Two linguistics talks (3/26 and 4/16)

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This spring we have two upcoming linguistics events, a talk on Friday, March 26th (2 to 4 p.m.) by Prof. Qing Zhang of Arizona. She will be discussing "A style-based approach to sociolinguistic change", and the student colloquium held on April 16 that features three of our very own students! Please join us for these events!

Qing Zhang

A Style-Based Approach to Sociolinguistic Change

Qing Zhang, March 26, 2021 at 2 p.m.

Live on Zoom, passcode 461826

 

Abstract

Recent development in the “Third Wave” of variationist sociolinguistics emphasizes an integrated perspective that treats variation as part of a larger semiotic system (Eckert 2012 and 2018) and embedding linguistic variation within broader social-political processes (Coupland 2014). While a growing body of recent scholarship examines sociolinguistic variation as semiotic resources in the production of individual styles and personae, further research is needed to explore the ways through which sociolinguistic variation participates in changing social-political order. In this talk, I propose a style-based approach to language and social change as mutually constitutive. Building on research that tracks the emergence of Cosmopolitan Mandarin (CM), a new linguistic style alternative to the conventional Standard Mandarin of China, also known as “common speech,” I demonstrate that CM constitutes an emergent stylistic resource for dismantling a pre-reform stylistic regime that valued conformity and egalitarianism. By examining the formation, use, and social evaluation of CM, I show that it brings about social change in two ways. First, through its use by particularly groups of social actors to produce new distinction, CM participates in the increasing socioeconomic diversification of Chinese society. Second, through its valorizations vis-à-vis the conventional standard language, CM participates in shaping the configuration of a postsocialist stylistic regime. Bio: Qing Zhang (Ph.D. Linguistics (Sociolinguistics), Stanford University) is an Associate Professor in the School of Anthropology of the University of Arizona and a faculty advisor in the Joint Ph.D. Program in Anthropology and Linguistics. Her research examines the constitutive role of language in contexts of sociopolitical change and globalization with a focus on China and Mandarin varieties. Her research interests include sociolinguistic variation and change, language and identity, language and gender, language ideology, language policy, and language in the media.

Linguistics Student Research Colloquium

April 16, 2021, 2 to 4 p.m.

Live on Zoom, passcode 368772

Presenters

Rebecca Cornejo Reading

Personalized License Plates

This project looks at the use of personalized license plates as a form of expression and identity in the United States and other countries. It also discusses the methods of language manipulation used to compress language into the small space allowed. As language changes, we continue to see more variation in the spellings on these plates with some being easier to read than others.

Rebecca is a graduate student in linguistics with a primary interest in sociolinguistics.

Katie Tyrrell

Models for Child Acquisition of German Syntax: Examining the Full Competence Hypothesis

Previous studies of language acquisition in 25-month-old German children demonstrate support for the Full Competence Hypothesis of child language acquisition but fail to adequately explain the phenomenon of “grammatical infinitives”. I propose an interpretation of the same acquisition data that includes subject-less predicates as an important element of early syntax and suggest that this interpretation offers further support for the Full Competence Hypothesis.

Katie is an undergraduate linguistics and statistics student interested in natural language acquisition.

Shannon Yee

Minority Language Orthography and Literacy: A Case Study of Swo in Cameroon

Previous studies of language acquisition in 25-month-old German children demonstrate support for the Full Competence Hypothesis of child language acquisition but fail to adequately explain the phenomenon of "grammatical infinitives." I propose an interpretation of the same acquisition data that includes subject-less predicates as an important element of early syntax and suggest that this interpretation offers further support for the Full Competence Hypothesis.

Shannon is an M.A. student in the linguistics program. My primary areas of interest are syntax, language documentation, and sociolinguistics

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