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Rising Stars: Meet Hortensia Barrios!

Dear Readers,

For this week’s Rising Star, we bring you the amazing work of Hortensia Barrios. She is an MA Student in Applied Linguistics at the University of Calgary and has done extensive work for the Living Migration Community Research Project which is a project that has helped to make the first-person narratives of immigrants a more valid source of data for researchers. Earlier this year she carried out 5 different 2-3 day long Digital Storytelling Workshops where she taught participants how to produce a well-crafted digital story about their immigrant experience. This was quite an impressive amount of work since the participants came from 5 very different countries but she didn’t stop there. After running those workshops, she also hosted two Digital Storytelling Festivals where the work produced in those workshops was premiered in-person and online to an audience of over 100. For this work she was selected as a winner of the Innovation in Communication prize for the Innovation Untold 2020 contest. As usual, the list goes on but let’s get to Hortensia’s piece.

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Hortensia Barrios

As a sociolinguist, I see that there is a transformation in the way people use languages to address changes. We are all finding ourselves in a world which we were not trained for – regardless of place of birth, race or preferences. We are all being forced to revisit ways of communicating in societies that have been for a long time multicultural and diverse, but that are now facing significant and rapid changes that include interconnectedness, changes in dynamics of nation-state and other international actors, and more importantly, minorities raising their voice and claiming spaces that for years were seized.

People are becoming more aware and starting to have a better understanding of the significance language has in their day-to-day. Now, we see an increase of people trying to understand and navigate the “new normal” – this also includes parents learning with their kids, getting interested in, or struggling with, their children’s learning journey, reading to them, and engaging in practices that incorporate both linguistic and language awareness. From my perspective, this is a fundamental shift that will change the way future generations use and learn languages and also the way we do research.

Digital Storytelling Workshop

My current research focuses on understanding the ways minorities construct their multiple selves in socio-cultural situations through the instrumentality of language. I do so assisted by digital storytelling workshops in which I guided participants to craft individual digital stories that blend oral narratives with compelling visuals and sounds. Through this data collection method, I created opportunities for research participants to interpret, analyze and document their experiences. The data collected during our meetings is currently being analyzed using critical narrative inquiry.

I plan to continue engaging in collaborative, action-oriented, and creative forms of scholarship. I believe that through innovative practices, we can hold space to hear the voices of minorities, to give them the tools to speak up, and to engage in meaningful conversations that can bring about change to the people and communities we research.

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If you have not yet– please visit our Fund Drive page to learn more about us and why we need your help! The LINGUIST List relies on your generous donations to continue its support of linguists around the world.

Our sincere thanks,
— the LL Team

Fund Drive Lottery Update: Week 3

Beloved LINGUIST Listers,

Another week, Another winner! Each and every week during our annual Fund Drive, we are giving away fantastic prizes, donated by our gracious supporting publishers, to our donors. This is just a small way for us to show our gratitude for your continued support! To enter into this week’s drawing, donate to our fund drive sometime between now and Friday, October 9, at 5:00pm EST. Prizes change each week so check back in each week to see what’s up for grabs.

One donation = one entry into the drawing. To donate, click this link: https://funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate/

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Prizes for the week of Oct. 5 – Oct. 9:

From Cambridge University Press:

(1) A one year, online only subscription to the following journal:

Journal of Linguistics

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-linguistics

2) A copy of the following book:

Freidin | Adventures in English Syntax (https://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/languages-linguistics/applied-linguistics-and-second-language-acquisition/adventures-english-syntax?format=PB)

From Wiley: What Is Sociolinguistics?, 2e – 9781118960745 (https://www.wiley.com/en-us/What+Is+Sociolinguistics%3F%2C+2nd+Edition-p-9781118960745)

From Multilingual Matters: one (1) lucky winner will be able to select a book of their choice.

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If you would like to win one of these prizes, please consider donating to our fund drive. Without donations from our users, LINGUIST List will simply be unable to continue to unite our discipline by facilitating the compilation and dissemination of linguistically-relevant books, journals, reviews, job postings, and conference posting, just to name of few of our numerous services you rely upon. Every little bit helps!

