Thursday, December 23, 2010

Twig: a blog

This just came across my desk - a blog about the Dictionary of Newfoundland English and, well, words!

The entries are topical and timely - look now and you'll see one about Mummering and another on words that make you bivver, like creak-cold and airsome!

An interesting look behind-the-scenes at the DNE.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Upcoming Career Information Sessions

"Audiology as a Career"
Dr. Erin Squarey
Parrott's Hearing Clinic

Wed. nov 24, 2010,
SN 4083


"Speech Language Pathology as a Career"
Dr. Jill Perry and Dr. Christa Dawson
Eastern Health

Thurs. nov 25, 2010,
SN 2036

Monday, October 18, 2010

John Esling's Talk and Workshop

Title: Laryngeal Phonetic Quality and the First Sounds of Speech
Date: October 29
Time: 4-5pm
Room: SN3042

Dr. Esling will also host a workshop for graduate students in Linguistics on the topic of submitting papers for publication. Time: 1pm. Room: SN 3036.

He's some more info about the topic of his talk:
Many languages have sounds that have been challenging to describe phonetically. Since 1993, we have built a team and a speech research centre at the University of Victoria for laryngoscopic phonetic experimentation that has attracted international attention as a site for articulatory phonetic research. Typically, a research opportunity arises in a language of pharyngeal/laryngeal interest, and researchers request to visit our facility to carry out the experimental component of their phonetic study. Colleagues and students at the University of Victoria have also initiated many studies of their own. We have analyzed glottals, glottalized consonants, pharyngeals, and laryngeals laryngoscopically in Nuuchahnulth (Wakashan), Nlaka’pamuxcín (Salish), Palestinian and Iraqi Arabic and Tigrinya (Semitic), Yi, Bai and Tibetan (Tibeto-Burman), Pame (Otomanguean), Sui (Kam-Daic), Cantonese (Sino-Tibetan), Thai (Daic), Korean (Altaic), English and Danish (Germanic), Akan (Niger-Congo, Kwa), Kabiye (Niger-Congo, Gur), Somali (Cushitic), and Bor Dinka (Nilotic). In addition to providing answers to a number of language-specific articulatory phonetic research questions, this quantity of data has allowed us to formulate innovative models of pharyngeal/ laryngeal (P/L) phonetic production and a revision of the theory of cardinal states of the glottis (SOG).

We have also begun to develop 3D models of P/L vocal tract function, incorporating data from new experimental formats including high-speed video (Paris/HEGP), EGG, laryngeal ultrasound, and videofluoroscopy (UF Rio de Janeiro). Models incorporate biomechanical simulation in real-time of the oscillating structures of the larynx, including the vocal folds, ventricular folds, and aryepiglottic folds.

Using our phonetic paradigm, we are also able to provide a fuller account of the acquisition of the ability to produce speech sounds. In our study of phonetic development in the first year of life, we have found that very young infants produce all places and manners of laryngeal sounds, and these previously ignored sounds play a vital role in priming the emergence of oral sounds, which predominate by month 12. We have found that infants first develop phonetic control through the exploration and mastery of P/L sounds, whether or not these sounds form part of their ambient language: All infants initiate articulatory control for speech production in the pharynx.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Student Linguists At MUN

So, you're sitting in
class this past week
and you finally
decided that you are
OK with Grimm's Law,
Chomskyan syntax
and Autosegmental

You're not alone! Get connected. Socialize. Join SLAM
(Student Linguists At MUN).
All undergraduate majors, minors & curious students are welcome.

Follow us on Facebook or contact : lingslam AT yahoo DOT ca

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Visit and Talk: Dr. John Charles Smith

Professor John Charles Smith (U of Oxford) will visit our department on Monday, September 20, 2010.

He will talk from 1 - 2 P.M (location TBA) on:
'What counts as variation ? A study of the French ending -ont'
All are welcome to attend.

