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6/21-23 25th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-25)

June 21-23, 2013

Organizer contact: William H. Baxter (

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The 25th North American Conference on Chinese Linguistics (NACCL-25) will be held at the University of Michigan June 21–23, 2013. NACCL is the largest annual conference on Chinese linguistics in North American, hosted each year at a different university, and it draws international participation. Invited speakers and panels on selected topics are planned, as well as individual preparations.

6/28 Language and Aging

June 28, 2013
2347 Mason Hall

Organizer contacts: Loraine Obler ( and Deborah Keller-Cohen (

Click here for Workshop website.

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Click here for Workshop website.

Scholars taking different linguistic approaches to study language and aging rarely have an opportunity to talk with each other: those conducting studies of social interaction in aging, those studying social interaction in Alzheimer’s Disease and those conducting studies of language-task abilities that change with aging and/or Alzheimer’s Disease. This workshop brings together scholars who work in these areas to provide an introduction to work in language and aging and to raise unanswered questions. We will consider what language behavior in older adults looks like and how it is impacted by health, cognition and social relations. Methods of analyzing speech, approaches to data collection and implications for intervention will be included.

We will provide a general review of normative changes to language production that have been associated with aging. Interestingly some aspects of language use remain intact as we age while others –such as lexical retrieval and comprehension in non-ideal conditions –are more vulnerable. Asymmetries in language processing are considered in the domains of phonology, the lexicon and syntax.  How dual-task demands affect language production by young and older adults will also be included. In addition we take a look at evidence from bilingual older adults to refine our understanding of language as we age.

Of course changes in language behavior do not occur in isolation from other aspects of behavior such as cognition and health. We look at how the model of the Language in the Aging Brain Laboratory integrates health, brain, and cognitive factors to predict age-related changes in lexical retrieval and sentence processing. Education and hearing will be considered as factors that interact as well.

Language behavior occurs in social contexts so it is important to understand how social engagement and social relations more generally impact language use as we age. For example, beliefs held by others about older adults affect the way the non-old talk to them and how they interpret the speech of adults as they age; we also consider the impact of ageist speech styles on older adults’ language performance. Finally, the nature and complexity of older adults’ social networks as well as the frequency with which they interact with others will be examined since both play a role in maintaining language skills in older age.

A consideration of normal aging processes will be complemented by an examination of the nature of changes resulting from non-normal decline such as Mild-Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease and implications for interventions.

6/28 Variation in the Acquisition of Sound Systems

June 28, 2013
2306 Mason Hall

Organizer contact: Lisa Davidson (

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What is the role of variability in how sound systems are acquired or changed? This workshop examines this topic from a number of different perspectives, including child language acquisition, non-native production and perception, sound change, and phonotactic learning. The workshop will be held on one day, including 5 invited 1 hour talks and a poster session.

Speakers include:
Lisa Davidson (New York University)
Matt Goldrick (Northwestern University)
Bob McMurray (University of Iowa)
Katherine White (University of Waterloo)
Alan Yu (University of Chicago)

This workshop is made possible by the generous support of the Departments of Linguistics at New York University and Northwestern University.

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6/29-30 Diachronic Syntax

June 29-30, 2013
2330 Mason Hall

Organizer contact: David Lightfoot (

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Work on diachronic syntax has developed remarkably over recent decades, primarily through two impetuses: (i) seeking to explain change in I-language through changes in E-language and principles of language acquisition, and (ii) using search mechanisms linked to computerized corpora of partially parsed historical texts.  The workshop will be devoted to exploring these developments.  Both developments link work on sociolinguistic variation with the emergence of new I-languages and this will be an emphasis of the workshop.

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6/29-30 Universality and Variability: New Insights from Genetics

June 29-30, 2013
2353 Mason Hall

Organizer contact: Sarah Graham (

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This two-day workshop is an introduction to the investigation of language from the perspective of human genetics. The workshop will be accessible to students and researchers from all levels and academic backgrounds, and no prior knowledge of genetics is required.

Language is in our DNA: our shared genetic endowment lies at the heart of the universal capacity for language, while the genetic differences between us contribute to the variability in our linguistic abilities. Tracing the connections between genes, brains and language will provide fresh insights into many areas of inquiry within linguistics.For example, how does genetic variation contribute to individual differences in language acquisition and use, and to disorders of speech and language? How could genetic factors help explain the universal constraints and tendencies in language? Have genetic differences between human populations shaped the diversity we observe in the world’s languages today? How can studying the DNA of ancient humans and other species inform the debates on the nature and evolution of our capacity for language? How is language grounded in the brain and ultimately in the genome?

On day one of this workshop, researchers working at the interface of genetics and language will give presentations introducing the principles of molecular genetics, the nature of human genetic similarity and variation, the state-of-the-art methods employed by genetic research into language, the exciting discoveries made so far, and the emerging questions and future research directions.  In addition to providingparticipantswith an overview of thecurrent state of knowledge regarding the role of specific genes in language, these presentations aim toequip participants with the core knowledge to tap into this growing literature, to make a sound evaluation of the role of genetics in their area of interest, andto identifythe potential to integrate genetic investigations into their work. Each presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session coordinated by a linguistics researcher, designed to clarify the material covered, to address myths and misconceptions about genetics, and to stimulate discussion of the ramifications for linguistics.  On day two, researchers from both genetics and linguistics will together lead structured discussion sessions, where participants will be encouraged to put forward their own questions and views on the application of genetic studies to linguistics research.


