This year's conference honored Walt Wolfram for his dedication to his students, the field of linguistics and teaching linguistic awareness to the masses. A festschrift in honor of Shana Poplack was dedicated by her students and colleagues. The last dedication was in honor of Bill Labov, via serenade by conference participants, on the occasion of his non-retirement!
There were many innovative studies presented during the 4-day long conference. Of particular interest to the MSU Sociolinguistics Lab, was the overwhelming number of presentations dedicated to the NCS. These studies ranged in scope from NCS production, attitudes toward the shift and attempts at pinpointing the origin of the NCS. During a panel presentation, Bill Labov introduced some of the current NCS studies being conducted in the field and offered a suggestion that the NCS may be in retraction in some parts of the United States. He concluded his talk with an ominous cliff-hanger: "Is the sun rising or setting on the Northern Cities Shift?”.
The Northern Cities Shift, while interesting, was not the only topic of discussion among NWAVers. Many talks centered around language attitudes, some offered physiological accounts of sociolinguistic phenomenon and a few (including Madeline Shellgren's panel discussion) proposed new techniques for future sociolinguistic analysis.
Ms. Shellgren was among several MSU faculty and students presenting at this year's NWAV. Other presenting Spartans included Dr. Gabriela Alfaraz (Spanish), Dr. Suzanne Evans Wagner (Linguistics), Ashley Hesson (PhD Linguistics) and Dr. Denise Troutman (Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures and Linguistics).
Many thanks to all who attended this year's NWAV. Pictures from the conference can be found in our gallery.
NWAV 44, will be in Toronto next year (October 2015). We hope to represent MSU in full force!