William Tsun Man Choi 蔡浚文

  • Fellowship in 2018 at University College London

Dr. William Choi is an Assistant Professor of Speech-Language Pathology at The University of Hong Kong. He graduated from The University of Hong Kong with a BSc (First Class Honours, 2014) and PhD (2018) in Speech and Hearing Sciences. On a Fulbright Scholarship, he joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a Fulbright Scholar in 2017-2018. Subsequently, Dr. Choi moved to the University College London as a Croucher Postdoctoral Fellow, with the support of the Croucher Postdoctoral Fellowship.


Dr. Choi's research focuses on suprasegmental speech perception. He actively investigates how language experience shapes the perception of Cantonese tones, English stress, and non-linguistic pitch. In a study published in Cognition, Dr. Choi and his team discovered that Cantonese-English bilinguals perceived English stress more accurately than did native English listeners. This ground-breaking finding bucked the usual assumption that non-native listeners are always disadvantaged compared with native listeners. In a follow-up study, Dr. Choi further examined this Cantonese advantage and identified its behavioral and neurophysiological constraints. Based on collective research, Dr. Choi proposed the Acoustic-Attentional-Contextual hypothesis which has led to a major theoretical advancement in understanding positive transfer in cross-linguistic speech perception.

In addition to bilingualism, Dr. Choi is also interested in exploring the connectivity of music and language. He keenly investigates how musical experience facilitates speech perception, and how language experience enhances music perception. In 2020, Dr. Choi investigated the effect of musical experience on Cantonese tone perception by native English listeners. The study showed that musical experience only facilitated the perception of some—but not all—Cantonese tones. This surprising finding (referred by Dr. Choi as “the selectivity of musical advantage”) informs the need to refine contemporary theories of cross-domain plasticity.

Besides research, Dr. Choi engages in academic and community services. He is an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Psychology, Frontiers in Communication, and Deafness & Education International. He has also served as an external reviewer for the HKSAR government and private funders.


蔡浚文博士的研究專注於超音段語音感知。他積極研究語言經驗如何影響粵語聲調、英語重音和非語言音高感知。在《認知》期刊發表的一項研究中,蔡博士及其團隊發現,粵英雙語人士比英語母語人士更準確地感知英語重音。這一突破性發現打破了「外語人士總比母語人士弱」的迷思。在一項後續研究中,蔡博士進一步研究了這種粵語優勢並發現了其行為和神經層面的限制。基於一系列研究,蔡博士提出了《聲學-注意力-語境假說》,這對於理解跨語言言語感知中的正遷移現象帶來了重大的理論進展。 除了雙語能力,蔡博士還積極研究音樂與語言之間的連繫,尤其是音樂訓練如何促進言語感知,以及語言經驗如何增強音樂感知。2020年,蔡博士研究了音樂訓練如何影響英語人士感知粵語聲調的能力。研究表明,音樂訓練只有助英語人士感知部份粵語聲調。這一令人驚訝的發現(蔡博士稱之為“音樂優勢的選擇性”)有助完善當代跨領域可塑性理論。


Selected publications (重點論文)

Choi, W. (2022). Theorizing positive transfer in cross-linguistic speech perception: The Acoustic-Attentional-Contextual hypothesis. Journal of Phonetics, 91, 101135. doi:10.1016/j.wocn.2022.101135

Choi, W. (2022). What is 'music' in music-to-language transfer? Musical ability but not musicianship supports Cantonese listeners' English stress perception. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 65, 4047-4059. doi:10.1044/2022_JSLHR-22-00175

Choi, W. (2020). The selectivity of musical advantage: Musicians exhibit perceptual advantage for some but not all Cantonese tones. Music Perception, 37(5), 423-434. doi:10.1525/mp.2020.37.5.423

Choi, W., Tong, X, & Samuel, A. G. (2019). Better than native: Tone language experience enhances second language English lexical stress discrimination in Cantonese-English bilinguals. Cognition, 189, 188-192. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2019.04.004

A complete list of his publications can be found on https://www.researchgate.net/profile/William_Choi5

HKU homepage


Selected media coverage

[Croucher Foundation] https://croucherscienceweek.hk/science-insights/cantonese/

[Croucher Foundation] https://croucherscienceweek.hk/hk/science-insights/cantonese/

[HK Economic Journal; 信報] https://www1.hkej.com/dailynews/views/article/1636895/

[HK Economic Times; 經濟日報] https://topick.hket.com/article/1885902/

[Oriental Daily; 東方日報] https://orientaldaily.on.cc/cnt/news/20170821/00176_015.html

[Wen Wei Po; 文匯報] http://paper.wenweipo.com/2017/08/21/YO1708210010.htm

[Ming Pao; 明報] https://happypama.mingpao.com/%e5%90%8d%e4%ba%bakol/%e6%95%99%e8%82%b2%e6%8f%90%e6%a1%88%ef%bc%9a%e5%ad%b8%e7%bf%92%e9%9f%b3%e6%a8%82%e6%9c%89%e5%8a%a9%e5%ad%b8%e7%bf%92%e8%aa%9e%e8%a8%80%e5%97%8e%ef%bc%9f/