He is also interested in meeting with students and faculty. Please contact Dr. Bubenik if you would like to schedule a time slot.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dr. John Esling (UVic) to visit Linguistics Department

Dr. Esling is a phonetician at the University of Victoria in BC and principle investigator on the SSHRC-funded project "Infant Speech Acquisition" (InSpA), which studies the "earliest acquisition of the phonetic speech-production capacity". We are pleased to have him visit our department from October 28 to November 1st.

In addition to giving a talk entitled "Laryngeal Articulation: Infant Acquisition of the Phonetic Capacity", Dr. Esling has generously agreed to meet with all and any interested faculty or students to discuss their research or any questions relevant to phonetics.

More info to come in the near future. Please save the date.

In the meantime, have a look at his website and a description of his talk:

Many languages of the world exhibit features that can be classified in terms of laryngeal articulation. The auditory and acoustic cues of these features illustrate the extensive range of use of the laryngeal constrictor mechanism (controlling changes from the glottis through the aryepiglottic folds), with consequent effects on the pharyngeal resonator. Using direct laryngoscopic observation techniques, we have collected visual evidence of the fine control of laryngeal constriction in over two dozen languages, establishing a hierarchy for the operation of the mechanism and modelling laryngeal behaviour to illustrate the parameters of movement available in the laryngeal/pharyngeal articulator.

The laryngeal/pharyngeal articulator has also been identified as the principal articulator that infants first start to control as they test and practice their phonetic production skills from birth through the first several months of life. The auditory/acoustic cues that are generated in the pharynx are the same elements of sound production observed in newborn infants from a range of language environments. Infant vocalization data during the first year of life illustrate that laryngeal quality is primal, that articulatory awareness develops first in the pharynx and larynx through the manipulation of phonetic alternations, that control of the acoustic cues of speech originates in the pharynx, and that the acquisition of the ability to produce manners of articulation spreads from the pharynx in a process of pharyngeal priming that parallels and complements the ability of infants to discriminate auditory speech-sound categories perceptually.

42nd Algonquian Conference hosted by MUN Linguistics (Oct 21-24)

The Algonquian Conference is an international meeting for researchers
to share papers on Algonquian peoples, the largest First Peoples group
in Canada. Fields of interest include anthropology, archaeology, art,
biography, education, ethnography, ethnobotany, folklore, geography,
history, language education, linguistics, literature, music, native
studies, political science, psychology, religion and sociology. It will
be held at Memorial University from October 21 - through 24.

The deadline for abstracts is September 1st. Further information can be
found at

MUSL students and faculty to present at NWAV 39

Congratulations to all MUN sociolinguists who will be presenting their latest research at the 39th annual NWAV (New Ways of Analyzing Variation) in San Antonia in November. See the Memorial University Sociolinguistics Laboratory website for more details including links to the abstracts of each talk. The NWAV 39 website can be found here.
  • Paul De Decker and Jennifer Nycz, "For the record: Which digital media are good enough for sociophonetic analysis?"
  • Matt Hunt Gardner, "The in-crowd and the oatcasts: Diphthongs and identity in a Cape Breton high school"
  • Lindsay Harding, "Relatively Standard: Identity and relative clause marking in a community undergoing rapid social change"
  • Sarah Knee and Gerard Van Herk, "Stop and go (away): Linguistic consequences of non-local aspirations among small-town Newfoundland youth"
  • Jennifer Thorburn, "Don’t stop now: Interdental fricatives in Labrador Inuit English"

Friday, July 16, 2010

Undergraduate Linguistics Students Make the Dean's List

Congratulations to our numerous undergraduates whose work this past year placed them on the Dean's List. Fantastic job everyone!

Those who are double majors are identified by ( ).

