We'll have some low-key brownbag lunch meetings through the summer, on Tuesdays
. Here are the first few confirmed speakers:
- May 21 Dr Alan Beretta and Drew Trotter (MSU, Linguistics). Coercion in Icelandic and inter-individual variation.
- May 28 Wil Rankinen (Indiana University, Linguistics). Acoustic analysis of vowels in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
- June 4 > changed to June 11 Joon-Beom Chu (University of Arizona). Lexical register variation in law students' mock trial performances.
- Jul 23 Dr Ann Kronrod (MSU, Advertising and Public Relations) (title updated) Geico and Consig – Combining Phonetics and Embodiment Research to Understand Perceptions of Nonsense Brand Names
- Jul 30 Ai Taniguchi and Yui Totsuka (MSU, Linguistics). Isn't it not cute?: Variation in the interpretation of Japanese double negation with age.
Meetings will last an hour and will take place in the Sociolinguistics Lab, B-411 Wells Hall. Come along and join us!
The MSU Sociolinguistics Lab was represented by seven students this year at UURAF
, the university's annual event for the sharing of undergraduate research.
- "Listener sensitivity to (ing): Insights from a post-task survey": Abbi Diedrich, Shelby O'Brien
- "The effect of college choice on standard speech": Shelby O'Brien, Alyssa Webster, Kelly Christopherson
- "Making linguistics relevant to secondary school students": Heidi Little, James Shaouni
- "Doctor's orders: Use of it is important to/that in pediatrician-patient interactions": Karthik Kovuru
There were also lots of posters from other areas of linguistics, language and speech at this year's event. Thanks to everyone who exhibited a poster or visited our students!
Kelly Christopherson, Alyssa Webster, Shelby O'Brien, Abbi Diedrich and Karthik Kovuru
This Friday, April 5, the Linguistics undergraduate group (qUALMS
) is holding their annual conference, MSULC
. The keynote address will be given by Megan Sutton, a former MSU Linguistics major and current PhD student at the University of Maryland. Students from the Language Acquisition Lab, Sociolinguistics Lab, Speech Lab and from related language/linguistics subdisciplines will give oral presentations and display posters. Sociolinguistics will be represented by these posters:Poster session 1, 1:15-2:15
1. Shelby O'Brien and Abigail Diedrich. "Listener sensitivity to (ing): insights from a post-task survey." Poster session 2, 3:15-4:15
2. Shelby O'Brien, Alyssa Webster & Kelly Christopherson. "The effect of college choice on standard speech."
3. Heidi Little & James Shaouni. "Making linguistics relevant to secondary school students."
MSU Sociolinguistics will be represented at the upcoming UK Language Variation and Change conference (UKLVC 9
) in September. UKLVC is the UK's version of North America's NWAV conference: it's a major destination for scholars of language variation and change. We'll be presenting two papers:
- Referential general extender use across registers in American English speech. (Suzanne Wagner, Ashley Hesson and Heidi Little)
- Individual differences in social competence and attention to detail affect the sociolinguistic monitor. (Suzanne Wagner).
UKLVC 9 will be held at the University of Sheffield in England from September 2 to September 4, 2013.
On Thursday, March 14, Suzanne Wagner gave a talk for the regular University of Pennsylvania Linguistics Speaker Series
. Entitled "What might individual differences tell us about language change across the lifespan?", it reported on some experiments conducted in the MSU Sociolinguistics Lab. These were replications of the "newscaster" experiment of Labov et al (2011). Informants "autistic characteristics" were also measured using the Autism Quotient questionnaire, following Yu (2010) and the Broader Autism Phenotype questionnaire. Certain traits associated with autism, such as elevated attention to detail, appear to facilitate perception of and soci
This morning, Suzanne Wagner
gave a short summary of her work on adolescents' and young adults' use of the -ing suffix. It was a challenge to say it all in just one minute! The Academic Minute
is broadcast by WAMC Northeast Public Radio
, and features a new one-minute talk by a researcher every weekday. Previous talks have included "Hate Speech and Free Speech", "Night Owls and Morning People", "Who Controls the Internet" and "Observing Embryonic Development", among many others. Listen to Suzanne's talk, "Non-standard Speech and Higher Education
Hillel students wait for the lecture.
On February 13, 2013, 43 middle school students and 4 staff visited MSU's campus to attend a lecture on sociolinguistics. The students, from Hillel Day School
in Farmington Hills, MI, are participating in a year-long project on language change as part of their language arts classes. The project is led by Jessica Stempek, who is the co-ordinator for language arts in grades 5 to 8. She is also an alumna of Michigan State. During her years at MSU, Jessica took IAH 231c Roles of Language in Society, which at that time was taught by Dennis Preston
. She loved it so much that she decided to incorporate language change as a focus in her teaching this year! She reached out to local area professors for support, and MSU's Suzanne Wagner
was one of several
(l-r) James Shaouni, Jessica Stempek, Heidi Little, Suzanne Wagner.
