Paying homage to the NYT “On Language” Column

It’s certainly worth following the “On Language” Column in the New York Times, particularly if you have an interest in words: etymologies, neologisms, political coinage, etc. I like the column better now that Ben Zimmer writes it; this week is a good example of why. In his discussion of the pronunciation of “homage,” he does a good job of providing both a historical context and a view of the variable pronunciations of the word. As a variationist, I love reading about variation! Check it out. How do you pronounce homage?

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LSA 2012 Meeting in PDX!

Great news! The 86th Annual Meeting of the LSA will take place at the Hilton Portland & Executive Tower from 5-8 January, 2012.  Stay tuned to the LSA website for information on abstract submission and other news.
This is a terrific opportunity for Linguistics majors and others to attend a Linguistics conference. You should also considering submitting an abstract and presenting a paper – a TERRIFIC experience generally and particularly for those interested in continuing on to higher education in Linguistics.

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Apply to attend the LSA Summer Institute – Fellowship Deadline Feb. 4

The LSA’s 2011 Linguistic Institute will take place at the University of Colorado at Boulder from July 7 through August 2, 2011.  More information about this premier gathering of linguistics scholars and students is available on the LSA website. Student fellowship applications for the Institute may be submitted online through February 4, 2011.  Individuals must be student members of the LSA in order to apply for a fellowship.  To apply for a fellowship, student members should log in to the LSA website and click on the “Submit or Resume a Fellowship Application” link. 

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Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) at University of Michigan

Apply by February 15 for this intensive summer program designed to prepare undergraduates for graduate study through intensive research experiences with faculty mentors and enrichment activities.

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Dark Skies Out on DVD

Those of us at the Linguistics Department Holiday party were lucky enough to attend a screening of the 1990s television show Dark Skies, a sci-fi drama featuring an alien language developed by Matt Pearson. And now the complete series is out on DVD! Get it today.

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Sit. Stay. Parse.

Here’s the newest news piece addressing the age-old language vs. communication question. Do animals possess language, or are they just good, to varying degrees, at communicating with each other? Bees dance, birds sing, primates sign. What does it all mean??

From a standpoint of linguistics, we need more evidence that animal communication possesses what we consider the unique properties of human language, like recursivity, productivity, and segmentation. New research like we see here about Chaser the border collie does contribute to what we know about language (read: human language), but a word of caution. As the article says: “The experiment’s relevance to language is likely to be a matter of dispute.”

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Andrew Cuomo’s New York accent: An act of political identification?

Check out this short piece on Andrew Cuomo, New York State’s newly-elected governor. I was interviewed for this article, and as you can see my quotes seem to indicate that I think Mr. Cuomo is targeting a particular audience with his accent. In fact, what I told the reporter is that we all adjust the way we speak (accommodate) depending on our audience. While it may at first seem surprising that a politician has a fairly strong accent (as Cuomo does – classic NYC), I mentioned that he most probably finds it valuable to sound like a New Yorker being a New York politician. I don’t see this as conscious or manipulative, but rather a common fact of linguistic usage.
Also: I don’t buy the korea/caree(r) bit! There’s no data beyond anecdote to support it. I also don’t think there are borough accents in NYCE, but stayed tuned for some data on that!

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Call for Papers: GLEEFUL

Great
Lakes Expo for Experimental and Formal Undergraduate Linguistics
, April 23, 2011

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Linguistics Department Holiday Party

A fun time was had by all at the home of our host and department chair, Matt Pearson.


A very happy holidays from our White Elephant/Mean Santa participants! From left: Svitlanal Antonyuk-Yudina, me with THE BEST PRESENT EVER; Anna Seymour,  Sam Seagaard, Jenny Calvert-Warren, Makenzie Barron, Tovee Rowley, Katherine Wu, Ruth Linehan, and Nina Umont

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