There will be many more great prizes from our supporting publishers in the coming week, so stay tuned to our social media pages to hear about more prizes that you can win. Thanks and good luck!

With gratitude,

– Your LINGUIST List team

Status Update: A New Week

Hello Linguist Listers,

We hope that your weekend went well! We made it past the 15% mark with your help so thank you to all of our contributors. To reach our next goal at 20% we need $1,834. If you can spare the money please donate what you can. Even as little as $5 helps. We depend on your support to fund our graduate students and also to keep our mailing lists running for all of you.

If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should read our new piece from Featured Linguist, Adele Goldberg. Tomorrow we have a new Rising Star in store for you as well. You’ll have to wait to find out who!

Best wishes,
– The LL Team

Featured Linguist: Adele Goldberg

For this week’s featured linguist, we are proud to present Professor Adele Goldberg!

Professor Adele Goldberg

As a kid, my mom always praised me for being logical. Not appreciating how generously mothers view their children, I took this praise very literally and as an undergraduate at U of Penn, I signed up for all of the courses related to logic I could find. I ended up majoring in math and philosophy:  Math, because my parents wanted to ensure I would be employable, and philosophy because I was interested in the philosophy of mind (and because I had a lot of courses in logic).

When I graduated, I had no idea what I wanted to do, and the job market was lousy. If I could only afford it, I just wanted to continue taking classes. This passion, to just be a student, is what led me to graduate school. I was lucky to stumble into UC Berkeley’s Logic and Methodology of Science PhD program which very generously offered me a fellowship despite my rudderlessness. The philosophers in the program were kind and excellent teachers, but the math professors I met in those days were somewhat less skilled at teaching or relating to people. One told us that we should think of him as a fountain of knowledge and then cupped his hands to inform us that we should try to drink the downpour. Another scribbled his lectures on the chalkboard without turning around. I had a sense of not fitting in. Many of the students I began the program with, including all of the women, soon dispersed to other programs on campus.

Perusing the course catalogue in 1987, I found a class by George Lakoff, who had just published Women, Fire, and Dangerous Ideas, which we read and discussed in class. As he pirouetted through topics that crossed linguistics, psychology, cognitive science, math, and philosophy, I was riveted. His enthusiasm for the ideas was palpable. And he seemed pleased to find a potential “convert” from the Logic program.

Transferring to the linguistics program felt like coming home. In my fellow graduate students,  I found kindred spirits. Since we were all expected to take undergraduate classes, the fact that I had virtually no background in linguistics didn’t present much of a problem. I boldly asked the simplest questions “what is the subject in that passive?” which were generously interpreted as deep (“what is a subject?”). Chuck Fillmore and Paul Kay co-taught a course in which they formulated an evolving version of construction grammar. They filled their classes with laughter, a sense of shared curiosity, and a deep appreciation for the richness of language. George Lakoff taught a graduate level “boot camp” where we all learned to come up with examples and counter-examples to formulate and then challenge every idea. He always made time for students, happy to talk shop for hours at the slightest provocation. I was giddy that we were encouraged to take classes in computer science, psychology, cognitive science, and education, with faculty from the same varied departments sharing the narrow halls of a drafty temporary barracks with a dozen of us graduate students.

By sheer luck, I landed a faculty position right after graduating, at UCSD: in a brilliant and eclectic linguistics department with strong ties to the cognitive science department. Luminaries included Liz Bates, Jeff Elman, Marta Kutas, Ron Langacker, and David Perlmutter. It was at UCSD that I learned to appreciate the wealth of evidence for the usage-based approach to language. I also began to take part in the sort of experimental work that I had always felt was important.

I would have happily stayed at UCSD for my entire career, but my husband and I were commuting as he finished his postdoc in the Bay Area. When I interviewed for a new job at UIUC, I attempted to hide my pregnancy under a blousy dress, only later learning that this was entirely unnecessary (and unsuccessful). At UIUC, I found another welcoming community, where I was exposed to new perspectives and new skills. Like UCSD, UIUC had an active cognitive science community at the Beckman Institute, with Kay Bock, Gary Dell, Cindy Fisher, Susan Garnsey, Greg Murphy and Brian Ross. I came to appreciate how to apply the constructionist perspective to learning and processing work, enjoying the thrill of collaborative research.