Amelie Aikman (German)
Kelly Burkinshaw
Samantha Cooper
Kirsten Haynes
Bridget Henley
Alyson King
Rosanna Pierson (History)
Alethea Power
Suzanne Power
Heidi Rice
Whitney Sharpe
Brandi Travers (Russian)
Karen Tucker (German)
Kathryn Walsh
Teresa Wood (Anthropology)

Dr. Carrie Dyck is a Research Star

Be sure to check out Memorial's 2010 highly innovative and entertaining research report as it highlights Dr. Dyck's project on maintaining the Cayuga language (the language of the Iroquoian First Nations).

Dr. Ray Gosine, Memorial's vice-president (research) pro tempore, describes the report this way.

“In keeping with the innovative and risk-taking nature of research, we provided a generous dash of creativity in our approach to our research report,” Dr. Gosine said. “Our research efforts are stories, very good stories, and it made sense to reach to movies – the major story-telling vehicles of our time – to capture people’s attention. Our goal is to engage and inform the reader by producing a readable report, not a ‘run of the mill’ document that might get ignored. We believe Memorial’s research stories are too important not to tell with fanfare.”
Congratulations, Dr. Dyck!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2010 Seminar Series Talk: Dr. Steven Carr (new date)

Dr. Steven Carr (Biology, MUN) is our invited lecturer on Friday March 19th (not April 2, as previously announced). His title and abstract follow. Venue (SN 3058) and time (4-5pm) remain the same.

"Let us go down, and there confound their language:" Genetic perspectives on migration "Out of Africa" and the peopling of Europe and the Americas

Steven Carr
Phylogeographic genetics (genetic relationships within their geographic context) or Archaeogenetics has provided precise insights into the emergence of the human species "Out of Africa". A series of articles in the 23 Feb 2010 review issue of "Current Biology" (summarized by Renfrew 2010) provides foundation materials that can contribute inter alia to development and testing of linguistic hypotheses. I will review the basic genetic biology (DNA sequence data, phylogeny reconstruction, coalescent theory, etc.), using as an example local work on variation and phylogeny of the founding population of Newfoundland, including First Nations individuals. Linguists are invited to reflect on implications for African and New World language groups.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Tense and Aspect in Arabic / March 26

We are pleased to have Vit Bubenik, John Hewson and Osama Omari present "Tense 
and Aspect in Arabic" on March 26 from 4:00 to 5:00 in SN 3058. All are welcome.

Tense and Aspect in Arabic
Vit Bubenik, John Hewson and Osama Omari

In this presentation we will focus on three major issues surrounding the study of tense and aspect in Semitic languages:

1. We will place the Arabic aspectual system into the larger context of Central Semitic languages (with Aramaic and Hebrew) and show that the Arabic system is strongly innovative in its analytic double finite perfect (of the type kāna qad kataba ‘he had written’) and double finite progressive aspect (of the type kāna yaktubu ‘he was writing’).

2. We will discuss typological differences between aspect-prominent Semitic languages and morphologically richer IE languages possessing temporal categories. We will argue for the appropriateness of the general aspectual terminology (perfect/retrospective versus perfective) in Semitic linguistics; and we will comment on the realization of the performative in Semitic languages.

3. The emergence of the progressive aspect and analytic perfect in Arabic can be most proficiently studied in terms of grammaticalization. The rise of the former category can be explicated as clause union; in the case of the analytic perfect the crucial piece of evidence is the categorical reduction of the lexical verb qaʕada ‘he sat’ to the perfect particle qad. We will demonstrate that Modern Arabic dialects offer a large number of parallel examples of the grammaticalization of other lexical verbs in their serial constructions.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

2010 Seminar Series

We are happy to announce two upcoming Seminar Series talks.

The first, titled 'Tense and Aspect in Arabic' by Vit Bubenik, John Hewson and Osama Omari, will be held on Friday, March 26 2010. Abstract will be posted in the near future.

Second, Steven Carr of the Biology Department will be our guest speaker on Friday April 2, 2010 March 19th. Title and abstract TBA.

Both talks will be held from 4:00 to 5:00 in SN 3058. All are welcome.