6/29-30 Workshop on Integrating the Study of African American English into Linguistics Curricula

June 29-30, 2013
2407 Mason Hall

Organizer contact: Sonja Lanehart (

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As institutions of higher learning place more emphasis on undergraduate research and education, there will be a greater demand for undergraduate courses that offer a wide range of experiences for students. General education requirements and integrative education initiatives call for expansion of approaches in undergraduate linguistics courses. In addition to introducing students to content and methods of analysis in the discipline, linguistics courses will also have to provide clear opportunities for students to use critical thinking skills in problem solving and carrying out assignments, address real world problems, and consider issues from multiple perspectives. This workshop focuses on integrating African American English (AAE) into linguistics curricula, moving beyond introducing isolated concepts related to the linguistic system and to the connection between language and society. It focuses on the integration of AAE into linguistics curricula as an entire course as well as a unit in a course from the perspective of three broad goals:

1. To integrate information about AAE with information from “formal” and experimental courses in linguistics
2. To provide explicit opportunities for students to apply critical thinking skills to problems in the study of AAE
3. To extend information about AAE to challenging questions, issues, and real world problems in areas such as “formal” approaches to the study of AAE and language acquisition in AAE-speaking communities and education

Part 1 of the workshop presents a general overview that considers definitions of AAE that are based on information about speakers, “unique” features, varieties of English and other languages, and linguistic systems. In addition myths, attitudes, beliefs, and ideology, as well as discourse and identity and the use of AAE versus appropriation of features are addressed in Part 1 of the workshop. Part 2 of the workshop considers the linguistic system, including current views about variation. Data, problem sets, and sources will be presented, and workshop participants will have the opportunity to develop and work through mini lessons on AAE.

7/01 COSIAC Workshop: Disseminating Research as a Student

Monday, July 1, 2013 7 pm
Room 2306,  Mason Hall
This panel, consisting of Karlos Arregi, Anne Curzan and William Snyder, will be a Q&A that focuses on avenues for disseminating research as a student.

7/06 Maintaining Linguistic Diversity: Supporting Language Programs

July 6, 2013
2330 Mason Hall

Organizer contact: Samantha Disbray (

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In many settings world-wide, schools and community learning spaces are an important site for language maintenance and the maintenance of language diversity. School and community programs are a context in which linguists, in collaboration with language speakers, teachers and education administrators, can play a central role. However, linguists rarely have training or preparation for this sort of work.

In this workshop, participants will first gain an overview language in education programs world-wide, with a focus on the US and Australia, and survey the types and goals of local programs supporting endangered languages. Four sessions will then focus on the practical tasks that linguists carry out, covering:

  • Working with Stakeholders (Communities, Language Activists, Language Speakers, Teachers and Education Authorities) – Protocols, building expertise and collaboration
  • Curriculum and Pedagogy – Culture and language in programs
  • Supporting oracy and literacy teaching and learning in endangered language programs
  • Resource development and production – simple and accessible technologies for poster, book and multi-media production

A final session will be devoted to the participants experiences, insights brought and insights gained through the workshop.


Some recommended reading and viewing:

Hobson, J., K. Lowe, S. Poetsch & M. Walsh (Ed.s). (2010). Re-Awakening Languages: Theory & Practice in the Revitalisation of Australia’s Indigenous Languages. Sydney, Australia: Sydney University Press.

Reyhner , Jon and Louise Lockard (eds.) 2009 Indigenous Language Revitalization Encouragement, Guidance & Lessons Learned. Northern Arizona University.

Cultural Survival Website:

Enduring Voices Website:

Our Mother Tongues Website:

Resource Network for Linguistic Diversity

UNESCO Language and Multilingualism Website & Material on Multilingual Education:   & ‘Education in a Multilingual World’:

About the workshop facilitator

Dr. Samantha Disbray has worked as a linguist supporting Indigenous language workers and teachers in Central Australia for over 10 years. She has worked with the community of Warumungu speakers and documented this endangered language, spoken to the north of Alice Springs (Disbray 2005, 2011). In her PhD project, she documented the Creole language spoken by children of Warumungu heritage (Disbray 2009), and investigated language maintenance strategies in this speech community (Morrison and Disbray 2008). She has been employed by the Northern Territory Department of Education as the regional linguist for Central Australia since 2008, and in this role works with over 20 schools in the region, which run Indigenous Language and Culture Programs in language programs in eight languages. She has also supported the Bilingual Education programs in Central Australia and has written on policy and evaluation of these programs (Disbray, forthcoming).


Some publications by Samantha Disbray

Disbray, S. Forthcoming. Bilingual Education in Warlpiri Schools: An evaluation. To appear in Language Description Informed by Theory (ed) R. Pensalfini, John Benjamins.

Disbray. S (Compiler). 2011. Warumungu Bird Poster, Book and Talking Book. Northern Territory Department of Education and Training, Alice Springs.

