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Chaoqun Lian

Chaoqun Lian

PhD student, Middle Eastern Studies

Subject groups/Research projects

Arabic & Persian Studies:

Research Interests

Research Interests
  • Sociology of language vis-à-vis the Arabic language and the Arabic-speaking world, especially Arabic language planning and language policy (LPLP) in the twentieth century.

  • History of ideas on the Arabic language, especially the interaction between modern Western linguistics and Arabic grammatical and lexicographical tradition.

  • Contemporary cultural and political discourse in the Arabic-speaking world.

Current Research

My PhD research examines the discourse of the Arabic language academies in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco and Jordan in order to understand general trends and movements of Arabic LPLP in relation to nationalism, postcoloniality and modernisation in the twentieth-century Arabic-speaking world. I will explain how three levels of LPLP, symbolic, status and corpus planning, are inter-connected discursively, and how academic- and folk-linguistic discourses meet each other when these language academies deal with issues of language standardisation, Arabisation and modernisation respectively. I will also compare Arabic and Chinese LPLP discourses to contextualise and evaluate Arabic LPLP against the worldwide movement of LPLP in the twentieth century.

Other Professional Activities

Conference and Seminar Papers

May 2012, ‘The Discourse of Arabic Language Academies on Arabisation’, University of Cambridge – Peking University Joint Conference on Arabic Studies, Peking University.

Nov 2011, ‘The Discourse of Arabic Language Academies on Diglossia’, Graduate Work-in-progress Seminar, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge.

January 2011, Invited Speaker in the Round Table Discussion on the First Gulf War, Association of Cambridge Studies.

Jun 2010, ‘Language Management of the Cairo Arabic Academy’, Graduate Work-in-progress Seminar, Department of Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cambridge.


Key Publications


Academic articles

2012, ‘Historical Narrative of the Cairo Arabic Academy and the Development of the Modernisation Concept in Egypt’ (in Chinese) in Islamic Culture 5, Gansu: Gansu People’s Publisher.

Press articles

2012, ‘Arabic and the Arab Mentality’ (in Chinese) in Boao Review 1.

2011, ‘How did the “Arab Spring” Begin? A Reading of Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion across the Islamic World’ (in Chinese) in China Reform 337.

2011, ‘Changing and Unchanging Aspects of Obama’s Middle Eastern Policy’ (in Chinese) inChina Reform 332.

2011, ‘Yemen’s Fragile Regime and Distorted Revolution’ (in Chinese) in Time-Weekly 157.

2011, ‘The Death of Laden and the Arab World’ (in Chinese) in Time-Weekly 128.

2011, ‘The Crisis of Al-Jazeera: Public Opinion and Objectivity’ (in Chinese) in Time-Weekly 120.

2011, ‘Why did Arab Revolutions Come One after Another?’ (in Chinese) in Century Weekly 440.