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James H-Y. Tai is a native of Lukang, Taiwan. He earned a BA degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures from National Taiwan University in 1964, and a Ph.D. degree in Linguistics from Indiana University in the United States in 1970. He taught at Southern Illinois University and Ohio State University for a total of 25 years (1970-1995). In 1995, he was invited to come back to Taiwan to establish the Graduate Institute of Linguistics at National Chung Cheng University and served as its first and second director. He also held positions as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts (1998-2002), Vice President (2009) of the University, and Director of the Humanities and Social Sciences Development Division at the National Science Council (2002-2005). In 2004, he was elected President of the International Association of Chinese Linguistics (IACL). He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Linguistic Society of Taiwan in 2010 and was named an Outstanding Alumnus of the Linguistics Department at Indiana University in 2020.