Mr Chit Fung (Lawrence) Lam

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Research Interests

- Syntax, Syntactic Theory, Grammatical Architecture (Syntax-Semantics-Discourse Interface)

- Grammar Engineering (via Xerox Linguistic Environment)

- Corpus Linguistics (and Bilingualism)

- Linguistic Typology

- Linguistics of Sinitic Languages

Currently, I am working on a PhD project on theoretical linguistics (control and complementation), jointly supervised by Prof Kersti Börjars and Prof Eva Schultze-Berndt. The current stage of my project focuses on Chinese data. My research approach is empirically-driven, involving meticulous analysis of data drawn from large-scale language corpora, coupled with native-speaker grammaticality judgement tests. I model these empirical data within the theoretical framework of Lexical-Functional Grammar (LFG), which adopts a constraint-based parallel-correspondence architecture with mathematically well-grounded characterisation of various types of linguistic information (e.g., syntax, semantics, information structure). LFG-based grammars are computationally implementable via the Xerox Linguistic Environment.

Since I started my PhD studies in Sept 2019, I have been disseminating my research findings at various conferences with associated published work: 

  • In July 2020, I presented at the 25th International Lexical-Functional Grammar Conference on the topic of “Functional and Anaphoric Control in Mandarin Chinese”.
  • In July 2021, I delivered a talk on the topic of anaphora and logophoricity at the 26th International Lexical-Functional Grammar Conference (For the preprint of the paper, see
  • In Oct 2021, I gave a talk entitled "A Data-driven Approach to Generalised Control Relations in a Discourse Pro-drop Language: Insights from a Parallel-correspondence System of Grammar" in the 30th South of England LFG Meeting at the University of Oxford.
  • In Feb 2022, I gave another talk in the 31st South of England LFG Meeting at the University of Oxford on "Re-thinking Two 'Restructuring' Phenomena in Parallel Constraint-based Model". 
  • In March 2022, I was invited to give a colloquium talk at the University of Debrecen on the topic of reflexive resolution at the syntax-semantics-discourse interface.
  • In April 2022, I delivered a talk in the Manchester Forum in Linguistics (mFiL)  on restructuring phenomena from an LFG perspective.
  • In July 2022, I will give a talk at the 27th International Lexical-Functional Grammar Conference analysing the relationships between control complements and two restructuring phenomena, namely, Aspect under Control and Inner Topicalisation. The theoretical analysis is computationally implemented by XLE for Grammar Engineering. The codes are accessible here.
  • In Sept 2022, I will present at the 34th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-34). The talk is entitled "Inner Topicalisation and Focus Fronting in Parallel Constraint-Based Model: Theoretical Analysis and Computational Grammar-Engineering Implementation".

As complementary expertise, I have also conducted research on bilingualism and corpus linguistics. In 2020, I published the article “Inter-sentential Code-switching and Language Dominance in Cantonese–English Bilingual Children” (co-authored with Prof Stephen Matthews) in the Journal of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech. We applied corpus methods to examine relationships between language dominance and the under-investigated topic of inter-sentential code-switching in Hong Kong Cantonese–English bilingual children. Our findings suggested that intra-sentential and inter-sentential code-switching each have a different status in bilingual children’s developing grammar. We also suggested that, in societies where intra-sentential code-switching is a social norm, inter-sentential code-switching could serve as signs of early bilinguals’ dominance status. (For the published version, see; for the submitted version, see

Teaching Qualifications and Experience

I am a Fellow of Advance HE (Higher Education Academy, UK) (awarded in March 2022).

With four years of teacher training at The University of Hong Kong, I am a qualified teacher formally registered with the Hong Kong Education Bureau. During the four years of teacher training, I taught the English language to local students in Hong Kong (TESOL) at different secondary schools. After obtaining the first degree, I continued my teaching profession at a local school in Hong Kong for several years before embarking on PhD studies. The major classes I taught were at the pre-university level, preparing students for English language proficiency tests as part of the university entrance exam in Hong Kong.

In 2021, I taught the weekly seminars of the Typology course for the 2nd and 3rd years of undergraduate students at The University of Manchester.


Education / academic qualifications

  • 2017 - Master of Arts, Linguistics (Distinction), University of Hong Kong (2016 - 2017)
  • 2015 - Bachelor of Education, Language Education (First Class Honours), University of Hong Kong (2011 - 2015)
  • 2015 - Bachelor of Arts, English Language and Linguistics (First Class Honours), University of Hong Kong (2011 - 2015)
  • Certificate of Teacher Registration, Hong Kong Education Bureau

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