Tone tone tone – Day 6

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The second conference of the trip, the Psycholinguistic Representation of Tone, was not, unfortunately, nearby our hotel. It was being held at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in the New Territories, about 50 minutes away by train. We had thought to perhaps take the taxi through the tunnel from Hong Kong island to the Kowloon side to minimize the number of transfers. However, we couldn’t seem to find a cab that would take us over. Finally, we managed to find one who spoke better English, who informed us that cabs on the Hong Kong side don’t really go over to the other side (they don’t want to be stuck in traffic coming back through the tunnel). So he dropped us off at the MTR station, and we headed on our way. The journey involved three train transfers, but all of them went fairly efficiently. I appreciated not having to trek very far within the stations to catch the next train, unlike some Tokyo subway stations where I trudged through seemingly miles of tunnels to get to my transfer. When we arrived at the University station, we boarded a shuttle bus to take us up to the conference building. This shuttle proved necessary, as the university, we learned, is built on a small mountain.

Ample signage guided us in to where the conference was being held, and we were soon name-tagged and ready to go. It proved to be a long, but quite rewarding day. The challenge with conferences like these is that they’re single session, so you sit in on all the talks. While informative, it can become a little bit fatiguing. We all presented our posters at the only poster session of the conference, and it seemed to go quite well. I do think that the study I presented in the end benefited more from a talk format (at ICPhS) rather than a poster, as I did spend a lot of my time at the poster session clarifying the experiment setup, which may have been much clearer to follow with powerpoint slides. Nonetheless, the talks in afternoon were interesting, perhaps in large part because they dealt with second language/non-native tone perception and learning. I was even cited by someone, which is always a nice feeling. After the last session, we were quickly shuttled down to the restaurant for the conference dinner.

It was a pleasant evening, in the end–interesting conversation, a few glasses of wine (finally, something other than tea!). I chatted primarily with Yue and someone I met from the University of British Columbia, funnily enough. Jen had expressed an interest in going to the night market again, although we convinced her that lugging around our posters and her heavy backpack would not be conducive for shopping. So we headed back to Wan Chai to have a drink somewhere nearby. Jen started feeling sick, perhaps something she ate, so I ended up having a drink with an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin who had done post-doctoral work at Northwestern. It was nice to relax and unwind after a long day (long week really) of conferencing.

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