Friday, February 27, 2009

Lexicalization of the Quotative be + like and Non-Traditional Speech Communities

Bridget Henley and Meghan Hollett will be presenting Lexicalization of the Quotative be + like and Non-Traditional Speech Communities this Monday (March 2) at 1:00 pm in the socio lab (FM-2006). The abstract is below. Please forward this to anyone who might be interested in attending.

The hit primetime TV show Grey's Anatomy is commonly associated in the public imaginary with young, trendy females. In our study, status as a viewer or non-viewer of Grey's Anatomy was foregrounded in order to test whether this distinction is reflected in speech. Sociolinguistic interviews were conducted for 24 informants (12 male and 12 female; 12 viewers and 12 non-viewers), and analyzed for instances of quotative complementizers. This variable, which introduces quotations (eg. We were like "Oh my God, these people…"; And they say "Oh we hated it") is appropriate for the analysis at hand because of the social markedness of the most frequently used variant: the quotative be + like. Previous studies have found that the variant be + like is increasing in frequency and lexicalization in Canada (Tagliamonte and D'Arcy 2004), and particularly in St. John's (D'Arcy 2004). We will discuss the advantages of the methodological framework used in this study, and present evidence to suggest further lexicalization than previously reported.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Innu-aimun Teaching Vocabulary Workshop

Laurel Anne Hasler and Marguerite MacKenzie spent three days (Feb. 23-25) in Sheshatshiu, Labrador, working with Innu staff and classroom assistants to revise the lexicon of teaching vocabulary. A list of 500 terms was established and will be printed in a reference booklet . The two Innu communities in Labrador (Sheshatshiu and Natuashish) are moving quickly towards local control of their education system. Strengthening teaching and resources in the Innu language is an important goal of this process, supported by the department's SSHRC-funded Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) project (

Department Colloquium, March 9

Date: March 9
Time: 3:30 - 4:30
Place: C2033

Authors: Sarah Rose, Derek Nurse, John Hewson

The structure of the verb in the non-Bantu Niger-Congo languages.

This talk provides an update on the ongoing research program of the
Memorial University Bantu Working Group. We present a summary of our current
research into the verbal categories of tense and aspect in the non-Bantu languages of
West and Central Africa. Our primary focus will be how the verbal structures of
these understudied languages differ in significant ways from the better-studied
Bantu languages of East and Southern Africa. Topics addressed include: agglutinating (synthetic) verbal morphology (typical of Bantu) vs. isolating
(analytic) structures (typical of non-Bantu Niger-Congo); tense- prominent vs. aspect prominent languages; and how time is expressed in a tenseless language.

Department Colloquium, March 23

Date: March 23, 2009
Time: 3:30 - 4:30
Place: C2033

Title: Relationships between language typology and the acquisition of word-final consonants in French

Author: Christophe dos Santos


Many generalizations about syllabification across languages point to a strong effect of sonority. For example, the more sonorous a consonant is, the more likely it is to appear at the end of syllables (in syllable codas). Are such generalizations accidental or driven by general principles in phonology? Child language development can help us address this question, because children have to build phonological systems from the ambient languages they are exposed to. If general principles lead phonological systems in general, they should manifest themselves in acquisition. During this presentation, I will show that Marilyn, a first-language learner of French, syllabifies her word-final consonants on the basis of sonority before she attains the type of syllabification we expect in the target (adult) system.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

New website: Memorial University Sociolinguistics Lab

The Memorial University Sociolinguistics Laboratory now has a new website:

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cree Literacy Planning Workshop

Marguerite MacKenzie met with Cree instructors on January 23-25 to revamp the content of the first four of ten courses in the Cree Literacy certificate program, offered through McGill University. This program, which focuses on improving reading, writing and spelling in Cree syllabics, as well as acquiring familiarity with Cree grammar, will now be offered to community members, including parents and daycare workers, as well as to Cree teachers. The Cree School Board of Quebec has implemented a program of Cree as the language of instruction in the primary grades in most communities.

Pictures from Feb. 13 department potluck

Christophe dos Santos, Kevin Terry

Jean Briggs, Marguerite MacKenzie

Jenn Thorburn, Carrie Dyck

Jeannie De Decker, Gerard van Herk

Julie Brittain, Ron Schwartz

Paul De Decker, James Bulgin, and John Hewson

Jim Black, Meghan Tanner, Gerard van Herk, and Ron Schwartz

Osama Omari, Ahmad Assiri, Christophe dos Santos, Kevin Terry, and Rachel Deal

Derek Nurse

And apologies to people who came after the camera was put away!

Friday, February 13, 2009

SLAM (Society for Linguistics at MUN) mixer

SLAM is having a Valentine's Mixer in SN-4087 from 5:00pm-8:00pm on Friday, Feb. 13th.

Department Colloquium Monday Feb. 16, 2009

The Chisasibi Child Language Acquisition Study (CCLAS)
Julie Brittain, Carrie Dyck and Kevin Terry

In this talk, we report on faculty and student research arising out of the Chisasibi Child Language Acquisition Study ( Chisasibi is an East Cree-speaking community in Northern Quebec. Begun in 2004, the data collection phase of the project (video-recording) was completed in 2007 and we are now engaged in data processing and data analysis. CCLAS aims to document how children acquire East Cree (an Algonquian language) as a first language. The methodology of the study is ground-breaking, and the extent of data gathered is unparalleled, making CCLAS among the largest L1 acquisition study for any language. We will provide a brief overview of the project and discuss how it will contribute to our knowledge of language acquisition.

Date: Monday, February 16, 2009
Time: 3:30 - 4:30
Place: C2033

Department potluck Feb. 13

The Departmental Potluck is February 13, 2009, starting at 7:00 p.m.
at Dr. Marguerite MacKenkzie's house (40 Allandale Road). Students do
not need to contribute to the potluck.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

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