Student invited to present research at prestigious forum

Picture: Student Carmon Graham at Beijing Foreign Studies University.

A Western Sydney University student has been awarded a US$1000 scholarship to present her research at a forum at the 7th International Boya Forum in Bejing, China.

Carmon Graham, who is studying a Bachelor of Arts (Pathway to teaching Secondary), presented at the Beijing Foreign Studies University where she shared her preliminary findings about why young bilinguals in Sydney switch between the Chinese and English language during conversations.

Carmon’s research focuses on the sociolinguistic approach to code-switching, or changing languages during conversation as it is commonly known.

As part of her research, she interviewed six young English-Mandarin Chinese bilinguals and found that code-switching does not indicate poor language mastery but rather linguistic competence. Code switching can occur for a range of reasons including a change in topics, communicative intents and emotions. Her research also found that certain themes such as family, love and education triggered code-switching due to an emotional connection with a particular language.

Carmon was the only international student selected to present at the forum.

“It was the first time I travelled overseas for a University event or research forum as a representative so I felt very honoured to get an invitation,” she said.

“As I am half Chinese and a Chinese major it was very meaningful and I felt proud to be able to present my research in China.”

The Boya forum showcases research that offers a bilingual and bicultural perspective to certain complex issues in the globalised world. It also provides an opportunity to connect language students to their roots and identity.

“The forum is a unique international experience for our language and linguistics students to showcase their community-engaged bilingualism research findings,” said Associate Professor Ruying Qi, who is the Director of Bilingualism Research at Western Sydney University.

Carmon says she is most grateful for the support she received from the School of Humanities and Communication Arts and the Dean Professor Peter Hutchings in preparation for the forum.

“It was a journey that I believe I couldn't have done by myself and I have learnt a lot along the way,” Carmon said.


4 October 2019

Jessica Cortis, Media Officer