Linguistics seminars

Format

Generally, seminars alternate fortnightly with research meetings. Seminars tend to be in even weeks and research meetings in odd weeks. Both events from the fall semester 2015 take place in the seminar room at Dicksonsgatan 4. All persons employed at the Faculty of Arts have access to this building with their cards. External guests will need to contact a person in the building by phone or - if necessary, ring the doorbell - to gain entrance. Students on the C level should have access on Tuesdays.

Seminars often feature guests from outside the department. To suggest a person to be invitied or for other information please contact Åsa Abelin asa.abelin@gu.se.

The recommended format consists of a prepared talk of about 60 - 75 minutes followed by discussion.

Coffee is available after the seminars, which offers a chance for further discussions.

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Upcoming seminars


Seminars during the autumn term 2017

Nicholas Fleisher (University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee): Quantifiers in 
comparatives: parallels with embedded questions

21 November, 2017, 13:15-14:15

The matter of scope in comparative *than* clauses has been a central concern in the comparatives literature for the past 15 years. At issue is the apparent ability of certain *than*-clause-internal quantifiers to take syntactically exceptional matrix scope. Attempts to address the issue have led to new insights (e.g., robust if poorly understood generalizations about the restricted scope of degree quantifiers) and fundamental shifts in the approach to gradable adjectives (the move to an interval semantics). I suggest that they should also lead us back to some forgotten observations about the parallel behavior of clausal comparatives and embedded questions. In this talk, I survey the current state of the theoretical landscape and show how our understanding of clausal comparatives can benefit from insights about embedded questions. More broadly, this connection suggests that the well-known structural similarities between the two constructions are matched by striking semantic similarities that the recent literature has overlooked.

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Jenny Lam och Rikard Olsson

12 december 13.15 - 15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title: Förståelighet hos barn med avvikande tal bedömda av lyssnare med svenska som andraspråk

(Intelligibility of children with speech sound disorders assessed by listeners with Swedish as a second language)

Abstract:

Vi heter Jenny Lam och Rikard Olsson, två legitimerade logopeder med intresse för språk och perception. Under våren 2017 arbetade vi med vårt examensarbete gällande förståelighet hos barn med avvikande tal i förhållande till lyssnares språkbakgrund. Vi kommer att berätta om vår arbetsgång som ledde till de fynd vi gjorde: ju högre inlärningsålder, desto mer svårförståeligt uppfattades det avvikande talet vara. Studien kan ses som en början inom forskning kring betydelsen av lyssnarens språkliga bakgrund för förmågan att uppfatta talet vid talavvikelser.

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Previous seminars autumn 2017

Andrea Schremm, Språk- och litteraturcentrum, Lunds universitet

http://www.sol.lu.se/person/AndreaSchremm/

17 October 13.15 - 15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title: Training second language learners in Swedish word accent processing with a digital game

Abstract:

In Swedish, different word accents are associated with the same stem depending on the suffix attached. Native speakers have been shown to make use of this feature of the language in a way that facilitates rapid speech comprehension: they can predict how a word ends based on the tonal pattern on the stem. For most second language learners of Swedish, however, this tone-based predictive regularity is a completely novel feature. In my presentation, I will introduce a game application we have been developing to help learners acquire and use Swedish word accent – suffix associations. Results obtained with the first prototype indicate that a game mechanics built around the anticipatory nature of word accents can effectively train learners to make increasingly accurate and rapid tone-based predictions during on-line speech comprehension. I will also discuss the use of the game in an on-going study, which investigates plastic changes in adult second language learners’ brain processes and structure as a result of acquiring Swedish word accents.

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Karolina Krzyzanowska, Munich Center for Mathematical Philosophy, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

http://www.mcmp.philosophie.uni-muenchen.de/people/faculty/krzyzanowska_karolina/index.html

3 October 13.15 - 15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title: What is amiss about missing-link conditionals?

Abstract:

It is a common intuition that the antecedent of an indicative conditional should be relevant for its consequent, that they should be somehow connected. However, only very few semantic theories of conditionals do justice to this intuition, while the majority tends to dismiss it as a pragmatic rather than a semantic phenomenon. Nevertheless, no one has offered a satisfactory pragmatic explanation of why conditionals such as “If kangaroos have no gills, then they cannot fly” strike us as odd. In my talk, I will discuss some seemingly plausible pragmatic explanations of the oddity of missing-link conditionals and, drawing from the empirical studies on the semantics and pragmatics of indicative conditionals, I will show how they fail.

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Kirsty McDougall, Clare College, Cambridge

http://www.clare.cam.ac.uk/Fellows-and-Staff-Directory/kem37/

26 September 13.15 - 15.00 OBS! UNEVEN WEEK

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title: "Fluency features in adult males: a forensic phonetic investigation"

Abstract:

Features of speech related to fluency such as filled and silent pauses, sound prolongations, repetitions, and interruptions exhibit variation between speakers, yet the speaker-specificity of such features has received little attention in phonetic research. Individual variation in speakers’ usage of disfluency features is a potential source of speaker-distinguishing information which is not yet fully exploited in forensic speaker comparison where voice recordings of an unknown speaker committing a crime and a suspect are compared.

In the present talk, an investigation of individual differences in the disfluency features produced by 20 male speakers of Standard Southern British English, aged 18-25 years, from the DyViS database is presented. Two speech styles were compared: a simulated police interview and a telephone conversation. Results show that individuals vary considerably in the rate of fluency disruptions occurring in their speech and that differences are present in the types and amount of disfluencies used by individual speakers. Disfluency features also show a degree of within-speaker consistency across styles. While far from being sufficiently distinct to distinguish all speakers from each other, disfluency profiles show potential as an additional tool for the forensic phonetician, complementing other types of analysis. 

