Prof Brian Hok-Shing CHAN

Prof Brian Hok-Shing CHAN

Associate Professor
(853) 8822 8259

Consultation Hours
Mondays & Thursdays 15:00-16:00

Or by appointment via


He obtained his MA in English Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong and his PhD in Linguistics at University College London.

Research Interests

Brian’s research has focused on the syntax of bilingual code-switching (Chan 2003, 2008, 2009b), but he has also worked on the pragmatics of code-switching (Chan 2004) and developed an interest in code-switching in pop music (Chan 2009a). His work on syntax concerns the ways in which cross-linguistic patterns of code-switching shed new light on current syntactic theories and the architecture of the grammar. In the area of discourse and pragmatics, Brian has been interested in the functions of code-switching in macro-sociolinguistic contexts (e.g. Hong Kong, Macau, etc.) as well as generic ones (pop song, radio, etc.). In addition to code-switching, Brian has recently done some work on Hong Kong English and sentence-final particles in Cantonese.

Brian would be interested in supervising MA dissertations in the area of bilingualism or code-switching.

Courses Regularly Taught

At the University of Macau, Brian mainly teaches courses of Bilingualism for BA and MA students, which he first developed as a visiting lecturer of CUHK before coming to Macau. These courses cover various aspects of bilingualism, from sociolinguistic description of bilingual communities to psycholinguistic models of the bilingual brain, from bilingual discourse in various registers/genres to the syntax of code-switching, and from second language acquisition to bilingual language acquisition, drawing on research and data in the Chinese/ Cantonese-English context.


Brian Chan joined the University of Macau in 2004 and holds an associate professorship.

Professional Experience

His thesis is entitled ‘Aspects of the Syntax, Production and Pragmatics of Code-switching-with special reference to Cantonese and English’, a revised version of which was published subsequently (Chan 2003). Having been trained in theoretical linguistics as a student, Brian was also exposed to applied linguistics, partly due to his research topic, namely, code-switching, which has been analyzed primarily in the perspectives of sociolinguistics and discourse analysis, and partly due to his work as a lecturer in the English Departments of the City University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Selected Publications
  • Chan, Brian, Hok-Shing (2018). Single-word prepositions in Hong Kong Cantonese: A cognitive and constructionist approach. Chinese Language and Discourse 9(1): 47-77. [Scopus and ESCI-indexed]
  • Zhang, Hong and Chan, Brian, Hok-Shing (2017a). The shaping of a multilingual landscape by shop names: Tradition versus modernity. Language and Intercultural Communication 17(1): 26-44. [SSCI-indexed]
  • Zhang, Hong and Chan, Brian, Hok-Shing (2017b). Multilingual posters in Macau: Fixed Multilingualism meets separate multilingualism. International Journal of Bilingualism 21(1): 34-56. [SSCI-indexed] doi:10.1177/1367006915594691


  • Chan, Brian Hok-Shing. (2015a). A diachronic-functional approach to explaining grammatical patterns in code-switching: Postmodification in Cantonese-English noun phrases. International Journal of Bilingualism 19: 17-39. [SSCI-indexed] doi: 10.1177/1367006913477921


  • Chan, Brian Hok-Shing. (2015b). A local voice of Macau: Traditional Characters, code-switching and Written Cantonese in an internet forum. Global Chinese 1(2): 281-310. DOI:,


  • Chan, Brian Hok-Shing. (2015c). Portmanteau Constructions, Phrase Structure, and Linearization. Frontiers in Psychology 6:1851. [SSCI-indexed] doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01851


  • Chan, Brian, Hok-Shing (2013). Sentence-final particles, complementizers, Antisymmetry and the Final-over-Final Constraint. In Theresa Biberauer and Michelle Sheehan (eds.), Theoretical Approaches to Disharmonic Word Order, p.445-468. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


  • Chan, Brian, Hok-Shing (2012). English in Hong Kong Cantopop: Code-switching, pop culture and the local identity of Hong Kong Chinese. In Jamie Lee and Andrew Moody (eds.) English in Asian Popular Culture, p. 35-57. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.


  • Setter, Jane, Wong, Cathy S-P., and Chan, Brian, Hok-Shing (2010). Hong Kong English. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.


  • Chan, Brian, Hok-Shing (2009a). English in Hong Kong Cantopop: Language choice, code-switching and genre. World Englishes 28(1): 107–129. [SSCI-indexed] DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-971X.2008.01572.x


  • Chan, Brian, Hok-Shing (2009b). Code-Switching with Typologically Distinct Languages. In B. E. Bullock and A. J. Toribio (eds.) The Cambridge Handbook of Linguistic Code-Switching, p. 182–198. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.



  • Chan, Brian, Hok-Shing (2004). Beyond contextualization: Code-switching as a textualization cue. Journal of Language and Social Psychology 23(1), 7–27. [SSCI-indexed]


  • Chan, Brian, Hok-Shing (2003). Aspects of the Syntax, the Pragmatics and the Production of Code-switching: Cantonese and English. New York: Peter Lang.