I’ve come to feel that moving is the best way to grow as a researcher, as day to day interactions with new colleagues have a way of suffusing one’s thinking with new perspectives and ideas. In 2004, we came to Princeton, an hour from where I grew up in Pennsylvania. The cutting-edge work here in experimental methods, neuroscience, and machine learning has convinced me that linguistics needs to embrace the full range of methods at our disposal.

I also now see that there are many unifying themes across newer work in linguistics. The usage-based constructionist perspective offers theoretical grounding for the growing field of sociolinguistics by emphasizing that language is a complex dynamic system with an important social dimension. The approach is also a natural counterpart to the healthy field of laboratory phonology, applied to grammar rather than sound:  both emphasize that generalizations emerge from learned distributions constrained by our general perceptual and cognitive abilities. The impressive strides being made within machine learning provides evidence that language can be learned, while simultaneously making clear that communicative goals are required to shape what it is that we learn.

Thanks to brilliant and committed students and postdocs, I’ve been able to branch out recently into projects on polysemy, second language learning, conceptual metaphor processing, computational linguistics, and language learning in individuals on the Autism spectrum. An appreciation of language’s complexities and nuances provides fertile ground for a panoply of research topics, constrained only by time and resources. As far as these constraints go, I appreciate that I have been immensely lucky.

But linguistics has a lot to offer both academia and our broader communities.  Embracing interdisciplinary efforts and keeping up with rapid changes within the field and beyond, hold the key to its future success.

Thanks for reading and if you want to donate to the LINGUIST List, you can do so here: https://funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate/

All the best,
–the LL Team

The Journey to 20%

Hello Linguist Listers,

We are hoping to reach the 20% mark soon and are currently sitting at 14.29% of our total goal at $5,717. Before we make it to 20%, however, we will have to make it past the 15% checkpoint.
Fortunately, we only need $283 to reach that point so if you haven’t donated yet, please consider doing so to help us get there!

We have another great week of content lined up and are doing our best to keep things running smoothly at a time when online communications are more important than ever.
With your support we intend to not only keep things running smoothly but also to continue making improvements, just as we have done for the last 30 years.
Thank you for your support and for being a part of a great community.

Have a good weekend!

With gratitude,
– The LL Team

A Challenges Update!

Hello Linguist Listers,

We have made it past the 10% mark but we need your help to reach our next milestone at 20%!
We are currently at 13.9% of our total goal so here is a challenge update on who has donated so far.

In the linguistic subfield challenge we have Syntax in first place with a large lead at $825 donated, Sociolinguistics in second place with $690 donated, and just behind them we have Phonology with $635 donated. Rounding out the top 5, we have Pragmatics and General Linguistics with $545 and $475 donated respectively. Will Syntax continue to dominate this race?

As for the University Challenge, we have the University of South Carolina in the top spot with another large lead at $800 donated. In second place, we have Indiana University, Bloomington with $385 donated and in third place we have the University of Surrey with $250 donated. Rounding out the top 5 we have the Hong Kong Baptist University and the National University of Singapore both at $200 donated. Will any challengers be able to overtake the powerful lead that the University of South Carolina has established? We’ll have to wait and see!

Last but not least, in the Region Challenge we have North America in the top spot with 45 donors, Europe in second place with 21 donors, and Asia in third place with 5 donors.

Many thanks to all of you for your continuous support and if you have not yet donated, now is a great time to do so.
Not only will it help us to keep delivering great content to you but it will also help your team to move ahead in the challenges.

With gratitude,
— The LL team

Staff Letter: Lauren Perkins

Hello, fellow linguists!

