Dr. Jing Tsu on Lin Yutang, his Chinese-Language Typewriter and the Global Importance of Chinese Language

Date :
29/12/2009 Tuesday
Time :
18:30 Registration; 18:45 Lecture
Venue :
University Museum and Art Gallery, 94 Bonham Road, Hong Kong
Cost :
$120 member; $180 non-member; free for student with valid ID
Note :
Optional dinner with speaker afterward on share-cost basis

Language is very much like art. They both are tools to render human thoughts and feelings into tangible forms. At the same time, language is also a form of currency, standardized for exchange and communication among diverse groups of people. What happens when both the aesthetic and practical sides of language are jointly expressed in technology?

The HKU Museum Society takes pleasure in presenting a lecture by literary scholar and cultural historian Dr. Jing Tsu (石靜遠), Assistant Professor at Yale University. Dr. Tsu received her Ph.D. from Harvard University and was a Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard in 2008-2009. She has researched and written extensively on a century's transformation of the sound and script of the Chinese language.

In 1946, Lin Yutang (???) filed an application with the U.S. Patent Office for his Chinese-language typewriter. The design, which had taken him fifty years to conceive and to build, marks a little known history in the struggle for global dominance between the Chinese and English languages in the area of international communication, a rivalry that continues to the present. In this lecture, Dr. Tsu will be discussing this much neglected chapter of Lin Yutang's biography and how it adds an important dimension to our understanding of his significance as one of China's most successful bilingual writers in the English-speaking world.

Dr. Tsu has published many articles, book chapters and reviews on modern Chinese literature, nationalism, and diaspora. She is the recipient of numerous academic awards and international honors. Her book "Failure, Nationalism and Literature: The Making of Modern Chinese Identity 1895-1937" was published by Stanford University Press in 2005. She is currently completing her second book manuscript, "Sound and Script in Chinese Diaspora," which is under contract with Harvard University Press.