The talk also examines comparable data for 20 male speakers of different accent of English, York English, to explore the extent to which patterns of individual variation in disfluency features can be expected to apply across different accents. While patterns of overall disfluency rates were similar across the two accents, differences between accents appeared when the detail of separate disfluency categories was examined, indicating that an awareness of the distribution of disfluency feature types within a given accent is needed in order to apply this kind of analysis in forensic cases.

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Ulrikke Rindal, UiO, Institutt for for lærerutdanning og skoleforskning

http://www.uv.uio.no/ils/personer/vit/ulrikkri/

19 September 13.15 - 15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title: Perceptions of Norwegian-accented English

Abstract:

Following the global spread of English, the English language is increasingly characterised by those who use it as a second or later language, rather than by its native speakers (Crystal, 2003; Kirkpatrick, 2010). This calls for research on non-native speaker English (Moyer, 2013), not just in postcolonial or immigrant settings, but also in contexts where English traditionally has been considered a foreign language, such as Norway (Rindal, 2013). In particular, it is relevant to investigate how non-native accents of English are perceived by listeners, in order to assess the status and communicativeness of such accents. However, investigations of how accent is perceived presuppose a shared understanding of the accent in question, and research on non-native speaker English requires complex methodologies.

In this seminar, I would like to present an on-going study on perceptions of Norwegian-accented English, with a specific focus on, and transparency of, the development of methodology. A phonological analysis and an expert panel have been used to develop and describe four categories of Norwegian-accented English, distinguished by degree and type of influence from the L1. These four Norwegian accents of English are used in a matched-guise test (Lambert, Hodgson, Gardner, & Fillenbaum, 1960) administered to Norwegian and non-Norwegian listeners, of which the latter include both native and non-native speakers of English. Interview data is used to develop the matched-guise test design, as well as add to the complexity of the matched-guise test results.

The preliminary results of the study show that perceptions of Norwegian-accented English reflect the evaluational dimensions of status and social attractiveness established by previous attitude research (Garrett, 2010). Interestingly, differences in perceptions of accent seem to be related not only to degree of accentedness, but also to type of linguistic influence. The results support the claims I have made in previous research about how the variation in Norwegian adolescents’ L2 practices patterns in socially meaningful ways (Rindal, 2010, 2013).

 

Crystal, D. (2003). English as a global language (2nd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Garrett, P. (2010). Attitudes to language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kirkpatrick, A. (2010). Introduction. In A. Kirkpatrick (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of World Englishes (pp. 1-14). London: Routledge.

Lambert, W. E., Hodgson, R. C., Gardner, R. C., & Fillenbaum, S. (1960). Evaluational reactions to spoken languages. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 60(1), 44-51.

Moyer, A. (2013). Foreign accent: The phenomenon of non-native speech. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Rindal, U. (2010). Constructing identity with L2: Pronunciation and attitudes among Norwegian learners of English. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 14(2), 240-261.

Rindal, U. (2013). Meaning in English: L2 attitudes, choices and pronunciation in Norway. (Doctoral thesis), University of Oslo.  

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Previous seminars spring 2017

Henrik Rosenkvist, Institutionen för Svenska språket, Göteborg

http://www.gu.se/omuniversitetet/personal?userId=xroseh

16 May 13.15 - 15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title: 

Swedish dialect syntax – methods, problems and some results

Abstract:

The study of dialect syntax is challenging in several aspects. The object of study is often primarily oral languages without any written standard, and therefore the first step is to collect data and set up corpora. Furthermore, the study of syntax requires relatively large amounts of text, since clear examples of a particular syntactic structure may be very low-frequent. In this talk, I present some experiences from a decade of research in this area, and present some interesting results from e.g. Övdalian and Estonian Swedish.

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Aditi Lahiri, Professor of Linguistics

Faculty of Linguistics, Philology & Phonetics, University of Oxford

http://www.ling-phil.ox.ac.uk/lahiri

This seminar is a cooperation with SPL, Department of Languages and Literatures

11 April 13.15 - 15.00 (uneven week)

FLoV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, room T219

Title: 

Segmental and suprasegmental asymmetries in representation and comprehension

Abstract:

Phonological inventories as well as processes are not always symmetric. The mapping from the signal to the representation is also not isomorphic.  We will present evidence from language change and processing to argue that the asymmetries are exploited during language comprehension.  Languages investigated include Bengali, English, German, Swiss German and Swedish.

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Andreas Nautsch, Biometrics and Internet-Security Research group, Intern at Voxalys

https://www.dasec.h-da.de/staff/andreas-nautsch/

21 March 13.15 - 15.00 

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title: 

Speaker Recognition in unconstrained Environments

Abstract:

Speaker recognition is an emerging biometric field, which in its current form originated from the speech recognition community in the 1980s. Due to the vast development of the mobile market, voice biometrics is accessible for all smartphone owners, making it relevant to many security-oriented application fields, such as online banking or remote access to sensitive infrastructures. Thereby, systems will be put not only into laboratory-alike environments but also into e.g., low-SNR conditions with limited-duration audio probes — conditions in which forensic experts reject the material put to examination. The talk places emphasis on quality-aware speaker recognition, utilizing environmental estimates in state-of-the-art i-vector/PLDA systems in order to enhance the final decision outcome on average.

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Mats Wirén, Institutionen för lingvistik, Stockholms universitet

http://www.su.se/profiles/mwir-1.186343

21 February 13.15 - 15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title: 

Repetitiousness and synchrony in a multimodally annotated corpus of parent–child interaction

Abstract:

Child-directed speech has several distinct features when compared to adult speech, such as shorter utterances, lower speech rate, fewer disfluencies, higher repetitiousness, greater F0 variation, and a higher degree of synchrony between social cues (eye gaze, hands movements, etc.) and spoken utterances. These features are likely to serve several purposes, such as attention grabbing, but a hypothesis is that they also play a role in language learning. In this talk, I will first report on studies which essentially provide data analyses of two of these features (repetitiousness and synchrony), showing how they evolve longitudinally with infants between 6 and 33 months. I will then take a closer look at synchrony in the context of the parents' referring expressions, using a model which allows us to study the informativeness of the social cues as well as the effects on this of displaced timing of the referring expressions relative to the cues. The data that we use is a longitudinal corpus of parent–child interaction for which we have developed a rich multimodal annotation in which events can be tracked in continuous time.

