Memorial Conference on the May Fourth Movement Held at Comenius University in Slovakia

[Source]    Confucius Institute at Comenius University in Slovakia [Time]    2019-05-13 16:23:24 

From May 1st to 4th, the Memorial Conference on the May Fourth Movement was held at Comenius University in Slovakia. The conference, co-organized by the Confucius Institute at Comenius University and the Department of East Asian Studies, was attended by about 60 experts and scholars from all over the world specializing in modern Chinese, international Chinese language education, modern and contemporary Chinese literature, and contemporary Chinese thought. Marek MOSKA, General Director of International Cooperation and European Affairs Division at the Ministry of Education, Science, Research, and Sport of Slovakia, Jana Benická, Foreign Director of the Confucius Institute at Comenius University in Slovakia and Head of Department of East Asian Studies at Comenius University, and Wang Ji, Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Slovakia attended the opening ceremony.

Representatives at the opening ceremony

Marek MOSKA said that China and Slovakia already have a 70-year history of friendly exchanges, and the beginning of learning Chinese and Chinese culture in Slovakia can be traced back to the 1950s.He thanked the experts and scholars who attended the meeting from all over the world, and wished this high-level academic event a great success.

Jana Benická thanked the experts and scholars coming from afar and introduced the significance of the May 4th Movement and the research results of Czechoslovakian sinologists. She also highlighted that in May 1989, the famous Slovak Sinologist as well as the Humboldt Prize winner Marian Gaolik initiated the International Symposium to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the May 4th Movement in Smolenice Castle of Bratislava. It is a privilege to have some of the scholars who attended the conference 30 years ago back to Bratislava to share their research results with scholars from all over the world in this conference and to commemorate the centenary of the May 4th Movement.

Jana Benická giving a speech

Marian Gaolik also briefed the guests on the International Symposium in Commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the May 4th Movement. He thanked the Confucius Institute at Comenius University and the Department of East Asian Studies for their concerted efforts, by which the Slovak Sinologist realized his long-cherished wish to hold an international symposium in commemoration of the centenary of the May 4th Movement.

Afterwards, distinguished Slovakian pianist BrankoLadič played the classic “Blue Danube” for the symposium, and the wonderful music added a strong artistic aroma to the academic event.

Piano performance

This symposium also invited four guests to deliver keynote speeches. Liu Danqing, Director of the Institute of Linguistics of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and editor-in-chief of Studies of the Chinese Language, analyzed that some Chinese words and morphemes that have been conventionalized to obtain the meaning of negation and used to express indirect negation have gradually become the common means to express specific negation in Chinese. With the development of Internet buzz words, such words or morphemes are gradually increasing. Liu’s keynote speech focused on the development and evolution of modern Chinese vocabulary.

Liu Danqing giving a keynote speech

Joël Bellassen from the National Institute of Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris, Inspector General of Chinese Language Teaching at the Ministry of Education of France, Vice President of the International Society for Chinese Language Teaching, and President of the European Association for Chinese Teaching, used “The May 4th Movement and the Birth of Curse of Babel Tower in Teaching Chinese as Second Language” as the title and analyzed some chaotic situations of “Babel Tower” in the field of Teaching Chinese as a Second Language. He called for more attention to focusing on the characteristics of Chinese itself in teaching Chinese as a second language and constructing a reasonable and rigorous theory of Chinese education so as to ensure the efficiency of Chinese acquisition and the sustainable development of the subject.

Joël Bellassen giving a keynote speech

Qian Suoqiao, a Lin Yutang research expert at the University of Newcastle in the United Kingdom, takes Lin Yutang, a scholar versed in Chinese and Western learning, as an example to reflect on the fierce anti-traditional cultural trend of thought during the May 4th Movement. He believed that the modern process of Chinese culture needs democracy and science, but it does not necessarily need to vehemently oppose tradition. Traditional culture can be criticized, and reshaped to provide resources for modern culture. It can even contribute to the co-construction of a “new civilization” between the East and the West.

Qian Suoqiao giving a keynote speech

Jeffrey C. Kinkley, a professor of history at St. John’s University in New York, analyzed the historical significance and evolution of the May 4th Movement, and how to interpret the word “May 4th” in a new way.

Jeffrey C. Kinkley giving a keynote speech

After the keynote speech session, there were four parallel sessions on modern Chinese, teaching Chinese as a second language, modern Chinese literature and contemporary Chinese thought respectively, which touched on a variety of core issues in various subjects. For example, some scholars in the group of modern Chinese have reflected on the division of language units into four levels (morphemes, words, phrases, and sentences), arguing that this division is not necessarily in line with the characteristics of Chinese. It is proposed that based on the facts of Chinese, language units can be divided into three levels of morpheme, morpheme group, and sentence. In particular, experts in the panel discussion on teaching Chinese as a second language discussed the specific measures to promote the entry of Chinese into the local national education system, as well as the corresponding syllabus research and development, evaluation system construction, and the scientific connection between the Chinese international education syllabus system developed by China and the European language framework. Joël Bellassen praised the discussion for grasping the core and essence of teaching Chinese as a second language.

Parallel sessions on international Chinese language education

Panel discussion on “The Entry of Chinese into the Local National Education System”

Reporters from the News Agency of the Slovak Republic covered the whole symposium, and local television stations and newspapers also reported on the event.

Story by Ye Rong


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