
LING2072   Advanced statistics for the humanities (6 credits)

Global Creative Industries

GCIN2002   Commercializing creativity: A cultural critique (6 credits)
GCIN2006   Fashion and luxury: Cultural and organizational dynamics (6 credits)
GCIN2007   Film and media: Cultural and organizational dynamics (6 credits)
GCIN2008   Advertising: Cultural and organizational dynamics (6 credits)
GCIN2011   Understanding Hong Kong TV industry (6 credits)
GCIN2014   Communication strategies in advertising (6 credits)
GCIN2018   Publishing industry in digital age (6 credits)

Hong Kong Studies

HKGS2001   Speaking of Hong Kong: Global voices (6 credits)
HKGS2002   Hong Kong identities in local, national and global contexts (6 credits)
HKGS2004   Hong Kong’s economic growth: A modernisation and internationalisation miracle (6 credits)
HKGS2005   An anthropology of Hong Kong’s belief systems and religious practices (6 credits)
HKGS2007   Geographic challenges: The ‘space premium’ and Hong Kong society (6 credits)

Japanese Studies

JAPN2031   The media and Japan (6 credits)
JAPN2045   Sex, gender, and technology in Japan (6 credits)
JAPN2050   Creative industries in East Asia (Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea and Japan) (6 credits)
JAPN2058   Understanding popular culture in Japan (6 credits)
JAPN2081   Japanese literature (6 credits)
JAPN2082   Japanese film and society (6 credits)
JAPN2083   Contemporary Japanese society and culture (6 credits)
JAPN2084   Studies in Japanese culture (6 credits)
JAPN2090   Growing up in Japan: Youth, culture and society (6 credits)
JAPN2091   Introduction to pre-modern Japan (6 credits)
JAPN3035   Revolutionary origins of modern Japan (6 credits)
JAPN3036   Medicine and disease in Japanese history (6 credits)
JAPN3039   Japanese popular music and Hong Kong society (6 credits)

Korean Studies

KORE2026   Topics in Korean culture and society (6 credits)
KORE2027   Creative industries in Korea in a global context (6 credits)
KORE2033   Modern and contemporary Korea (6 credits)

Language and Communication

LCOM2001   Theories of language and communication (6 credits)
LCOM2002   Language in the workplace (6 credits)
LCOM2003   Language and politeness (6 credits)
LCOM2004   Language, communication and the media (6 credits)
LCOM2005   Language, communication and globalization (6 credits)
LCOM2007   Visual communication (6 credits)
LCOM2008   Health communication, ‘healthy’ communication (6 credits)
LCOM2009   Language and religion (6 credits)
LCOM2011   The language of news media (6 credits)


PHIL2075   The semantics/pragmatics distinction (6 credits)
PHIL2225   The philosophy of artificial intelligence (6 credits)
PHIL2230   Philosophy and cognitive science (6 credits)
PHIL2410   Mind and language in Chinese thought (6 credits)
PHIL2610   Philosophy of Language (6 credits)
PHIL2651   Bad language: the philosophy of non-ideal language use (6 credits)


CHIN2331   Choice of words in translation (6 credits)
CHIN2332   Translation in Hong Kong society (6 credits)
CHIN2339   Translation for administration and business (6 credits)
CHIN2340   Film translation workshop (6 credits)
CHIN2341   Translating writings on art (6 credits)
CHIN2342   Interpretation workshop II (6 credits)
CHIN2343   Legal interpreting (6 credits)
CHIN2344   Short stories: East and West (6 credits)
CHIN2345   Syntax-based translation (6 credits)
CHIN2346   From page to stage: A workshop on drama adaptation and translation (6 credits)
CHIN2347   World literature and translation (6 credits)
CHIN2348   Bilingual studies in media and popular culture (6 credits)
CHIN2351   Translation criticism (6 credits)
CHIN2356   Language contrast and translation II (6 credits)
CHIN2357   Bilingual communication in translation (6 credits)
CHIN2358   Journeys to the East: Translation and China in the literary imagination of the West (6 credits)
CHIN2363   Advanced translation workshop C-E (6 credits)
CHIN2366   Advanced theories of translation (6 credits)
CHIN2367   Advanced translation workshop E-C (6 credits)
CHIN3311   Translation and the study of Chinese literature (6 credits)
CHIN3312   Travel writing, literature, and translation (6 credits)
Capstone Courses
LCOM3001   Cultural dimensions of language and communication (capstone experience) (6 credits)
LCOM3004   Language and communication field trip (capstone experience) (6 credits)
LCOM3005   Internship in language and communication (capstone experience) (6 credits)
LCOM3006   Extended essay in language and communication (capstone experience) (6 credits)
List of Communication-intensive courses
  • ENGL2164/ LALS3010/ LLAW3251 Beginnings of English law and literature
  • ENGL2184/ LCOM2007 Visual communication

For more information, please refer to https://cics.hku.hk/the-list-of-badged-courses/


Course offerings and time-table

Please check here for course offerings and time-table of 2022-23.


UG Coordinator

Dr Brian King
School of English
The University of Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 3917 4474
Fax: (852) 2559 7139
Email: bwking@hku.hk