Personal profile

Chinese Name



Winnie received her B.A. (double majoring in English Studies and Linguistics) and M.Phil. (in Linguistics) from the University of Hong Kong, and completed her PhD degree (in Linguistics) on two research scholarships from the University of Sydney. Winnie’s research interests lie primarily in semantics and pragmatics, cognitive linguistics, historical linguistics, and functional approaches to comparative grammar. She is particularly interested in the theory of grammaticalization. Winnie is now Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, HKBU.  She is also currently the Programme Director of the English and Education Double Degree Programme.

Research Interests

Winnie specialises in discourse analysis, language change (from a grammaticalization perspective), and the semantic-pragmatic interface. Her work involves the analysis of naturally-occurring conversations in different contexts, including everyday contexts such as family gatherings and chats among friends, as well as institutional contexts like doctor-patient interactions in the medical context and interviewer-interviewee conversations in the work context. Winnie is particularly interested in finding how different linguistic strategies can be deployed for the expression of (dis)alignment in different communicative contexts. Her first monograph Directional Particles in Cantonese: Form, Function, and Grammaticalization (by John Benjamins, 2018) is the first on the Cantonese language that deals with the grammaticalization phenomenon systematically. The book has identified how different grammatical strategies have been grammaticalized from directional verbs to perform various interpersonal functions (e.g. (dis)agreement, mitigation, surprise, etc.). Her second manuscript entitled A Systemic Functional Grammar of Cantonese (by Routledge) will come out in 2022.

In the past few years, Winnie has been training PhD students on doctor-patient interactions in the context of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and online medical communications. Building upon her RGC FDS project entitled “Epistemic modulation and speaker attitude in Cantonese: A discourse-pragmatic perspective” (UGC/FDS16/H07/14), she moved on to analyze the verbal and non-verbal strategies that TCM doctors use to achieve more effective professional communication with their patients in her HKBU FRG project entitled “Exploring the nature of doctor-patient spoken interaction in the context of traditional Chinese medicine: a case study in Hong Kong” (FRG1/17-18/034). Conversational data of medical consultations had been collected from the patients and practitioners of TCM clinics under the School of Chinese Medicine, HKBU. Ultimately, these findings help front-line doctors to tailor and nuance their verbal communication skills in support of any given treatment’s effectiveness thereby increasing patients’ satisfaction.

Winnie is also committed to various knowledge transfer activities. Winnie has been a columnist for MingPao since 2015. In her column, she shares with readers different linguistics concepts and various tips of using English correctly. She organizes speaking workshops for local secondary schools regularly, and has been the adjudicator of the HKFYG English Public Speaking Context since 2017. Winnie serves on the Executive Committee of the Linguistic Society of Hong Kong (LSHK) since 2018, and is a member of the Language Policy Group (LPG).


Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education


Dive into the research topics where Winnie CHOR is active. Topic labels come from the works of this scholar.
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