Disbray S.  2009. More than one way to catch a frog: A study of children’s discourse in an Australian contact language. PhD Thesis.

Disbray. S (Compiler). 2005. Warumungu Picture Dictionary, IAD Press, Alice  Springs.

Morrison B. Nakamarra and S. Disbray 2008. Warumungu children and language in Tennant Creek. Warra wiltaniappendi = Strengthening languages. Proceedings of the Inaugural    Indigenous Languages Conference (ILC) 2007, Adelaide, Australia (107-111)

7/06 Sociolinguistic and Linguistic Issues Involved in Heritage Languages

July 6, 2013
2407 Mason Hall

Organizer contacts: A.M. Backus (, Pieter Muysken (

See Workshop Description

Workshop on Sociolinguistic and Linguistic Issues

Involved in Heritage Languages

LSA Institute, July 6, 2013

Organizers: Ad Backus and Pieter Muysken

In order to be able to order enough coffee and snacks, and not too much, please send an email to if you aim to take part in the workshop, and do so before Thursday.


9.00     Introduction

9.20       Presenting the planned heritage languages book chapter by chapter + discussion

We are currently writing an introductory textbook on Heritage Languages and want to go through the projected contents with you, in a focus group-like setting. You are, after all, representative of the audience we are writing the book for.

10.40     Coffee and snacks, provided by the Traces of Contact grant to Pieter Muysken of the European Research Council

Presentations (15 minutes plus discussion)

11.10     Sandhya K. Narayanan (University of Michigan). Living in a zone of contact: Linguistic and anthropological directions to investigate the Quechua-Aymara “language boundary”

11.30     Eva Bosch Roura (Universitat de Barcelona). First names and the perception of linguistic identity: an ethnolinguistic analysis of the most popular names in Catalonia in 2008

11.50     Nicholas Emlen (University of Michigan). The circulation of discourse markers in a trilingual Andean-Amazonian community

12.10               Lunch outside

13.30               Belem G. López and Jyotsna Vaid (Texas A&M University). Speed of Translation Verification and Motivations for Code-Switching: Does Language Brokering Make a Difference?

13.50               Tridha Chatterjee and Marlyse Baptista (University of Michigan). Contact effects from English onto Bengali:  The Case of Copular Predicates.

14.10               Chloé Diskin (University College Dublin). Sociolinguistic Issues and Migration in Ireland: A Study of Polish and Chinese Speakers of Irish-English

14.30               Discussion in subgroups

Group discussions, monitored and assisted by us, in which we discuss the issues briefly described below, all of them relevant to the study of Heritage Languages from some perspective. If you have other suggestions for subgroup discussion themes, please email or tell one of us.


Issues for the subgroup discussions:

  1. What is the effect of globalization and cyclic migration in heritage languages and their study?

We have gotten used to the three generations rule, stating that most immigrant communities shift from their ancestral language to their new language in the course of three generations. In modern times, with its easy and cheap possibilities for communication and travel, this may not be the automatic result of immigration anymore. Also, new influences in the languages may travel back and forth.

  1. Compare the position of heritage languages in different countries. What other names are found in the languages of these countries and in the research literature?

The term ‘Heritage Language’ is especially popular in North America. It is unclear to what extent the term is synonymous with approximate equivalents in European and other settings, such as ‘immigrant varieties’, ‘minority languages’ and ‘community languages’. Also remember that names are very interesting, often more than mere labels.

  1. What are the most important cognitive processes involved in the formation of heritage languages as a separate group?

Heritage Languages look different from their ancestral variety, as they have undergone various contact-induced changes. These can take the form of direct foreign influence (lexical borrowing, loan translation, grammatical interference) as well as indirect effects of contact, or of not being in touch with the norms of the homeland or ancestral variety anymore: attrition and imperfect acquisition are terms that have been used for these processes.

  1. What grammatical features of heritage languages can be studied cross linguistically?

For contact linguists, it is of interest to know whether there are aspects of grammar that are particularly vulnerable to outside influence in contact settings, and others that are particularly robust. Is it possible to compare, for example, argument structure, case marking, TAM inflection or word order across heritage languages?

  1. Should heritage languages be treated any differently from the traditional native languages of a specific country?

Heritage languages can be the result of language shift and language loss in immigrant languages or in indigenous minority languages. In terms of creating socio-political support, there seem to be good reasons for supporting indigenous minority languages more than immigrant languages, but to what extent does that hold true?

15.15               Presentation and discussion of the subgroup results

16.00-17.00     Closing discussion


Living in a zone of contact: Linguistic and anthropological directions to investigate the Quechua-Aymara “language boundary”

Sandhya K. Narayanan, University of Michigan

This short presentation will build an argument for future study investigating the socio-historical and linguistic nature of Quechua-Aymara contact. Current literature on the linguistic situation in the Andes has identified Quechua and Aymara speakers co-existing together predominantly in the areas surrounding Lake Titicaca (from the department of Puno, Peru to the department of La Paz, Bolivia); and also extending to the regions north of the department of Potosi, Bolivia. However, the exact nature of Quechua-Aymara contact has not been fully addressed in the linguistic or anthropological literature concerning speakers of both languages within these regions.