With the help of a CAL-URI grant from MSU's College of Arts and Letters, Wagner recruited two undergraduate assistants. James Shaouni
is a Spanish and Education major and Heidi Little is a Linguistics major with a minor in Education. Together, they created classroom materials for Stempek's students, and arranged for the class to visit the class that had inspired Stempek: IAH 231c Roles of Language in Society. Now taught by Suzanne Wagner, the class's focus is on language variation and change across time, space and social groups. On February 13, the topic was language change "from below": language changes that take place without people noticing. These are typically led by groups that are not obviously statusful, but who have local respect. The class looked especially at adolescent peer groups, and their role in propagating change from below. Wagner compared peer groups at Hillel (supplied via an online survey completed by the Hillel students) with peer groups in IAH students' high schools. The Hillel students also reported on the classroom exercises they had completed before arriving at MSU. Later in the spring, Shaouni and Little will travel to Farmington Hills to visit the Hillel students and hear more about their language change projects.
, associate professor of Linguistics at University of Illinois-Chicago, gave a talk on February 31 as part of the MSU Linguistics colloquium series. Cameron's talk was titled "Three Approaches to Age and Aging in Sociolinguistics". He is a co-editor (with Robert Bayley and Ceil Lucas) of the recently published Oxford Handbook of Sociolinguistics
. He is also well-known for his research on variation and change in Puerto-Rican Spanish and the English of Chicago-area children and pre-teens. It was a pleasure to have Richard at MSU!
MSU has sent out a press release on Suzanne Evans Wagner
's work on age grading in late adolescence. The release, titled "Adolescents under pressure to speak 'properly'"
reports on Wagner's finding that high schoolers who plan to attend nationally-oriented colleges (as opposed to regional or local colleges) start adjusting their speech in a more standard direction before graduation. This finding holds even when speakers' social class is controlled for.
Wagner was interviewed on Thursday, December 6th for a local radio news station
, and the story is making its way around internet news outlets.
The second half of fall semester 2012 has been fun and busy. Here are some of the highlights:
- In late October, six students and one faculty member headed to the New Ways of Analyzing Variation 41 (NWAV) conference in Bloomington, IN. This was the second consecutive year in which our group headed to NWAV in the infamous "party van". Bloomington is only 5 hours drive from East Lansing. Fortunately for us, the next few NWAVs will also be within a 5-6 hour drive: Pittsburgh in 2013, Chicago in 2014 and Toronto in 2015. Photos soon!
- The opening keynote speech at NWAV 41 was delivered by well-known sociolinguist and linguistic anthropologist Norma Mendoza-Denton (University of Arizona), with our very own MSU Linguistics PhD candidate Ashley Hesson. The talk was entitled "Where does the sociolinguistic variable start?"
- Suzanne Wagner co-organized a tribute at NWAV 41 to her former PhD advisor Gillian Sankoff (University of Pennsylvania), who recently retired. The speakers included Sali Tagliamonte, David Sankoff, Henrietta Cedergren, Miriam Meyerhoff, Rajend Mesthrie, Anthony Naro, Marta Scherre, Walt Wolfram and William Labov.
- Also in October, Chantal Tetreault, assistant professor of linguistic anthropology at MSU, gave a talk to the MSU Sociolinguistics Lab about her ongoing work with Arab-French teenagers and young people in Paris.
- In November, Maddie Shellgren, a Linguistics PhD student, presented at the American Anthropological Association annual meeting in San Francisco, CA. Maddie's paper was entitled "Beyond Vermont rednecks: What local instantiations of a supra-local identity might tell use about the emergence and maintenance of a global imagined community."
- Two undergraduate students presented their ongoing senior thesis research to the lab. Karthik Kovuru, a pre-med student and linguistics major, is studying the social and linguistic factors that predict doctors' interruptions in consultations. In October he and Ashley Hesson presented work on doctor-patient communication at the American Academy on Communication in Healthcare (AACH) annual meeting in Providence, RI. Heidi Little presented preliminary results of a study of general extenders in the Fisher corpus: transcribed short conversations between strangers on pre-determined topics. Next semester she will work with Suzanne Wagner and Ashley Hesson to compare her findings with their previous analysis of general extender use in conversations among familiars. The comparative study is to be published as a book chapter in 2014.