My name is Lauren Perkins, and I am the student editor for the Calls and Conferences area of The LINGUIST List. It’s my job to make sure that each call for papers or conference announcement is formatted according to our standards and includes all the information that subscribers will need before posting them on our website. I’ve been able to ‘meet’ a few of you via email, and always enjoy interacting with my fellow linguists and helping you advertise your conferences and events.

I feel like I have one of the most fun jobs at LINGUIST List since it allows me a brief peek into the types of research that are going on in our field all over the world. As a relatively new PhD student, it’s really inspiring to have a job that continually exposes me to new languages, new questions, and new avenues of study in linguistics.

As I mentioned, I am beginning my second year in the General Linguistics PhD program at IU. I’m currently interested in syntax, psycholinguistics, and construction grammar. My latest research project concerns the syntactic phenomenon of sluice-stranding (also called ‘swiping’ or ‘swifting’) in English and whether or not it can be viewed as a type of ellipsis. I am interested in ways that we can connect current syntactic theory with developments in neuro- and psycholinguistics and cognitive science, hopefully providing a bridge between the theoretical and the functional.

In my spare time (what little of it I have), I love spending time with my husband, Sam, and our cat, B. We like relaxing at home and drinking tea, or having friends over for game nights. I also enjoy kickboxing, practicing calligraphy and embroidery, and reading novels.

I’m extremely thankful for my job at the LINGUIST List, and thankful for donors like you that make it possible. Not only does working at the LINGUIST List provide a fascinating insight into current linguistics research, as well as flexible hours (imperative for a graduate school schedule), but it also provides me with enormous financial peace of mind. When Sam and I moved to Indiana from Texas last year, we had just taken out a huge loan for my first semester. I had been dreaming of returning to school for my PhD for several years, and Sam fully supported me in that dream, but we knew we couldn’t afford to keep taking out loans like the one we’d just committed to. Thanks to LINGUIST List, I can now complete my program without taking out any more loans, and we are able to start chipping away at past students loans. Our goal is to be debt-free within the next few years, which would have been totally impossible without the LINGUIST List. Since my work can be done remotely, I was also able to continue my work despite the current crisis, which is a privilege I don’t take lightly.

So, I want to thank everyone for supporting the LINGUIST List for the past 30 years! We at LINGUIST List are honored to serve such a wonderful community of linguists, and so thankful for the impact that working at LINGUIST List has had on our academic experiences. We look forward to another 30+ years of service, and we trust that we can continue to rely on our faithful subscribers who make all of our work possible. If you enjoy the resources the LINGUIST List offers and are financially able, please consider donating. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my story, and I look forward to posting your upcoming conferences!

Fund Drive Lottery: Week 2

Admit one to the Fund Drive Lottery

Dear LINGUIST Listers,

In case you missed the announcement last Thursday (https://linguistlist.org/issues/31/31-2893/), we are running another publisher prize giveaway. Each week on Monday, we will announce the prizes to be given away that week. In order to enter your name into the drawing, all you need to do is donate that week before Friday at 5 PM EST. Winners will be randomly selected from the pool of that week’s donors!

Thanks to the generosity of our supporting publishers, we have even more exciting new prizes to announce, meaning even more winners will be selected each week! Below are the prizes up for grabs this week:

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From Multilingual Matters: one (1) lucky winner will be able to select a book of their choice.

From Wiley: English Phonetics and Phonology: An Introduction, 3rd Edition – 978-1-119-53374-0 (https://www.wiley.com/en-us/English+Phonetics+and+Phonology%3A+An+Introduction%2C+3rd+Edition-p-9781119533771)

***AND NEW THIS WEEK***

From Cambridge University Press:

1) A one year, online only subscription to the following journals (one subscription per journal):

Language and Cognition

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/language-and-cognition

Canadian Journal of Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/canadian-journal-of-linguistics-revue-canadienne-de-linguistique

 

2) A copy of the following books:

Tenbrink | Cognitive Discourse Analysis (https://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/languages-linguistics/cognitive-linguistics/cognitive-discourse-analysis-introduction?format=PB)

Filipovic | Bilingualism in Action (https://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/languages-linguistics/applied-linguistics-and-second-language-acquisition/bilingualism-action-theory-and-practice?format=PB)

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Again, to be entered for this week’s drawing, you simply need to donate something to our fund drive. You can donate by following this link:

https://funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate/

There will be many more great prizes from our supporting publishers in the coming week, so stay tuned to our social media pages to hear about more prizes that you can win. Thanks and good luck!