In addition to briefly reviewing the literature that provides foundation for this research, this talk will go more specifically into the ways that ethnographic research of Quechua and Aymara speakers surrounding Lake Titicaca can help elucidate the specific social situations that contribute (or could have contributed) to the particular language contact effects that have been noted and hypothesized in the literature. Finally, this talk will hopefully raise questions and general discussion about the current social and linguistic state of speakers living in what is today a trilingual contact zone (Quechua-Aymara-Spanish), which still remains relatively undocumented.


First names and the perception if linguistic identity: an ethnolinguistic analysis of the most popular names in Catalonia in 2008

Eva Bosch Roura, Universitat de Barcelona

Anthroponyms are linguistic items that carry a heavy symbolic load. Thus, a first name links its bearer to a certain ethnolinguistic identity, which is both transmitted and perceived, in part, through this anthroponym. This communication explores the relationships between language, anthroponymy, and identity, to analyse the linguistic ideologies that they may disclose. We do so through ethnolinguistic surveys in which informants where asked to assign a linguistic identity to a speaker only by means of his or her first name. Data shows important differences in the perception that the two main linguistic communities in Catalonia have, not only of their most popular names, but also of linguistic identity itself. The differences are accounted for in terms of the ideologies of authenticity and anonymity.


The circulation of discourse markers in a trilingual Andean-Amazonian community

Nicholas Emlen, University of Michigan
In a small community on the Andean-Amazonian borderland of Southern Peru, Spanish, Quechua, and Matsigenka are spoken. There is significant contact-induced variation among each of the languages, though these effects are unevenly distributed both among the community members and among interactional contexts. In this talk, I will present data on the circulation of discourse-marking strategies among the three languages and discuss some of the social implications of these changes.


Speed of Translation Verification and Motivations for Code-Switching: Does Language Brokering Make a Difference?

Belem G. López and Jyotsna Vaid, Texas A&M University


Language brokering refers to the practice of informal translation prevalent in many immigrant or refugee communities whereby children are called upon to serve as linguistic and cultural intermediaries on behalf of family or community members. Previous work on this topic has primarily addressed sociocultural and psychological correlates of brokering experience, e.g., in relation to parentification, stress, self-efficacy, academic attainment, acculturation, etc. (see Morales & Hanson, 2005, for a review). Research in our lab has sought to extend inquiry into the impact of brokering by exploring long term cognitive, linguistic, and affective repercussions of language brokering experience. Our studies have typically used a quasi-experimental approach in which we compare the performance of proficient bilingual adults with prior brokering experience (“brokers”) with bilinguals without such experience (“non-brokers”).  Tasks we have  studied to date include ambiguity detection, sound segmentation, plausibility judgments, and category exemplar generation (see Vaid & López, in prep.; Vaid, Milliken, López & Rao, 2011). Here we present findings from two additional domains: translation verification and code-switching. In the former case we hypothesized that brokers would be significantly faster than non-brokers at translation verification of idiomatic expressions, reflecting their prior experience as informal translators. In the latter study we hypothesized that brokers might be more likely than non-brokers to report engaging in code-switching for social/interpersonal reasons (e.g., to show solidarity, to make someone feel more comfortable, or to show closeness) than for  expressive or other reasons. Participants in both studies were Spanish-English speakers recruited from a large university in central Texas. In both studies our expectations were confirmed. We suggest that studying heritage language users from the perspective of differences in the extent of prior informal translation experience provides a way of systematically examining psycho- and sociolinguistic repercussions of variation within bilingual communities instead of foregrounding comparisons between bilinguals and monolinguals.


Contact effects from English onto Bengali:  The Case of Copular Predicates

Tridha Chatterjee and Marlyse Baptista, University of Michigan


The presence of the British in India dates back to the early 1600s and ended with Independence in 1947.  Not surprisingly, the English language has had and continues to exert much influence on Indian languages, particularly after British English was established as a language of instruction in Indian schools in the second half of the 19th century. While studies like Kachru (1979) and Bhatia (1982) have examined the influence of English on Hindi, no study has investigated how English has impacted other major languages like Bengali.  The objective of this paper is to fill this gap by examining specific grammatical modules where such influences may be detected.  This study provides a diachronic and synchronic overview of copular predicates in Bengali.

Methodologically, we examined a portion of a Bengali play Nil Darpan published in

1860, prior to the dominance of English in education.  We compared the use of copulas in this play to their use in both monolingual and bilingual speakers of Bengali, based on field work corpora.

We noted the presence of Bengali copulas ach, chilo and thaka in both the play and the speakers in our corpora.  Bengali is SOV and a copula like ach appears sentence-finally:


1.              e               ghɔr-er                    moddhe                 bhut       ach-e

This         house-LOC           inside                      ghost     exist.PRS-3P.PRS

There are ghosts inside this house. (BP)


In addition to the copulas mentioned above, our monolingual and bilingual Bengali corpus data also show evidence of another copula like element hocche ‘be-PRS.PROG-3P’ occurring mostly in equational sentences containing two NPs. The examination of thirty pages of the 1860 play reveals a distribution of 24 equational sentences without the occurrence of any copula whatsoever. All these 24 sentences have the structure ‘NP NP’, as seen in (2). There is not a single occurrence of a ‘NP be NP’ structure in the portion of the play we studied.