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Torbjörn Lager, FLOV

7 February 13.15 - 15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title: 

Me and my research

Abstract:

I'm back to work (now at 50%) after long sick leave with lots of ups and downs. It's been years since I last gave a linguistics seminar, so I will take this as a chance to introduce myself and my research to those of you at the department that I haven't really met or talked to yet. And to my old colleagues, a reintroduction won't hurt either, I suppose.

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Previous seminars 2016

Hana Filip, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf

https://user.phil-fak.uni-duesseldorf.de/~filip/

29 November 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title: Mass/Count Variation: A 2D Semantics

 

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Julian Schlöder, Universiteit van Amsterdam

http://jjsch.github.io/

1 November 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

Understanding Focus: Pitch, Placement, and Coherence

Abstract:

I'm presenting joint work with Alex Lascarides on the interpretation
of focal stress in discourse. We argue that focus and pitch need to be
studied jointly and cannot be divorced. Our account combines a number
of independently motivated theories to explain the focus phenomenon.
First, we build upon Geurts and van der Sandt (2004b) in modelling
focus as related to presupposition and make use of already established
strategies for resolving a presupposition. Second, we situate our
theory in a coherence-based framework for dialogue modelling to make
use of general notions about context and coherence (Lascarides and
Asher, 2009). Third, our model follows Schlöder and Lascarides (2015)
in modelling pitch accents as constraining the perlocutionary effects
of the utterance. The combined model explains cases that would be
confounding or ambiguous in a less integrated account.

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Amalia Arvaniti, University of Kent

https://www.kent.ac.uk/secl/ell/staff/arvaniti.html

25 October 13.15-15.00 Uneven week!

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

English uptalk and its implications for intonational typology

Abstract:

Uptalk is a well-known phenomenon in English whereby statements end in a rise in pitch rather than the fall that is expected by default in most English varieties. Uptalk has been vilified in the media for decades, possibly since Lakoff included it in the features of women’s “powerless” language. 
In this talk I will present quantitative results from two studies of uptalk as used in Southern California and the SE of England. They both show that uptalk is not used exclusively or even more frequently by women; rather, the main gender difference is related to the function of uptalk: women use it more mid-turn, a use that agrees with the general understanding that uptalk is a cooperative device. This conclusion is also supported by differences in the frequency of uptalk between cooperative and competitive tasks with the former showing significantly higher uptalk frequency. However, the data from competitive tasks also indicate that uptalk is not always used cooperatively, but can function to assert the speaker’s power over the addressee in a complex way. This dual role of uptalk fits well with other research showing that linguistic devices are neither powerful nor powerless per se but acquire such functions in context. Further, uptalk shows variation not only in function but also in form: the pitch rises in the two varieties investigated here are not the same either phonetically or phonology; second, within each variety pitch rises used for questioning (in both direct and indirect questions) differ from uptalk proper, i.e. from rises used for statements, both phonetically and phonologically. 
The variability in the realization and function of uptalk raises issues with respect to the typology of intonation. First, it shows that a typology based exclusively on phonetic form, as has recently been proposed (Hualde & Prieto, 2016, Laboratory Phonology) is unworkable: uptalk, like other intonational phenomena, is not phonetically uniform (Arvaniti, 2016, Laboratory Phonology). Rather, the present data suggest that typological insights can be achieved if we combine more abstract representations of tunes, like those advocated by Ladd (2008), together with pragmatic meaning. The implications of these findings and suggestions for future research will be discussed.

Seminars during the autumn term 2016

Matthew Stone, Rutger's University, New York, CLASP seminar

https://www.cs.rutgers.edu/~mdstone/cr06.html

18 October 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Göteborg, T302

Title: 

A Bayesian model of grounded color semantics

Abstract:

Natural language meanings allow speakers to encode important real-world distinctions, but corpora of grounded language use also reveal that speakers categorize the world in different ways and describe situations with different terminology.  To learn meanings from data, we therefore need to link underlying representations of meaning to models of speaker judgment and speaker choice.  This paper describes a new approach to this problem: we model variability through uncertainty in categorization boundaries and distributions over preferred vocabulary.  We apply the approach to a large data set of color descriptions, where statistical evaluation documents its accuracy.  The results are available as a Lexicon of Uncertain Color Standards (LUX), which supports future efforts in grounded language understanding and generation by probabilistically mapping 829 English color descriptions to potentially context-sensitive regions in HSV color space.

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Adrian Leemann, University of Cambridge

https://sites.google.com/site/adrianleemann/

4 October 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

Using mobile apps to crowdsource language change

Abstract:

Do you pronounce the /r/ in ‘arm’? What’s your dialectal pronunciation of ‘10:15 o’clock’?

Do you think these terms have changed over the past decades?

   We set out to collect data to analyze how English and German dialects have evolved over the

past decades using 21st century methods. We developed a series of free apps that ask the

speaker to self-report usage of a number of linguistic variables – such as the examples above

– and then tells him/her where in the UK or German-speaking Europe s/he is from.

    This new approach has generated large dialect corpora stemming from more than 800’000

speakers. The corpora enable direct comparisons to old (often outdated) historical atlases (see

Figures 1 & 2 attached – historical atlas left, map based on app data right). In this talk I will

showcase a number of these apps and present analyses of language change for England and

German-speaking Europe.

