SLA meets LVC: Second language acquisition of sociolinguistic variation at SLRF conference

Irina Zaykovskaya (PhD 2019) and Suzanne Evans Wagner are co-convening a colloquium at this week’s Second Language Research Forum (SLRF) conference, hosted by Michigan State University’s Second Language Studies program. The colloquium, held on Friday, September 20th, is titled: Catching interlanguage in action: When SLA meets language variation and changeThe goal is to bring together researchers who study second language acquisition of sociolinguistic variation, using quantitative (and often also qualitative) methods.

Irina’s PhD studies were in the Second Language Studies program, but she took a graduate course in sociolinguistics with Suzanne in 2014, and subsequently decided to take a variationist sociolinguistic approach to her work. Suzanne became her co-advisor, and Irina defended her dissertation (on L2 acquisition of US English vernacular like) in 2019. Researchers like Irina, who work at the interface of SLA and LVC, are still quite rare. SLRF seemed to be a good opportunity to inform other SLA scholars about the insights afforded by LVC approaches. To further support this initiative, Irina has created an online resource hub for people interested in SLA+LVC.

The other panelists include Xiaoshi Li (MSU), Kimberley Geeslin (Indiana University-Bloomington) and Matthew Kanwit (University of Pittsburgh). 

ELAN basics workshop, Sep 11

Screenshot provided by ELAN website.

We’re running a workshop to introduce people to the basics of using ELAN transcription and annotation software. It’s a free, flexible and widely-used tool for creating time-aligned transcriptions of audio and video recordings. You can also add multiple tiers of annotation, which is very helpful for various kinds of linguistic coding. It’s become a standard tool in sociolinguistics. 

If you are affiliated with MSU and you’d like to join us, please use this link to indicate your interest. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, September 11th, 2:15 – 3:45pm in B-125 Wells Hall. The room has Windows computers for your use, or you can bring your own laptop. 

Socio Lab meetings this semester

Thanks to everyone who came to our organizational meeting this morning! We’ve tentatively settled on Wednesdays, 2:10pm – 3:45pm as our regular fall semester 2019 weekly meeting time. Friday afternoons will be our backup time in weeks when we need an additional meeting, or can’t meet on Wednesday.

To keep up to date with our meeting schedule and topics, you can subscribe to our mailing list, and check our calendar.

First fall Socio Lab meeting, 8/28

Interested in what we do in the Sociolinguistics Lab?

Come along to our first meeting of the 2019-2020 year on Wednesday, August 28th, 9am – 10am in B-411 Wells Hall. We’re open to faculty, staff, undergraduate and graduate students with an interest in language and society, language variation and language change. If you can’t come this time, make sure you’re on our Socio Lab mailing list so that you get announcements about future meetings.

Monica Nesbitt dissertation defense

Monica with her advisor, Suzanne Wagner.
Monica with mentor and committee member, Karthik Durvasula.

 

Congratulations to Monica Nesbitt, who successfully defended her doctoral dissertation Changing their minds: The impact of internal social change on local phonology on August 24th.

Monica has been a wonderful contributor to the Sociolinguistics Lab, as a student, lab manager, mentor and collaborator. We’ll all miss her very much. Monica is starting a prestigious three-year postdoctoral fellowship at Dartmouth College, where she’ll be working with Dr. Jim Stanford, who is also a 2007 alumnus of the MSU Linguistics PhD program!

Summer accountability

Summer goals: Our kanban board.

It’s that time of year again. The Socio Lab is hosting a weekly summer accountability meeting for any students or faculty in Linguistics or in programs related to Linguistics. Summer can be a tough time: You think you’ve got tons of time to get things done, but it goes by very quickly, and can feel very isolating. Our group aims to build continuity, community and accountability in a low-pressure way. We lay out our goals for the summer on sticky notes, and watch them move across our kanban board from week to week. It’s fun to hear what other people are working on (we have so many amazingly productive students!) and what non-work goals they have. Last year’s non-work goals included “Catch all the Pokemon” and “Learn to make a really good latte”. This year’s include “KonMari my whole apartment” and “Finally finish making my sister’s Christmas present.” If you’d like to join us, you can find us in B-411 Wells every Thursday, 10am – 11am.

Rural fieldwork on display at MSU undergraduate conference UURAF

On April 5th, undergraduate sociolinguists Jared Kaczor and Travis Coppernoll presented their poster Football, Church and Free Breakfast: Doing Sociolinguistic Research in Rural Communities Around Lansing at the 2019 Michigan State University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF). The project, which has been running since August, focuses on two small communities in a rural part of mid-Michigan. Jared and Travis have been developing an ethnography via trips to football games, church coffee mornings and local cafés. They have just begun to record sociolinguistic interviews with residents. The goal of the project is to compare rural speech with the Sociolinguistics Lab’s existing corpus of urban speech.

Welcoming back Rebecca Roeder

The Linguistics program‘s latest Colloquium speaker was Rebecca Roeder (UNC Charlotte). Roeder graduated with a PhD in Linguistics from MSU in 2006, under the direction of Dennis Preston. Her colloquium talk was titled “The role of PALM in the low back merger: Theory and evidence”. We were lucky to also get some time with Becky in the Sociolinguistics Lab, where we talked about the phonology and sociolinguistics of the Canadian Shift/Third Dialect Shift/Elsewhere Shift/etc, which Becky has been studying in the Canadian context, while we’ve been tracking it here in Michigan.

It was great to have Becky back at Michigan State! 

GLEAMS and NWAV Workshop Summaries

There will be no Sociolinguistics Lab meeting this week, due to GLEAMS (Graduate Linguistics Expo At Michigan State), although all are welcome to attend any and all GLEAMS sessions! A special congratulations goes to Alex Mason and Matt Savage for their talk Style and Attitude: The Social Evaluation of the BET Vowel, which they presented at NWAV earlier this month. If you missed their talk in New York, your chance to see their encore performance is Saturday, November 3, 2018 at 3:55pm in Wells Hall, B-342.

GLEAMS is open to the public, and begins Friday, November 2, 2018 at 1:00pm (Wells Hall B-342)

The next sociolinguistics lab meeting will be on November 9, 2018 at our regular time (2:00pm), where attendees of NWAV 47 Workshops will present synopses of the sessions they attended. Presentations are scheduled to run as follows: 

  • 2:00 – 2:20    Computational sociolinguistics and eye-tracking for sociolinguistics
  • 2:20 – 2:40    Automated, non-invasive phonetic measurements  [demo ISCAN]
  • 2:40 – 3:00    Best Practices in Sociophonetics   [demo Clox]
  • 3:00 – 3:20    Integrating undergrads into corpus studies/data collection
  • 3:20 – 3:30    Plan any future in-house workshops on the above, depending on need/interest

If you didn’t get a chance to attend NWAV, or you attended NWAV, but not any of the workshops, this is your chance to catch up on what you missed!

NWAV 47 Debrief Meeting this Friday!

MSU Sociolinguists had a fun and productive time at NWAV 47 this past weekend at New York University! If you missed out on the party and want to hear about the best talks, posters, and events, or just want to congratulate our presenters, please feel free to attend our annual NWAV Debriefing Meeting this Friday, October 26, 2018 at 2pm in B-411 Wells Hall. All are welcome!


MSU Sociolinguists with Professor Aaron Dinkin of San Diego State University and Professor Chun-Yi Peng of CUNY at NWAV 47 in New York City.