2.              Tini                            di:n-er                     rokkhok

2sg.HON                poor-GEN              keeper

He/She  (is) the keeper of the poor.           (BP)


In contrast to the 1860 play, the modern Bengali corpus data reveals 15 occurrences of equational sentences with the ‘NP be NP’ structure.  In modern Bengali the copula in equational sentences is not obligatory but can certainly be overt, as shown in (3).


3.              Tar           baba                        ho-cch-e                                  ei              bisshobiddaloy-er            oddhapok

3sg.GEN  father                   be-PRS.PROG-3P                this         university-GEN                    professor

His/her father is a professor at this university (Thompson 2010)

The occurrence of this copula within NP + NP structure in modern Bengali, which is unattested in the

1860 play shows that this construction is possibly a result of English influence, where the copula is obligatory.  In addition to the fact that this copula can occur, it is important to note that it occupies the same position as the English copula, unlike other Bengali copulas that occur sentence-finally. The

presence and distribution of hocche in modern Bengali combined with its absence from the play may be interpreted as evidence that this construction may be the result of English influence on Bengali, due to longstanding contact between the two language.


Sociolinguistic Issues and Migration in Ireland: A Study of Polish and Chinese Speakers of Irish-English

Chloé Diskin, University College Dublin, Ireland

Taking a sociolinguistic approach to Second Language Acquisition, this presentation examines language variation and change among adult speakers of English as an L2. It looks at Polish and Chinese migrants who came to Dublin during the economic boom years and poses the question whether these migrants, having not been exposed to Irish-English previously, can acquire this variety. If so, which features do they use and why?

It has been shown that the fluency with which a non-native speaker uses discourse-pragmatic markers in the L2 is an indication of their level of integration into the speech community (Sankoff et al. 1997). A relationship between language and ethnicity has been established in works such as D’Arcy (2010).

This presentation will firstly discuss the acquisition and use of discourse-pragmatic markers (like, you know and I mean) and quotatives by L2 speakers of Irish-English. It will discuss the rate, type and function of use of these features as compared to a native speaker sample. Initial analyses have shown that there are marked differences, which may not all be explained by differences in language proficiency.

Secondly, it will examine qualitatively the views of recently-arrived migrants towards Irish-English and aim to ascertain whether acquisition of the variety is viewed as a key aspect of integration. It will also look more generally at the link between language and identity and the participants’ views of transnationalism and cosmopolitanism within a post-industrial migration context.

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7/06-07 Variation and Syntax: Where are we now, and where do we go next?

July 6-7, 2013
2353 Mason Hall

Organizer contact: Jeffrey Parrott (

Click here for workshop website.

See Workshop Description

Alan Munn, Michigan State University
Jeffrey Keith Parrott, University of Copenhagen

Supported by the National Science Foundation BCS-1265444

Invited speakers:
David Adger, Queen Mary, University of London
Leonie Cornips, Meertens Institute, Amsterdam
Bill Haddican, Queens College, City University of New York
Cristina Schmitt, Michigan State University
Jennifer Smith, University of Glasgow
Sali Tagliamonte, University of Toronto

For at least the past two decades there has been a growing interest in the reconciliation of sociolinguistic variation and syntactic theory. These vital fields of inquiry have been estranged virtually since their inception, with longstanding disputes mainly centered on fundamental methodological and theoretical issues. However, recent work (e.g., Adger & Smith 2005; Adger 2006; Adger & Smith 2010; Nevins & Parrott 2010, among others) has demonstrated that variationist empirical methods are indeed well suited for investigating variable phenomena of relevance to syntactic theorizing, and furthermore that independently developing theories of syntax and its interfaces have become sufficiently articulated that plausible mechanisms of intra- and inter-individual variation can be proposed. Thus, the purpose of this workshop is not only to synthesize our current understanding of syntactic variation, but to stimulate future collaborative research beyond the conventional domains of either variationist sociolinguistics or theoretical syntax. For instance, application of both variationist empirical methods and refined theoretical concepts (e.g., Adger 2010; Parrott 2012) to the study of second- or first-language acquisition (e.g., Smith et al. 2007; 2009; Parrott 2009), multi-lingualism or -dialectalism, language/dialect attrition or death, heritage languages or dialects, or other emerging topics increases the potential for unification of an even greater scope. To such ends, the workshop is primarily aimed at students and young researchers and features three invited one-hour lectures and up to fourteen 30-minute talks, along with panel commentary, small group collaboration, and plenty of time allotted for general discussion.