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Andreas Hallberg, Lunds universitet

http://www.sol.lu.se/en/person/AndreasHallberg

20 September 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title: 

Prescription and convention: variation in the use of morphologically marked case in Spoken Standard Arabic

Abstract:

Morphologically marked case is a salient Standard Arabic feature without parallel in Arabic dialects. As such it is a grammatical system learned by native speakers of Arabic through formal education. Case endings are traditionally regarded as an essential feature of Standard Arabic, but morphological case endings are used only sporadically in extemporaneous speech in formal situations where Standard Arabic is the expected variety. This study investigates how case endings that are used in speech are distributed in relation to morphosyntactic parameters with the aim of finding covert linguistic norms governing where case is and is not marked in speech. This is done by a quantitative analysis of a corpus consisting of 17 televised interviews of highly educated native speakers of Arabic. Only speech by the interviewees was analyzed, totaling 35 000 words or 5 h and 22 min. Nouns and adjectives in the corpus are annotated for morphosyntactic features, including if and how the case ending is produced. The data show that the rate of case marking differs widely between speakers, but also that there are patterns, consistent between speakers, of how case endings are proportionally distributed in various morphosyntactic contexts. It was found that case endings are very rarely used in words with the definite article al-, in adjectival attributes, and on words at the end of utterances. Case marking is strongly favored on words where it would be orthographically represented in writing and on words with an enclitic pronoun. It was also found that these patterns are not the result of speakers relying on a set of fixed phrases to include case endings in their speech. The findings presented in this study have important implications for Arabic curriculum development, both in first and second language teaching, and also shed light on the role of the use of case endings in Arabic diglossia.

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Seminars during the spring term 2016

Ylva Hård af Segerstad, Alexandra Weilenmann, IT univ., GU

31 may 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

 Title:

Collecting, Visualizing and Analyzing Mobile Communication Sequences

Abstract:

In this talk we present an approach for collecting, visualizing and analyzing mobile communication sequences. Previous research on mobile communication has generally focused on either text, talk or log data as separate units of analysis, or, in the cases where this data has been examined, the content of the actual communication has not been collected. Using existing as well as tailor-made applications for data collection we have built a corpus of natural mobile communication sequences. In addition, we created Polly, a tool for visualizing and analyzing such data. We illustrate our approach with an example of a sequence including an unanswered call, a text message and a short phone call between two persons meeting up. We discuss how this approach can be used to shed new light on previous findings focusing on one channel only, thereby providing us with a richer understanding  of how people communicate using mobile technologies.


Jakob Cromdal, University of Linköping CANCELLED!

17 May 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.


Matthew Gotham, University of Oslo

3 May 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

Copredication: quantificational issues and methodological implications

Abstract:

Copredication (Pustejovsky 1995, 236) is the phenomenon whereby two (or more) predicates are applied to a single argument and make apparently conflicting semantic requirements of that argument, in a sentence that is nevertheless coherent and possibly true. For example, in (1) ‘delicious’ requires that ‘lunch’ refer to food, while ‘took forever’ requires that it refer to an event.

In this talk I will focus on issues of individuation and counting in copredication. Many quantified copredication sentences have truth conditions that cannot be accounted for given standard assumptions, because the predicates used impose different criteria of individuation on their argument. For example, while (2) could be true in a situation involving three copies of the same book (three books individuated physically, one book individuated informationally), and (3) could be true in a situation involving three books printed in a single volume (three books individuated informationally, one book individuated physically), (4) would be true in neither situation, since it requires the three books in question to be both physically and informationally distinct.

I will present a theory that compositionally derives the correct truth conditions for sentences like
(2)–(4), based on formalizing criteria of individuation as equivalence relations on subsets of the domain of discourse, and incorporating them into lexical entries.

In the light of this theory, I will also discuss the argument (made by Chomsky (2000), Collins (2009), and Pietroski (2005), for example) that copredication makes it impossible to maintain an ‘externalist’ view of semantic theory – that is, one according to which a proper explanation of semantic competence must include relations between either words or their mental encodings and things in the world (Collins, 2009, 55). I will argue that the effort to maintain externalistic viability is good methodology for semantic theory.

 Full abstract with references here

 


 

Mari Jones, Cambridge Univ, UK

19 April, 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

Language Contact in Mainland and Insular Norman: Advergence, Divergence and Language Shift

Abstract:

Since the loss of the Duchy of Normandy in 1204, the Norman territory has been fragmented. Although the split was initially political rather than linguistic, the fact that mainland Normandy has been governed by France and the Channel Islands maintained in allegiance to the English crown has meant that these territories have found themselves on different sides of an ever-widening linguistic gulf as French and English, respectively, become dominant in daily life. Although Norman is an endangered linguistic variety both on the mainland and in the Channel Islands, the fact that it is in contact with two different superstrates, one Romance, one Germanic, means that the mechanisms by which language change occurs may, at times, differ. On the mainland, Norman may undergo structural dialect loss, or de-dialectalization, via increasing ‘infiltration’ from the linguistic features of standard French (Abbau). However, in the Channel Islands, dialect loss is more functional, as Norman becomes increasingly replaced by another language variety (English) via dialect shift . This paper will examine the way in which contact with its two typologically different standard languages has influenced the development of Norman within its mainland and insular territories. It will consider the way in which advergence between one variety of Norman and its corresponding superstrate inevitably also creates divergence between Mainland and Insular Norman.


 

Jordan Zlatev, Lund University

5 April, 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floo

Title:

Embodied intersubjectivity, non-actual motion expressions and the sedimentation of meaning
 

Abstract:

(work with Johan Blomberg)

Rather than juxtaposing embodiment and intersubjectivity, we argue that the two are intimately linked and form the foundations of human sociality, as well as the bases for language, with its normativity and grammar. We support the general claim with analyses from phenomenology and developmental psychology, and explicate the notion of sedimentation, according to which more objective and abstract semiotic structures, such as those of language, overlay experientially richer ones, such as the outlined intercorporeal structures. To make the argument more specific, we focus on the linguistic construal of situations lacking actual motion in dynamic terms through expressions of non-actual motion such as The road goes through the forest and He felt uplifted by her words, summarizing the findings of previous studies of Swedish, English, French, Bulgarian and Thai. The analysis generalizes over notions such as fictive motion and conceptual metaphor, distinguishing between the levels of pre-linguistic motivations and linguistic conventions, unlike most approaches in cognitive linguistics. The overall proposal helps to provide an account of how linguistic meanings are not only shared, but come to embody shared intersubjective perspectives (construals) of events, by means of a diachronic process in which individual acts of reference become entrenched not just as individual cognitive routines, but as socially-sanctioned practices, i.e. linguistic norms.


