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«Now I can refer to the research conducted by Russian scholars»

TyLex — 2017 summer school on typology and lexicon gathered participants from al across the world. Shihong Zhou, a researcher at Beijing Normal University, shared his impression of the event in a short interview with the organizers of TyLex.

What was your best experience at TyLex so far? What impressed you the most?

For me professor Martin Haspelmath’s talk was the most impressive, because currently I’m doing some research about ergativity. And I brought my poster here, and he gave me some very useful feedback and some positive suggestions on how to do it. And he suggested me another promising direction in discourse and grammar relationship. That impressed me the most, I think this is the most useful thing for me in this trip so far.

Did you have any personal revelations?

I took some pictures of posters that were really interesting for me. I liked the poster session every day very much. I feel more comfortable to talk about something more casually and leisurely, not just sitting in the classroom and listening to the professors talking. Sometimes students’ projects are very interesting. I talked to her (Claudia Heinrich) personally, what she does is weather constructions in German, and it’s really interesting, so I asked for some references from her, and I think I will encourage my students to do this kind of research. To see how it is expressed in Chinese and even in some dialects of Chinese.

Was there anything in particular that changed your idea of language structure as a whole?

So far no (laughs).

Do you think any of the acquired knowledge will help you in your further research?

Yes, of course. I think at least in my teaching. In the part of lexical semantics now I know more ways of research. Frankly speaking, I knew very little about, say, Russian tradition of lexical semantics studies. But I know, that they contributed to this area a lot. They have done very good research, like semantic shifts (DatSemShifts) or synonym comparison. Now at least I can refer to their research.

Did you like anything in particular about our cultural program?

Yeah, I liked it very much! I think, that compared to Asian people – especially Chinese, we are very shy, we don’t participate in this kind of stuff in public – but over here people are very energetic, they love life and they are extroverts, not only doing their research good, but also lead a very active life. That really impressed me. And Russian food.