The Socio Lab is active all summer. Join our mailing list if you'd like to stay in touch with what we're up to. So far, we're meeting at 12 every Wednesday for a round-up of everyone's project activities, to keep us accountable! After that, there's an Inland North discussion group. There will be additional ad hoc meetings as well. Huge thanks to Mohammed, Alex, Matt, and Alichia for helping last week to clean up the lab space, too.
Bethany Dickerson, an undergraduate student who has worked in the Sociolinguistics Lab, was recently featured in an MSU College of Arts and Letters news item. Bethany talks about what brought her to MSU, her experiences as an undergraduate researcher in linguistics, and her outside interests. It's been a pleasure to work with Bethany, and we think she's amazing!
Here are some excerpts:
Dickerson has been involved in undergraduate research since her freshman year, studying broad topics in geology and food nutrition, but mostly focused within the field of linguistics in the language acquisition lab and the sociolinguistics lab.
“I would absolutely recommend getting involved in undergraduate research,” Dickerson said. “If you can use the knowledge you learn in a classroom and apply it to real-life problems, everything seems much more significant.”
Dickerson attributes many of her opportunities for learning outside of the classroom to her instructors and faculty within the linguistics department.
“The graduate students and faculty within my major are so supportive and willing to talk to you about anything, be it about your research or about your stresses of the day,” she said, adding that as a smaller major, linguistics students get to connect with each other and their instructors. “The people within my major have become really important parts of my life.”
Congratulations to Alex Mason, and belated congratulations to Monica Nesbitt, both of whom were granted awards within the last month!
Monica was a recipient of an NWAV 45 Travel Award, which supported her trip to Vancouver, B.C. earlier this month to co-present ongoing research with Alex. Award recipients are also paired with a senior mentor, who is encouraged to maintain a lasting professional relationship with the awardee. Monica's mentor is Kirk Hazen.
Alex has just today been awarded one of three Presidential Honorary Memberships from the American Dialect Society. Each year, ADS members are invited to nominate outstanding students. Alex was nominated by his undergraduate professor Kathryn Remlinger. Alex receives four years of complimentary ADS membership and recognition at the Society's annual luncheon in January.
Please make sure to congratulate Monica and Alex in person if you see them!
Congratulations to these MSU students, faculty and alumni who will be presenting at NWAV 45 in Vancouver later this year!
Current: Gabriela Alfaraz, Xiaoshi Li, Suzanne Evans Wagner, Marisa Brook, Alex Mason, Monica Nesbitt, Xiaomei Wang
Alumni: Minnie Annan, Ashley Hesson, Jim Stanford, Dennis Preston
Last week, the University of Ottawa hosted the third Discourse-Pragmatic Variation and Change (DiPVaC) conference. In addition to some great talks, there was an opportunity for a little lab tourism. Here's MSU's Suzanne Evans Wagner (far right) at the famous University of Ottawa Sociolinguistics Lab, with its director, Shana Poplack (near right). On the far left are Nathalie Dion, the lab director, and Heike Pichler of Newcastle University. Heike is the originator of the DiPVaC conference and the chair of its steering committee.
We're pleased to welcome Marisa Brook, who will be a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Linguistics program in 2016-2017. Marisa joins us from the University of Toronto, where she is completing her dissertation,
Syntactic categories informing variationist analysis: The case of English copy-raising under the supervision of Sali Tagliamonte. Here's a photo from Sali's Twitter feed, showing Toronto students at the recent DiPVaC3 conference in Ottawa. Marisa is the second from the right.
August Jenkins was presented last month with the prestigious Richard Lee Featherstone Endowed Prize. You can read all about August and her prize in this MSU Today story published April 21. To recognize August's incredible achievement, she was included in the platform group at her bachelors degree commencement last week. Congratulations, August! And good luck with your PhD in clinical psychology at Penn State University later this year!
We were happy to meet Linguistics and Languages alumni at the first reunion event, held April 9 in Wells Hall. In the morning, Cara Feldscher, Ai Taniguchi, Patrick Kelly, Alicia Parrish, Ni La Le and the Socio Lab's own Chenchen Xu gave 5-minute "speed talks" on their current research projects. They brought considerable ingenuity to the task of conveying complex ideas in such a short time. Ai explained the semantics of exclamatives using the Red Riding Hood story (What big ears you have!); Patrick compared grammatical illusions to visual illusions like the infamous Internet Dress (blue and black or white and gold?!); and Chenchen showed how contracting syllables in Mandarin makes you sound like a cute girl.
In the afternoon, alums toured the Neurolinguistics Lab and the Sociolinguistics Lab. In the Socio Lab, alums put on headphones and took part in Bethany Dickerson's language attitudes survey, had their vowels measured and displayed, and played British English Potions Mad Libs from our summer Grandparents University session Harry Potter and the Secrets of British English. All in all, it was a great opportunity for us all to share what we do with a wider audience.
Congratulations to these prize-winners!
Congratulations to Xiaomei Wang, who will present her sociolinguistic study of language change in Tianjin, China at NACCL 28 (North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics) in May 2016 at Brigham Young University. Xiaomei has examined changes in tone sandhi patterns in the vernacular speech of Tianjin residents. She has conducted more than 60 sociolinguistic interviews and plans to conduct more this summer.
[Update 3/28/16: Xiaomei will also present this work at the International Association of Chinese Linguistics (IACL) in Beijing this summer!
Who we are
We are faculty and students interested in language variation and change at Michigan State University in the departments of Linguistics & Languages, Romance & Classical Studies, Anthropology, Education and beyond.