Haris Themistocleous, FLoV, GU

8 March, 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

Greek vowels and the nature of acoustic gradience

Abstract:

In this talk, I will discuss vowel variation in Standard
Modern Greek (SMG) and Cypriot Greek (CG). These two
varieties differ most signi cantly in their consonants, but
it is very difficult to perceive differences in the vowels.
Young|between 18{23|Athenian and Nicosian speakers
participated in the study. The results demonstrate gradi-
ent effects of vowel variation and change on vowel acoustic
properties: vowel duration, articulatory space, and formant
dynamics. I argue that their variation is best understood
with respect to Greek vowel raising and vowel reduction,
and suggest that vowel variation in Greek applies on spe-
ci c subsystems (unstressed vowels vary signi cantly be-
tween the two varieties whereas stressed vowels display only
minor differences). The ndings appear to be the rst to
gather and compare acoustic material from urban Standard
Modern Greek (SMG) and Cypriot Greek (CG) vowels in a
uni ed manner. The implications of these ndings for stud-
ies on language variation, language change, and language
pathology are also discussed.


 

Paul’s  Cibulka's final seminar

Opponent:

Dennis Day, Department of language and communication, University of Southern Denmark.


Time:

 8 March, 10:15- 12

Place:

Seminar room, ground floor, Dicksonsgatan 4.


Title:

Manual movement as interactional practice


Abstract and links to full text:


When participants interact they may make use of a range of resources,
such as head movements, facial expressions, manual movement, body
posture and speech. It is assumed that participants both produce and
perceive this stream of information in a differentiated way: Some
segments are attended to as belonging to the content of the discourse
while others are rather backgrounded and may serve to regulate the
interaction in terms of speakership and turn-taking.

This thesis is an anthology comprised of four studies that all touch
upon the role of these backgrounded segments of behaviour in both spoken
and signed interaction. In particular, I analyse manual movement phases
as well as self-touching behaviour in the area of the face and the head.
It is found that participants may tweak individual movement phases (such
as withholding the retraction to a stable rest position or transforming
the manual movement into a self-touch) that provide an in situ
interpretation of the sequential structure (e.g., that a sequence is
closed) and may occasion the emergence of hierarchically structured
levels of degrees of speakership (e.g., it may show suspension of a
projected line of action).

As a result, I suggest that speakership is best understood as a
continuum, rather than a binary concept (i.e. speaker and listener). It
turns out that all roles within this spectrum are not static ones but
have to be enacted and performed in order to be perceived as such.

I show that participants in signed and spoken conversation exploit the
same resources, i.e. segments of manual movement, as part of the same
practices in order to regulate speakership and turn-taking. Some of
these resources are apt to be ascribed a linguistic status as part of
the system of a given sign language (e.g., Swedish Sign Language and
American Sign Language), while in spoken language they are often
regarded an add-on to speech. This a priori divide between what counts
as sign and gesture respectively obscures areas of overlap (cf. Kendon
2008) and, in the light of the results, it is suggested to treat them in
the same way.

Furthermore, with regard to the geographic and linguistic distance
between the languages herein analysed (Swedish Sign Language, Japanese
and German), I discuss whether the use of manual movement phases as
regulatory component may be considered a universal in human interaction.

The studies are listed below and can be downloaded from this link:
https://cp.sync.com/dl/575a65780#uj6785f4-zj96yr8f-tachqi9g-d34m65z3

Study #1: Published
[Article] When the hands do not go home – A micro-study of the role of
gesture phases in sequence suspension and closure [Discourse Studies, 17
(1) p. 3-24]

Study #2: In print
[Article] On how to do things with holds: Manual movement phases as part
of interactional practices in signed conversation [to appear in Sign
Language Studies, 16 (4)]

Study #3: Under review
[Book chapter; English translation, originally written in Japanese]
Shuwa to jesucha no setten [Parallels in sign and gesture]
[to appear in Shuwa kaiwa no soogo kooi bunseki kotohajime “A primer in
interactional analysis of signed conversation”]

Study #4: Draft
[Article] [preliminary title] Self-touching as an utterance dedicated action


  

 

Malin Antonsson, Sahlgrenska Akademi, GU

23/2, 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

Language ability in patients with low grade glioma

Abstract:

Low-grade glioma is a tumor that often grows in, or near, areas of the brain that are essential for language, sensory or motor functions. If the tumor is located in an area of the brain involved in language function, tumor surgery creates a risk for language impairment. This project aims to study language ability and language organization in this patient population, with a special focus on the group of patients undergoing awake surgery. Since a focus on high-level language (i.e. language abilities demanding extensive cognitive-lingustic processing) is warranted by previous research and the fact that these abilities have not been extensively investigated in healthy subjects another aim is to investigate how adults without neurological disease perform on a test of high-level language ability. The specific aims in my thesis work are to investigate:
1) high-level language ability in adults without neurological disease, 2) language ability in patients with low grade glioma prior to tumour resection, 3) language outcome after tumour resection of low grade gliomas and possible predictors and influencing factors on outcome, and 4) written narrative production pre-surgery and at early follow up.
For the subproject concerning high-level language ability in adults without neurological disease the results are now summarized in a submitted manuscript. For the other subprojects concerning different aspects of language ability in patients with low grade glioma the data collection has been ongoing for about a year. The focus in my presentation will be on the project as a whole and the methods used in the different subprojects, but I will hopefully also be able to present some preliminary data.

