Alumni Sharing丨Zheng Zixin: A Journey with Friends and Linguistics

2022-11-21

A graduate of Department of Chinese Studies, Xiamen University Malaysia, in Aug 2019, 21-year-old Zheng Zixin joined Xiamen University to pursue his Master's degree. Three years later, he went on to the Chinese University of Hong Kong for PhD study, continuing his journey with Chinese dialectology.

 

“I fell in love with linguistics in my freshman year,” Zheng Zixin recalled, “With Prof. Wang Xiaomei’s introduction to Chinese language, as well as Dr. Khoo Kiak Uei and Prof. Lao Chun Fat’s guidance in linguistics, I made up my mind to take dialectology as my long-term research objective.”

During his postgraduate period, Zheng Zixin devoted himself to explore in the field of dialectology. He joined Dr. Xu Binbin's research group on Hokkien Intelligent Speech Dialogue System, in charge of revising the corpus data collected by the team. 

I learnt a lot through this project, no matter in terms of Hokkien expressions, phonological systems or language usage, which laid a solid foundation for my subsequent research,  Zheng Zixin said.

Gradually, Zheng Zixin's research direction shifted from Hokkien phonology to Hokkien grammar. In his view, phonology, grammar and vocabulary all related to each other - We can’t see them isolated.

Zheng Zixin now studies Chinese dialect grammar under the supervision of Prof. Tang Sze-Wing, gaining inspiration and growth through theory learning and peer discussion.

In his freshman year, Zheng Zixin participated in the International Chinese Language Proficiency Competition with his fellows, winning second prize (individual category) and first prize (group category), and later went to Singapore as a representative for the awards ceremony.

I think the mindset is very important. With a relaxed mind, a lot of things will play better.

Zheng Zixin believes that relaxation is the key to life. With a relaxed mindset and an open-minded attitude, he organised many successful events for the Student Council of XMUM Chinese Department together with his peers.

“As the first President of the Student Council, I was actually inexperienced in student activities and had to learn through doing. However, I still miss the time we spent with each other.”

 

Zheng Zixin and his teammates from Student Council, Department of Chinese Studies

Zheng Zixin said that he is a very lucky person, as he has met many good lecturers, classmates and friends at every stage of his life. 

Studying at Xiamen University Malaysia has provided me with a strong academic foundation - The knowledge I learned is still helpful to my current research.

I am also grateful to my friends. I was actually quite lonely on my own in a foreign country, but it was good to have their company. I wouldn't be where I am today without their encouragement.”

At the end of the interview, Zheng Zixin talked about his favourite day at XMUM.

If I could go back to my undergraduate days, I would choose the day of the graduation party and have a good chat with everyone again. I’ll never forget the moment we took photos and sang together - It is our golden time.

 

Zheng Zixin and his degree classmates


(Contributed by Wang Shengjie)

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