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7/07 African Linguistics Workshop at LSA Summer Institute

July 7, 2013
2330 Mason Hall

Organizer contact: Vicki Carstens (

See Workshop Description

African Linguistics Workshop

2013 LSA Summer Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor


Sunday July 7, 2013

9:00-9:30 The syntax of Wh/Focus extraction in Serer
Nico Baier, University of California Berkeley

9:30-10:00 Parameterizing Case: other evidence from Bantu
Jenneke van der Wal, University of Cambridge

10:00-10:30 The syntax of the linker in Kinande
Patricia Schneider Zioga, California State University at Fullerton

10:30-10:45 Coffee break

10:45-11:15 N-words in disguise: Zulu and Xhosa augmentless nominals
Vicki Carstens & Loyiso Mletshe, University of Missouri & University of the Western Cape



11:15-11:45 On tonal properties of Setswana agreement markers
Irina Monich, University of Connecticut

11:45-12:15 The interaction of number and gender in Katcha nominal classification
Darryl Turner, University of Edinburgh

12:15-1:45 Lunch break

1:45-2:15 Foot structure and tone in Medumba
Kathryn Hannon Franich, University of Chicago

2:15-3:15 PLENARY

Greenberg’s African language classification a half century later: a personal view
Dr. Paul Newman, distinguished professor emeritus, Indiana University

3:15 Coffee break

4:00-4:30 Abstracting over degrees in Yoruba comparison constructions
Anna Howell, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

4:30-5:00 Metalinguistic negation in Dhaasanac
Sumiyo Nishiguchi, Tokyo University of Science

5:00-5:30 Complexity and remoteness in African tense/aspect systems
Robert Botne, Indiana University

5:30-6:00 Specificity and definiteness in Yoruba
Oladipo Ajiboye, University of Lagos

6:00-9:00 Dinner: The Original Cottage Inn

512 E. Williams Street

Reservation under my name/African linguistics workshop


7/07 Examples in Revitalization Fieldwork – Anishinaabemowin in the Great Lakes

July 7, 2013, 10 am – 1 pm
2407 Mason Hall

Organizer contact: Meg Noori (

See Workshop Description

This workshop will focus on the tools and techniques of language revitalization. The workshop will focus on Anishinaabemowin, an endangered North American language.  Used in several provinces and states in the US and Canada, Anishinaabemowin is the heritage language of over 200 native nations.  Although there are numerous dialects, it provides the structural core of language shared by Potawatomi, Ojibwe and Odawa people, also known as the Three Fires Confederacy.  For hundreds of years, the language has been written by traders, translators and teachers.  Despite its widespread history and level of literacy, Anishinaabemowin declined in use during colonization and only recently has the younger generation begun seeking ways to incorporate it into their daily lives.

Fieldwork in Anishinaabemowin requires a strong awareness of dialect similarities and differences as well as generational variance in use and support.  All contacts need to be placed in historical and cultural context in order to maximize the potential use of any linguistic data gathered.  We will talk about phonological, as well as ethnographic data.  We will also look at how to best capture important information while meeting both the linguists’ needs as well as the cultural and curricular needs of the community.

With a particular emphasis on song, ceremony and poetics, we will listen to lyrics from the early 1900s, mid 1900s and the present and attempt to document important linguistic and cultural detail.  Questions for discussion will include: What meta-data is important to gather about recordings?  How can data not volunteered be surmised and respected? What phonological elements vary and how does linguistic and folk representation of sound impact an archive? How can speakers and scholars combine their knowledge of morphological elements?

Lastly, we will talk about the politics of representation and preservation and explore some of the ways Anishinaabemowin is archived at the University of Michigan in Deep Blue, the Bentley Library, in linguistics and language curriculum and on and Facebook.

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7/08 COSIAC Workshop: Professional Development with Anna Marie Trester (Georgetown University)

Monday, July 8, 2013 7 pm
Room 2306, Mason Hall

Whither Linguistics: Oh The Places You’ll Go!

This interactive workshop looks at career exploration through a linguistic lens. I begin by sharing career paths of linguists, then – turning to the series of texts and interactions which comprise job searching – I demonstrate how a linguist’s eye is invaluable in navigating these highly textual genres and in presenting oneself professionally.

Three core linguistic ideas covered:

1) enacting a deictic shift from that of student to professional, moving from focusing on why you want/need a particular job to thinking about why THEY want/need you. 

2) deconstructing some of the unproductive metaphors and framing which shape thinking about the job hunt, and the notion of a perfect job

3) adopting a narrative approach

The goal of the workshop is to increase students’ awareness of how language – especially narrative – works in various sectors of the work force and helps job seekers better connect with their audiences.

7/12 Universality and Empirical Validity in Pragmatics

July 12, 2013
2353 Mason Hall

Organizer contact: Marina Terkourafi (

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Marina Terkourafi* (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign),

Philippe De Brabanter (UniversitéLibre de Bruxelles) and

Yoshiko Matsumoto (Stanford University)

*Primary workshop contact; email:


In a recent article (“The weirdest people in the world?” Behavioral and Brain Sciences 33 (2010), 61–135), Henrich, Heine and Norenzayan argued that a disproportionate amount of behavioral research is conducted using subjects from Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic (WEIRD) populations, who are frequent outliers even within their own societies and not representative of humanity at large. This is said to seriously undercut the generalizability of the conclusions reached based on the behavior of these subjects and the universality of the theoretical explanations ultimately proposed. This workshop will address the implications of these claims for the field of linguistic pragmatics. Linguistic pragmatics is especially interesting in this regard because, although it is a field where socio-cultural variability is prevalent, it is also one where universalist frameworks have often endured despite frequent and early criticism of cultural bias (two well-known examples are E. O. Keenan’s (1978) critique of Grice’s maxims based on her fieldwork in Madagascar and M. Rosaldo’s (1982) critique of Searle’s speech act theory based on her research among the Ilongot).Our aim is to bring together experts working on different pragmatic phenomena (including but not limited to: implicature, deixis, presupposition, reference resolution, speech acts, conversational structure, and information structure), to address a set of related questions such as:


  • In your view, has research in your area of pragmatics been limited by a bias toward WEIRD populations of researchers and populations studied?
  • If so, how has this bias affected the topics studied and the conclusions reached?
  • What phenomena, if any, have been left out in your particular area of pragmatics, and, conversely, when non-WEIRD populations have been studied, what (new) phenomena have potentially been discovered?
  • If a bias is indeed present, how do you think it could be methodologically and institutionally addressed?


We find these questions to be extremely topical for the discipline at large, as new paradigms such as Experimental Pragmatics are becoming increasingly popular. While those paradigms may themselves be prone to the above limitations, it is precisely empirical work along these lines that could also begin to address them — and may even be said to have begun to do so to a small extent, by deliberately focusing on, among others, subjects with neuro-developmental disorders (notably Autism Spectrum Disorders), and the pragmatics of sign languages.

7/12 Universality and Variability in Segment-Prosody Interactions

July 12, 2013
2407 Mason Hall

Organizer contact: Marzena Żygis (

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Christine Mooshammer (USC, Los Angeles,
Stefanie Shattuck-Hufnagel (MIT, sshuf@MIT.EDU)
Marzena Żygis (Centre for General Linguistics (ZAS) & Humboldt University, Berlin,

Several studies on universals in phonology and phonetics pertain either to segmentals (e.g. sound frequencies, gaps in inventories, preferences for certain cluster types) or supra-segmentals (e.g. preferences in stress and intonational patterns). In recent years, accumulating evidence has suggested that language-specific interactions between the two levels can induce systematic temporal and qualitative variability on the segmental level. For example, most sounds lengthen substantially following a phrase boundary, but there are exceptions such as the sibilants; lax vowels do not lengthen under stress; and glottal stop insertion also depends on the quality of the following vowel. This workshop is aimed at gaining more insight into the interdependence of the segmental and prosodic levels from a cross-linguistic perspective. Papers which deal with the following questions are of particular importance:

(i) What patterns of segmental and supra-segmental interactions are found cross-linguistically?

(ii) How does metrical structure influence segments, phonotactics and phonological processes?

(iii) What principles govern segment-specific variation due to prosodic effects, e.g. localized hyper articulation, feature enhancement, syntagmatic dissimilation or prominence enhancement?

(iv) Why do some segments or larger units resist the more global prosodic variations, e.g. in order to maintain a contrast?

(v) How do different models deal with the segmental-prosodic variation, e.g. Exemplar Theory (Pierrehumbert 2001), pi-gesture model (Byrd & Saltzmann 2003), (bidirectional) OT (Boersma 1998) and others?

Invited speakers:
Laura Dilley, Michigan State University
Paul de Lacy, Rutgers University
Jelena Krivokapic, Haskins Labs



7/13-14 Globalization and the End of Linguistic Diversity: Historical, Legal and Sociolinguistic Aspects of Cultural Genocide

July 13-14, 2013
2353 Mason Hall

Organizer contact: Viola Miglio (

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UNESCO considers the loss of cultural and linguistic diversity as serious a danger for future generations as the loss of bio-­diversity is for nature (2003, 8). The rate of language extinction has increased enormously over the past 200 years, and even more since the middle of the past century (Krauss 2007, Salminen 1993). Globalization is seen as the loss of relevance of national borders, especially through technical means, as such it can be seen as promoting intercultural contact. Globalization, however, also entails the support of first world economies, through the efficient export of goods from industrialized countries and the management of cultural diversity in terms of potential markets for the consumption of those goods -­‐ thus a ‘global culture’ means in fact a culture of consumption (Banerjee & Linstead 2001). As such, it is a threat to cultural and linguistic diversity and it can accelerate language attrition and death.

This workshop aims at examining the social, historical, political factors and legal practices that have led to the attrition and endangerment of a number of languages in Europe and other parts of the world. The situation of Basque, Breton, Friulian, and Gallo-­‐Italic languages will be analyzed in depth, highlighting the combined effect of language policy on the demographic, and socio-­‐cultural development of these language communities over the past 200 years. Part of the workshop will be devoted to studying policies and practices aimed at reversing language attrition, and comparing the European cases with Canada and the USA.

The legal history of linguistic rights shows that while the right to speak and receive an education in one’s own language has been recognized since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations (1948), the everyday reality of such a basic human right varies widely from country to country, or even within countries. Particularly striking, moreover, is the fact that despite the variability inherent in the socio-­‐cultural conditions of different linguistic communities, the legal instruments of repression, the philosophical arguments that support it and the practices of marginalization that lead to ‘cultural genocide’ are very similar regardless of the time and place where they are applied. So are their sinister results.