 


 

Jan van Eijck, CWI and ILLC, Amsterdam

22/2 3-5pm (N.B. MONDAY -and later time than our usual seminars)

FLoV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Room T307

Title:

Modelling Legal Relations

Abstract:

(joint work with Fengkui Ju, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China)

We use propositional dynamic logic and ideas about propositional control
from the agency literature to construct a simple model of how legal
relations interact with actions that change the world, and with actions
that change the legal relations.

This work is relevant for attempts to construct restricted fragments of
natural language for legal reasoning that could be used in the creation of
(more) formal versions of legal documents suitable for `legal knowledge bases'.


 


Seminars during the fall term 2015

 

 Dominic Watt, York University, UK

15 December, 2015, 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

What does a threat sound like? Phonetic and perceptual aspects of a family of language crimes

Abstract:

 

In this talk I outline a programme of research on the properties of what might be called a 'threatening tone of voice'. We are interested primarily in indirect threats, whereby the talker chooses to express a threat – an expression of intent to harm another person/people in some way – using words or phrases which are superficially non-threatening, or at any rate ambiguous to the extent that an intent to harm is not stated explicitly. For example, given the right conditions one can infer threat from what are ostensibly simple statements of fact ('I know where you live'), questions ('Do you like hospital food?'), commands ('Sleep near the door from now on'), or even compliments ('That’s two lovely kids you’ve got there'). Indirect threats can also be formulated so that they look like warnings, often seemingly benevolent ones ('I wouldn’t show your face round here if you know what’s good for you') or pledges ('Go near my girlfriend again, and I promise I'll teach you a lesson you won’t forget').

At present the courts in the UK and in many other jurisdictions are content to make often highly subjective decisions about whether an utterance that is alleged to be a threat did indeed constitute an offence. The section of the UK Public Order Act (1986) that deals with threatening language behaviour is not at all specific about what counts as spoken or written language that serves to ‘threaten, abuse or insult’ someone. We therefore see a pressing need for objective empirical results that will help to provide a less arbitrary footing for the determination of the extent to which potentially incriminating utterances possess phonetic properties regularly associated with threatening behaviour, without having to rely so heavily upon contextual evidence or commonsensical interpretations of the materials in question.

Part of our programme of research involves looking at the degree to which different regional and social accents of English in the UK and US are perceived to possess intrinsic threat. It is known that some non-standard varieties spoken by members of working-class communities and ethnic minorities are associated with criminality and other forms of anti-social behaviour, but until now we have lacked any data concerning how threatening, menacing, aggressive or intimidating these varieties might sound to listeners, irrespective of other factors (such as what the talker is saying). Given the strong possibility that those involved in the criminal justice system - police officers, security personnel, triers-of-fact (judges, jurors, etc.) - are susceptible to biases stemming from these associations, and that their decisions with respect to guilt or innocence may be influenced by those biases, we believe it is vital to test in a controlled way the extent to which speakers of certain varieties are consistently rated as more 'threatening-sounding' than speakers of other accents/dialects.


 

Susan Sayehli, Lund University

8 December,  2015, 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

V2 word order in production and comprehension of a second language

Abstract:


There is ample evidence that word order is a problematic domain in the usage of a second language (L2). In particular, the verb-second (V2) phenomenon, which requires the finite verb in main clauses to appear in second position, has shown to be difficult to acquire (e.g., Ganuza, 2008 for an overview). In this talk, I will present results from studies on production and comprehension of these structures, trying to answer two research questions. (1) How does L2 production and comprehension relate to each other, and (2) which effects do the language learner’s previously learned languages have on the L2 acquisition of V2 word order. The presented studies make use of a variety of methods. I will present responses to word order violations in an acceptability judgement task and an ERP experiment. Furthermore, I will probe the production of word order in a sentence completion task, elicited imitations and spontaneous speech production. Preliminary results indicate that language background affects production and comprehension of L2 word order differently. I will discuss the implications of these findings for theories of cross-linguistic influence and theories of L2 syntactic processing and production.

 


 

 

Pamela Innes, University of Wyoming

1 December, 2015, 13.15-15.00 (N.B. "odd" week)

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

Reasons for Cautious Optimism about the Future of Icelandic

Abstract:

In 2008, the Icelandic Language Council produced an official language policy, partly out of concern that Icelandic was under threat from larger world languages, particularly English (Íslenska til alls 2008). Several writers and researchers explored various domains of use and have voiced concern that internationalization of business (Kvaran 2010; Þórarinsdóttir 2011), placing English among the first foreign languages introduced to children in school (Jeeves 2010) and its use in popular media (Hilmarsson-Dunn 2010) are creating openings through which English is becoming ever more present in the Icelandic linguistic landscape. Public concern about the reach of English is evident through news stories, editorials and conversations where the relative position of English in Icelandic society is raised as a topic. Yet as Albury (2014) argues, Iceland’s small size, close-knit social networks, history of linguistic purism and protectionism, and separation from continental Europe, have created an environment promoting retention and continued intergenerational transmission of Icelandic. In this presentation, I provide examples of popular media shows and practices demonstrating that purism and protectionism, powerful ideological forces in Iceland, are used to resist language loss.

Full abstract with references available here.