– Your LINGUIST List team

Fun Facts: Into the Archives

Hello LINGUIST List Readers and Subscribers,

In the spirit of our Fund Drive’s 30th anniversary theme, I dived into the archives to learn more about how various linguistic theories have been represented on LINGUIST List over the years. Since my main interest is in syntax, I decided to focus my search on a few syntactic theories. The field of syntax has come a long way in the past thirty years, and LINGUIST List has been there through it all. It would have been interesting to do a thorough timeline of each of these theories and their various developments over the years; but considering time constraints and in the interest of appealing to as many of our syntactician readers as possible, I’ll do a bird’s eye view of the first and last mentions of several syntactic theories.

The first mention of the Minimalist Program on LINGUIST List was on 20 May, 1992, in Discussions, in a comment by Dr. Martin Haspelmath (https://old.linguistlist.org/issues/3/3-417.html). Dr. Haspelmath mentioned Chomsky’s paper, “A minimalist program for linguistic theory,” and we promptly received several requests by readers wanting to know where they could access it. When I searched for this paper, the official citation indicates that it wasn’t officially published by MIT Working Papers until 1993. The most recent mention of Minimalism was 31 August, 2020, in Books, where we announced Extraposition from NP in English by Edward Göbbel (https://old.linguistlist.org/issues/31/31-2695.html).

The first mention of Cognitive Grammar (including Construction Grammar, Functional Grammar, and Discourse-based Grammar) was 1 February, 1991 in FYI’s, announcing International Cognitive Linguistics Association’s journal, “Cognitive Linguistics” (https://old.linguistlist.org/issues/2/2-27.html). Like LINGUIST List, “Cognitive Linguistics” is also celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, having been founded in February 1990 (Congratulations!). The most recent mention of Cognitive Grammar was 24 September, 2020 in Supports, advertising a PhD student researcher position at Ghent University (https://old.linguistlist.org/issues/31/31-2891.html).

Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar, of course, originated in the ‘80’s, and it was quick to appear on the LINGUIST List. The first mention of HPSG was on 4 February, 1991 in a Summer School announcement for the Third European Summer School in Language, Logic and Information, specifically for a class on ‘Topics in Constraint-based syntactic theory’ taught by Dr. Carl Pollard himself (https://old.linguistlist.org/issues/2/2-30.html). The most recent mention of HPSG was 20 April 2020 in Reviews, for a review written by Michael B. Maxwell of the University of Maryland on Endangered Languages and New Technologies (ed. Mari C. Jones) (https://old.linguistlist.org/issues/31/31-1411.html).

Lexical-Functional Grammar first appeared on LINGUIST List on 23 February, 1991 in Discussions, in a comment by Dr. Larry Gorbet, lamenting the “prescriptive metametalinguistics” of those who would criticize names like “Lexical-Functional Grammar” (https://old.linguistlist.org/issues/2/2-49.html). Its most recent mention came on 17 June, 2020 in Conferences, announcing the 25th International Lexical-Functional Grammar Conference, which was hosted via Zoom because of the pandemic (https://old.linguistlist.org/issues/31/31-1997.html).

As we saw from this brief overview, many different syntactic theories have been represented on LINGUIST List over the years, and, in many cases, these theories were being discussed on LINGUIST List extremely early on. We’re very proud of 30 years of helping linguists from all over the world connect for discussion, collaboration, and employment. If this overview has made you nostalgic, you can always go on our own trip down memory lane by visiting our archives (https://old.linguistlist.org/issues/master.cfm). We’d also be interested to hear from readers who were here during the ‘first mentions’ of these theories – is there a theory or an idea that you remember hearing first on LINGUIST List?

