Events

November 14th, 2017: Dr. Vai Ramanathan

October 31, 2017: Dr. Eugênia Fernandes

October 17th, 2017: Dr. Robert Bayley


November 14th, 2017: Dr. Vai Ramanathan

Dr. Vai Ramanathan from the Department of Linguistics will give a workshop on job searching and employment as a language researcher, including answering all job-related questions and discussing several current job openings.

Time: Tuesday, November 14th, 3:10-4:00

Location: Voorhies 228

October 31, 2017: Dr. Eugênia Fernandes

Dr. Eugênia Fernandes from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese will discuss “Idioms in Brazilian Portuguese: lexicalization and grammaticalization based on a continuum analysis”

Time: Tuesday, October 31st, 3:10-4:00

Location: Voorhies 228

Abstract: The idioms are further evidence of the dynamic nature of languages. The study of this phenomenon in this research was done under typological-functional concepts. To address the linguistic analysis of idioms, I worked under the notions of continuum of grammaticalization and lexicalization: the creation of lexical items resulting from the joining of other lexical items. The research also permeated the distinctions between concepts of lexicalization, grammaticalization and phraseology. The corpus for the research was raised by the analysis of textbooks devoted to the teaching of Portuguese as a second language. Consisting on 245 idiomatic expressions, the corpus has gone through an analysis of five different aspects in each expression. I observed the level of fixity of each expression to establish them in a continuum of lexicalization. All expressions have also been tested from authentic genres in online contexts. The prototypes of idioms were identified by the behavior of the phenomenon in the analysis of the continuum. Idioms are necessarily pragmatic and learners of Portuguese as a foreign language need special support, since the materials available today do not fully meet their expectations. The analysis and systematization of idioms resulted in support for authors of textbooks and teachers of Portuguese, leading to the inclusion of results in future materials and teaching models that can now serve as an input in the classroom.

October 17th, 2017: Dr. Robert Bayley

Join us for our first invited talk of the 2017-2018 school year where Dr. Robert Bayley from the Department of Linguistics will discuss “Frequency effects in syntactic variation: Evidence from subject personal pronoun variation in U.S. Spanish and Mandarin Chinese”

Time: Tuesday, October 17th, 3:10-4:00

Location: Voorhies 228

Abstract: With the rise of exemplar theory (Bybee 2010), the role of lexical frequency in language variation and change has been a focus of considerable study, particularly in phonology (e.g. Bybee 2002; Jurafsky et al. 2001; Walker 2012). Results, however, have been mixed, with some studies showing strong frequency effects and others showing no such effects. Recently Erker and Guy (2012) extended the analysis of frequency effects to morphosyntactic variation. Based on data from 12 Dominican and Mexican speakers from Otheguy and Zentella’s (2012) New York City Spanish corpus, they examined the role of frequency in variation between null and overt subject personal pronouns (SPP), one of the most widely studied variables in Spanish sociolinguistics. Erker and Guy’s results suggest that frequency either activates or amplifies the effects of other constraints such as co-reference with the subject of the preceding verb and person and number. In this talk I examine the role of frequency on SPP variation in Spanish and Mandarin Chinese, based on data collected in northern California, south Texas, and Harbin, China. Multivariate analyses of more than 8,600 tokens of U.S. Spanish and more than 6,600 tokens of Mandarin Chinese suggest that frequency has only a minimal effect on speakers’ choices between overt and null subject pronouns. The results presented in this study, as well as results presented in Bayley et al. (in press), Li and Bayley (forthcoming), and Martínez-Sanz and Van Herk (2012), suggest that the role of frequency, at least in this area of the grammar, has been considerably exaggerated and that well-established linguistic factors provide a better explanation for SPP variation than frequency.