 

Kenneth Hyltenstam, Stockholm University

24 November, 2015, 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

Synnerligen avancerad (infödd?) behärskning av två språk

Abstract:

 

Varför skiljer sig unga och äldre andraspråksinlärare i hur ofta de uppnår inföddliknande eller nästan infödda nivåer i sitt andraspråk? Hur förhåller sig uppnådd slutnivå i andraspråket till bibehållandet av förstaspråket hos internationella migranter i olika åldrar? Vilka individ- och kontextrelaterade faktorer har störst prediktionsvärde för individers ”slutnivå” i andraspråket och förstaspråket? Vid Centrum för tvåspråkighetsforskning, SU, har ett antal forskningsprojekt studerat frågor av detta slag. Deltagarna har i nästan alla våra studier varit tvåspråkiga personer med spanska som L1 och svenska som L2. Kontrollgrupper på båda språken har genomgående involverats och vi har använt oss av ett omfattande batteri av eliciteringstekniker för språkuppgifter som täcker fonologi, grammatik och lexikal idiomaticitet i både produktion och perception. Resultaten visar framför allt robusta och signifikanta korrelationer mellan å ena sidan den nivå i språken som uppnåtts efter i genomsnitt drygt 20 års vistelse i andraspråksmiljön och å den andra sidan faktorerna ålder (startålder för andraspråksinlärning respektive ålder för reducerad exponering för förstaspråket) och ”aptitude”. Vi har även beaktat andra faktorers inverkan som vistelselängd och användningsgrad för L1. Både dessa och ett stort antal ytterligare faktorer får förutsättas tillsammans bidra till graden av uppnådd behärskning, men har var för sig låga korrelationer med behärskningsgrad. Vi tolkar våra resultat främst som effekter av mognadsbegränsningar snarare än som (tvärspråkliga) tvåspråkighetseffekter.

I mitt föredrag kommer jag att presentera en översikt över denna forskning och ge glimtar av ett antal olika analyser och resultat, bl a med avseende på produktion och perception av VOT i L2 (svenska) och L1 (spanska).


 

Visnawatha Naidu, new grad student in general linguistics at FLoV

10 November, 2015, 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

How do languages deal with a motion event? 

Abstract:

 Considerable cross-linguistic research has been reported on the topic of event conceptualization and verbalization in linguistics and related disciplines. One such domain that has received considerable amount of attention is the conceptualization of motion event. Leonard Talmy originally proposed a binary typology (Satellite-framed languages vs Verb-framed languages) based on the way languages lexicalize the concepts 'path' (and manner') in a motion event. His typology attracted immense cross-linguistic research that at the same time pointed out the limitations of the binary dichotomy to account for variability . In this presentation, I will present the motion event typology and its developments.


 

Mats Andrén, Linköping University

27 October, 2015, 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

More than semantics and pragmatics: Are (some) gestures part of language as a system?

Abstract:

 Is gesture to be considered part of language or not? The answer to this question depends in part on how one chooses to view, and to define, the term "language" — what features are singled out as criterial? The question is also empirical: Can we find one or another of these features that define language in gesture, at least in some gestures? Most gesture researchers would agree that gestures are frequently semantically and/or pragmatically coordinated with speech, as part of multimodal utterances, but many would still say that gesture is not part of language (as a system). During the presentation I will discuss these issues both from a conceptual and empirical point of view, and I will argue that some gestures are much more language-like than others, also in the traditional sense of language as a conventionalized system. Drawing on usage-based theories of language learning (e.g. Peters 1983; Tomasello 2003), where there is no binary division between lexical and structural aspects of language, but rather a continuum between these two poles, I will also argue that the notion of multimodal constructions (Andrén 2010; Andrén in press) can help us deal with these questions in a better way. Armed with this notion, the language membership question is no longer an either-or question, but rather becomes a question of "how?" and "how much?". This will be illustrated using longitudinal data of six Swedish children from 18 to 30 months, as they interact with their parents at home.


 

Karin Idevall, Uppsala University

13 October, 2015, 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

Debattera online

Abstract:

I min sammanläggningsavhandling undersöker jag politiska diskussioner och debatter för att se hur maktrelationer och normer skapas och återskapas i interaktion. I de delstudier som jag kommer att prata om under seminariet har jag analyserat kommentarsfält från olika plattformar på internet, bland annat Aftonbladet, Svt Debatt och Instagram. Jag har framförallt studerat hur rasism och vithetsnormer normaliseras genom språket i samspel med de tekniska aktörer som skapar den digitala kontexten för diskussionerna.

Under seminariet vill jag framförallt lägga fokus på hur språkande på internet kan studeras utifrån ett diskursanalytiskt perspektiv. I mina delstudier har jag använt aktör-nätverksteori (Callon 1986, Law 2009) som ett övergripande ramverk för att studera hur aktörer av olika slag – både mänskliga och icke-mänskliga – går samman och konstituerar de studerade kommunikationssituationerna och positionerna. För att analysera hur positioneringar och relationerna mellan dem uppstår i interaktion har jag i de olika delstudierna använt verktyg från olika språkvetenskapliga metoder, bland annat systemisk-funktionell grammatik (Halliday 1994), Appraisalteori (Martin & White 2005) och kategoriseringsanalyser (Billig 1985).

Utifrån de delstudier jag har gjort (se referenslistan) vill jag också diskutera både möjligheter och problem i språkvetenskapliga studier av kommunikation på internet. Hur långt räcker de metoder vi redan har? Vad utmärker interaktion som sker på internet från den interaktion som sker exempelvis när vi pratar med varandra? Och hur påverkar mediet våra förutsättningar för att uttrycka och etablera vissa perspektiv och åsikter?

Abstrakt med fullständiga referenser här


 

Sandra Jansen, University of Brighton

29 September,  2015, 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

Innovating Angloversals. The case of GOOSE-fronting

Abstract:

In this presentation, I demonstrate that goose-fronting has been identified as phenomenon in varieties of English around the world and provide detailed information about this change in Carlisle, a city in the north-west of England. The results show that similarly strong linguistic constraints are found in this variety as in other varieties. However, the change cannot be characterised as Vernacular Universals (Chambers 2004, 2012) or global innovation (Buchstaller 2008). Hence I argue that we need to introduce the new category of innovating angloversals, a group of features that are arising independently in varieties of English due to language internal motivations rather than dialect contact.