Thanks for reading,
– Lauren

If you enjoy our content and want to donate to the LINGUIST List, you can do so here: https://funddrive.linguistlist.org/donate/
Thanks so much for your support,
–the LL Team

Rising Stars: Meet Nick Bednar!

Dear Readers,

This year we will be continuing our Rising Stars Series where we feature up and coming linguists ranging from impactful undergraduates to prolific PhD candidates. These rising stars have been nominated by their mentors for their exceptional interest in linguistics and eager participation in the global community of language researchers.

Selected nominees were asked to share their view of the field of linguistics: what topics they see emerging as important or especially interesting, what role they see the field filling in the coming decades, and how they plan to contribute. We hope you will enjoy the perspectives of these students, who represent the bright future of our field.

Today we present a piece from the outstanding student, Nick Bednar. He is a senior undergraduate at the The Ohio State University who is known for his great work as a research assistant. He has completed multiple research projects with different faculty members including a sociolinguistics project involving eye-tracking and a language acquisition project on child communication. Since he works in a lab within a science museum he has spent many hours doing educational activities about how language works with the museum visitors and is known for doing a fantastic job at this as well. These activities are on top of the fact that he already does great work in his own studies while also being an amazing peer mentor. Nick’s list of accomplishments goes on but let’s get to the piece.

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Nick Bednar

One of the most important emerging topics in language science and linguistics is only adjacent to the field, a consequence of its existence more than a part of its own domain: public outreach and education.

Linguistics is becoming increasingly important to the public and the interests of those otherwise uninvolved. As we continue to develop new ways to interact with technology using natural language, as we continue to challenge the ideas of what language ought to be like, and as we continue to see more modern examples of language contact and change alongside globalization and new avenues of communication, good outreach will cement itself as a primary objective for linguists. Language should be studied for its own sake, of course, and not all future research need concern itself with social issues or the public eye. Yet it will be increasingly difficult to separate this aspect from the field itself. Linguistics can and should find its way into high school classrooms, the conference rooms of policy makers, and into the cultural zeitgeist overall. Not everyone will suddenly become interested in creating syntactic tree diagrams or discussing their language’s phonotactics, but they don’t need to; just creating awareness of the qualities and varieties of language is enough to begin addressing some of these emerging concerns.

In addition to public understanding related to linguistics itself, I also see the scientific study of language becoming a gateway to improving science attitudes, trust, and appreciation in general. Linguistics is inherently interdisciplinary and blended between the concerns of the humanities and the sciences. However, there exists a pervasive assumption that any given subject must fall into one category or the other. Using this middle ground as not an obstacle but a tool can allow us to persuade more individuals into seeing themselves as ‘science people’, and during the ongoing pandemic, this has become a more apparent need than ever.

Though my focus is still on language itself, this side of informal science outreach is just as important to the research I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved with. One of the biggest, most important goals of the lab I work for, The Language Pod here in Ohio, is to spread the love of language and get the public involved with the scientific process. We have the incredible opportunity to be operating within the major science museum in the city of Columbus, with the lab sitting right inside of an exhibit and having glass walls that allow passersby to see the work that we’re doing. Researchers can study language with the museum guests as participants while also performing this public-facing duty. My undergraduate thesis work was designed to sit in this same intermediary space between linguistics and science outreach. Over the past summer, the BLNDIY Citizen Science project worked online alongside everyday people to design a full-fledged language science experiment from start to finish. The public suggested and voted on every step along the way, from creating a research question to experimental design to methods of analysis, and we were lucky enough to work with participants from all over the world. I can’t begin to express how exciting this opportunity and work like this are to me. It’s both gratifying and worthwhile to develop outreach demonstrations, new debriefing methods, and unconventional science education opportunities that can show people how wonderful language science is and how they can be scientists in all kinds of different ways.

There’s much work to be done, but in order to progress the field of linguistics and the perception of scientific work in general, I’m going to take that work up with more than a bit of enthusiasm.

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If you have not yet– please visit our Fund Drive page to learn more about us and why we need your help! The LINGUIST List relies on your generous donations to continue its support of linguists around the world.

Our sincere thanks,
— the LL Team