These similarities arise out of the recognition that language is one of the supporting pillars of ethnic and cultural identity: by analyzing the role of language in this context, this workshop also conceives of ‘the study of language as a central component of human cultures, social action and perception,’ a theme highlighted by the 2013 LSA Institute.



Banerjee, S. B. and S. Linstead. 2001. Globalization, Multiculturalism, and Other Fictions: Colonialism for the New Millenium? Organization, vol. 8(4):683-­722.

Krauss, M. E. 2007. “Keynote -­‐ Mass Language Extinction and Documentation: The Race Against Time”. In Miyaoka, O., O. Sakiyama, and M. E. Krauss (eds.). The Vanishing Languages of the Pacific Rim. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 3–24.  

Salminen, T. 1993-­‐9. UNESCO Red Book on Endangered Languages: Europe.

UNESCO 2003 Cultural and Linguistic Diversity in the Information Society (CI-­‐2003/WS/7)

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7/13-14 Patterns of Alignment in the Indo-Iranian Languages: Towards a Typology

July 13-14, 2013
2336 Mason Hall

Organizer contacts: Andrew Hippisley (, Greg Stump (

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In their early history, the Iranian and Indic languages developed split-ergative alignment, independently but in parallel. The languages in both branches vary widely with respect to both (a) their degree of reversion to accusative alignment and (b) the trajectories that they have followed in this reversion. The objectives of this workshop is to establish a typology of paths from split ergativity to full accusativity and to identify parallels and contrasts between Indic and Iranian languages.


Invited speakers
Ashwini Deo (Yale University)
The emergence of accusative objects in New Indo-Aryan ergative clauses.

Geoffrey Haig (University of Bamberg)   
Alignment change in Iranian: what happened to agreement?

Andrew Hippisley & Greg Stump (University of Kentucky)
The morphomics of split-ergativity in Indo-Iranian

Paul Kiparsky (Stanford University)
Ranking volume predicts directionality: an OT-based theory of syntactic drift

Agnes Korn (Universität Frankfurt)
Patterns of ergativity and differential object marking in Iranian

Annie Montaut (Institut National des Langues et Civilisations Orientales, Paris)
From the parallel constructions for past and modal future to the meaning of the ergative case markers

John Payne (University of Manchester)
Alignment and coordination in Iranian

Pollet Samvelian (Université de Paris 3 – Sorbonne Nouvelle)
Clitics and alignment in Iranian languages

Saartje Verbeke (Universiteit Gent)
Alternating argument constructions in Indo-Aryan: Case studies from Nepali and Kashmiri

Deadline for abstract submission is February 1, 2013. Abstracts should be sent to both and


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7/13-14 Workshop on Interfaces at the Left Periphery

July 13-14, 2013
2330 Mason Hall

Organizer contacts: Ed Cormany ( (primary), Sarah Courtney (, Cara DiGirolamo (

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Since Rizzi’s (1997) original syntactic exploration of the sentential left periphery, the complexity of the domain at a clause’s edge has received attention from linguists studying syntax, semantics and prosody. However, study of the cross-linguistic variety in clause boundaries, clause typing, and the information-structural use of peripheral positions has only scratched the surface. This workshop seeks to bring together linguists working on the “left edge” of the sentence from a variety of theoretical backgrounds. We hope to facilitate dialogue between discourse theorists, semanticists, syntacticians, phonologists, and phoneticians to come to a better understanding of what is going on just above (syntactically) or just before (phonologically) the traditional IP domain. Topics that the workshop will cover include but are not limited to: clause typing, complementation, discourse constraints on argument structure, information structure, and word order change as they pertain to the left periphery, sentence-initial positions, and the CP domain.

We will solicit applications to fill three panels. Panels on any aspect of clause boundaries or the left periphery not covered in the invited panels — particularly sessions on prosodic and phonological interfaces — are welcome. Research on understudied languages or languages that have not traditionally been part of the left periphery literature are encouraged. Submissions from graduate students or recent Ph.D. recipients are especially welcome.  Full panel submissions, including presenters and a chairperson, will be accepted in early spring.
The organizers will invite speakers for another three panels, each of which address different aspects of the left periphery.

The first invited panel will center on clause types and the syntax/semantics/pragmatics interface at the left periphery. The panel will bring together researchers working on semantic interpretations at the highest level of the clause, focusing on questions, imperatives, and the distinction between matrix and subordinate clauses.

The second invited panel will focus on the discourse properties of the periphery. This panel will seek out research on the contextual and information-structural constraints on phrases that are displaced from their base positions into the left periphery, as well as research about peripheral discourse particles that perform clause-linking functions.

The third invited panel examines clause boundaries and peripheries from a diachronic perspective. The panel will present research dealing with the roles that information structure and leftward displacement of arguments play in word-order changes (e.g., the development and loss of V2 constructions).

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7/14 How the Brain Accommodates Variability in Linguistic Representations

July 14, 2013
Aud C, Angell Hall

Organizer Contact: T. Florian Jaeger (

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7/15 COSIAC Workshop: Women in Graduate Programs in Linguistics (with COSWL)

Monday, July 15, 2013 7 pm
Room 2306, Mason Hall

COSWL (Committee on the Status of Women in Linguistics) will discuss the resources offered available to women in graduate linguistics programs.