We would like to acknowledge the financial support from the National Medical Research Council (NMRC), the Ministry of Health (MOH), the Ministry of Education (MOE), the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Science, the School of Humanities.

External Grants

Understanding Bilingual Dyslexia:

Identifying Subtypes for Targeted Remediation

Funding Scheme: Academic Research Fund Tier 2, Ministry of Education, Singapore.

Project summary:

Dyslexia is one of the most common forms of specific learning disorders affecting 3% to 7% of the population across the globe. It is marked by significant problems with reading and writing despite normal intelligence. Without proper identification and intervention, a person suffering from dyslexia will continue to be a poor reader. Previous studies have suggested that dyslexia not only varies across individuals, but it also varies across languages. In particular, dyslexic readers of English and Chinese have been found to exhibit different problems related to reading and can benefit from different types of intervention. The diversity of dyslexia makes dyslexia detection and treatment for bilinguals difficult. At present, little is known about dyslexia manifestation in bilinguals. To address this critical gap in the literature, this study will identify and characterise subtypes of dyslexia among English-Chinese bilinguals in Singapore and formulate targeted treatment methods to meet the specific learning needs of each individual.

Duration: 3 years (2021-2024)

Total Funding: S$686,904

PI: Francis C. K. Wong

LMS/SOH/NTU


Co-I: Alice H. D. Chan

LMS/SOH/NTU

Getting Read-y: Optimizing Early Chinese Instruction amidst Language Shift

Funding Scheme: Social Science Research Thematic Grant (SSRTG), Ministry of Education, Singapore.

Project summary:

Project summary: Singapore’s language landscape continues to evolve, particularly seeing the use of Mother Tongue Languages at home rapidly falling among younger Singaporeans. This phenomenon of language shift in the home will likely continue. More and more parents express concern about their children struggling with mother tongue language learning, despite doing well in other areas of school. In line with efforts to adapt to the challenges posed by the language shift, the current SSRTG project investigates early literacy among young Chinese readers in Singapore. Chinese has a writing system which is very different from English and thus presents unique linguistic and cognitive challenges for young bilingual learners. Results of this proposal may also have theoretical and practical implications for research in adult second language acquisition and societies experiencing language shift. For instance, the findings from the project may be used to inform policymakers who are trying to balance the preservation of heritage languages while maintaining proficiency of the dominant working language.

Duration: 3 years (2021-2024)

Total Funding: S$787,729

PI: Alice H. D. Chan

LMS/SOH/NTU


Co-I: Francis C. K. Wong

LMS/SOH/NTU

Predicting reading (dis)ability: advancing early intervention

Funding Scheme: Academic Research Fund Tier 2, Ministry of Education, Singapore.

Project summary:

Reading competency is incredibly important to a child’s development, as it builds a foundation for learning and education. Most tasks measuring predictors of reading ability, however, are complex and therefore only suitable for testing children after a certain age (e.g., four to five years old). Here, we propose a different measure to predict reading (dis)ability: statistical learning, that is, the ability to learn from statistical regularities or patterns in input. Studies have found that statistical learning and reading ability are associated – in other words, the better one is at detecting statistical patterns in input, the better one is at reading. Importantly, statistical learning may be measured in prelingual infants as young as eight months old. We aim to determine whether statistical learning can predict reading ability above and beyond phonological awareness. Building upon this and considering the bilingual education system in Singapore, this project aims to explore the relationship between statistical learning and reading abilities in languages other than English. The findings from this study will contribute to the initial stages of the development of an alternative diagnostic tool which can predict the risk of reading disabilities before a child’s first birthday, and thus will have both educational and clinical implications. This project will also help articulate and publicize the importance of systematic research in the area of reading and writing in the context of Singapore’s bilingual education system.

Duration: 3 years (2020-2023)

Total Funding: S$771,024

PI: Alice H. D. Chan

LMS/SOH/NTU

Audiological rehabilitation for speech perception in noise difficulty

Funding Scheme: National Innovation Challenge on Active and Confident Ageing, National Medical Research Council (NMRC), Ministry of Health, Singapore.

Project summary:

Older adults typically report having difficulty in understanding speech in a noisy environment, such as dining in restaurants and having a conversation with multiple speakers. This speech perception in noise impairment affects older adults in many ways including their social and community participation, mental health, and quality of life.

Our team (linguists at NTU and physicians from TTSH) has received funding from the Ministry of Health (MOH) to conduct a translational research on this age-related speech perception disorders. Our aims are: 1) to better understand the cognitive and neurophysiological bases of speech perception disorders, and 2) to apply scientific principles in developing a speech and language rehabilitation programme for the elderly in Singapore. This project will be conducted in collaboration with the Otorhinolaryngology (Ear-Nose-Throat) clinic in Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

We anticipate that this seed funding from MOH will not only enable us to carry out a clinical trial on the proposed audiological rehabilitation programme but will also allow us to build a foundation to study speech perception disorders across lifespan.

Duration: 4 years (2018-2022)

Total Funding: S$1,183,715.68

Lead PI: Francis C. K. Wong

LMS/SOH/NTU

Internal Grants

2018 - 2021

Co-Investigator

Funding Scheme: Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 1, Ministry of Education, Singapore. (RG71/18)

2017 - 2020

Principal Investigator

Funding Scheme: Ministry of Education Academic Research Fund Tier 1, Ministry of Education, Singapore. (RG72/17)

2016 - 2018

Principal Investigator

Funding Scheme: Incentive Scheme for the Development of Competitive Grant Applications, College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Science, Nanyang Technological University

2014 - 2016

Principal Investigator

Funding Scheme: Incentive Scheme for the Development of Competitive Grant Applications, College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Science, Nanyang Technological University

2013 - 2017

Principal Investigator

Funding Scheme: Start-up Grant, College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Science, Nanyang Technological University