A second point of discussion is the dynamics between goose and other back vowels, i.e. goat and foot. I argue that in order to understand goose-fronting completely, we also need to study the most adjacent back vowels. The data stem from interviews conducted in Carlisle between 2007 and 2010 and show that while goose is fronting across apparent-time, for goat and foot a change in progress is not observable. These dynamics seem to be geographically restricted to the north-west of England which leaves us with two conclusions. Either the apparent chain shift which is often referred to in the goose-fronting context has not set in yet or a chain shift is not a necessary consequence of goose-fronting. In both cases, goat and foot do not belong the group of innovating angloversals.


Stephen Wechsler, University of Texas

15 September, 2015, 13.15-15.00

FLoV, Dicksonsgatan 4, Göteborg, Seminar Room, ground floor.

Title:

The pronouns "you" and "I":  Is self-ascription special?

Abstract:

When we utter a first person pronoun or hear a second person pronoun in speech addressed to us, we self-identify as the referent of the pronoun, and we self-ascribe some property: if someone says to Mary, ‘You dropped something’, then Mary identifies as the referent of the pronoun ‘you’, and she self-ascribes the property of having dropped something.  How, if at all, does the linguistic mechanism for self-ascription differ from the mechanism employed in ascribing properties to other individuals?

            In this talk I present evidence suggesting that language includes a special mechanism for self-ascription.  The evidence is drawn from a variety of sources.  Universally, first and second person plural pronouns have associative semantics, i.e. they fail to exclude reference to others (Wechsler 2010): Swedish ni, for example, can be used to address a single person in reference to that person and someone absent.  That follows if a second person pronoun induces the addressee to self-ascribe-- rather than ‘referring to the addressee(s)’, which is the more standard view.  Secondly, children with autism often have special problems with mastering first and second person pronoun use.  Assuming that autism involves a deficit in the ability to infer other people’s mental states (‘theory of mind’), then such children may be expected to encounter a special difficulty deciding whether another person is self-ascribing.  Recent research on the acquisition of Dutch second person pronouns also supports this view: self-ascription ‘attracts’ quoted second person pronouns (Köder 2015, Köder and Maier 2015).  Finally, reflexive pronouns (without person features) can serve as first or second person pronouns in some languages.

 

Seminars during spring term 2015

Tiago Timponi Torrent , Juiz de Fora, Brazil

10 February, 2015, 13:15-15:00

FLOV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Göteborg, Room T340

Title:

From Analyses to Computers: challenges of extending the Construction Grammar Models to the Computational Domain

Abstract:

In this talk, I discuss the extension of two Construction Grammar models to the computational domain: Berkeley Construction Grammar (Fillmore 2013) and Cognitive Construction Grammar (Goldberg 2006). Specifically, I present the two approaches for constructional inheritance used by those models to account for the relationships among constructions (full inheritance and normal inheritance, respectively), and then discuss how those proposals have been implemented computationally in the FrameNet Brasil Constructicon.

Another event with Tiago Timponi Torrent:


Tiago will also give a CLT seminar,  Monday 9th February at 13:15. Venue: L308 (Department of Swedish Language)

Title:

Graph Databases as means of addressing multilinguality and the continuity between grammar and lexicon in FrameNet Brasil

Abstract:

In this talk, I propose the usage of graph databases as a means of facilitating the integration of multilingual lexical and constructional resources in the FrameNet domain. Graphs have the advantage of modeling relations between objects in the database in a more direct and intuitive way, without the need to create unnecessary tables, indexes and relations aimed exclusively at connecting, for example, language specific representations of a conceptual system (frame), or entities belonging to different classes, such as frames and constructions. Additionally, graph databases are easily linkable to other kinds of external data, such as ontologies and open data sources.

 


Jan Svennevig, University of Oslo

17 February, 2015, 13:15-15:00

FLOV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Göteborg, Room T340

Title:

Information chunking in "foreigner talk"

Abstract:

In conversations between first and second language speakers the parties often have to put in extra effort to assure mutual understanding. Especially when the second language speaker has limited proficiency, the interlocutor will have to adjust his or her language and style to that level of proficiency. In this presentation I will present one such adjustment in the speech of first language speakers, namely the practice of chunking complex information into smaller units, referred to as “installments” (Clark 1996). In this practice speakers produce a short utterance that is recognizable as pragmatically incomplete and then leave a pause in which they monitor their interlocutor visually and aurally for displays of understanding. This creates a slot for the interlocutor to provide evidence of hearing and understanding, or, on the contrary, to initiate repair at an early stage in the complex turn under production. The study contributes to a specification of the verbal and non-verbal characteristics of speaking in installments and their function in second language interaction. The data analyzed comes from video recordings of workplace interactions.


Paul Foulkes, University of York (UK)

31 March, 2015, 13:15-15:00

FLOV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Göteborg, Room T340

Title:

The evolution of medial /t/ in real and remembered time

Abstract:

This presentation describes a sound change affecting New Zealand English word-medial intervocalic /t/. We present data from 98 speakers born over a period of 120 years. The rate of voiced variants ([d] and taps) increases across this period. Patterns of variation and change are shaped by a complex set of social, linguistic, lexical, and discourse factors. A number of these factors are not usually explored by studies on language variation and change, but are well predicted by usage-based models such as exemplar theory. Words which tend to be used more by younger speakers were overall ahead in the change, as were words used in discussions of recent events. There was also a robust interaction between year of birth and lexical frequency, providing concrete evidence in support of the claim that frequent words can lead reductive sound changes.


Christin Kirchübel, J P French Assoc, York (UK)

14 April, 2015, 13:15-15:00

FLOV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Göteborg, Room T340

Title:

Analysing the speech behaviour of truth-tellers and liars

Abstract:

Voice stress analysis based technologies, commonly known as Voice Stress Analysers, which are said to measure peoples’ veracity based on the speech signal, have come under a large amount of scientific scrutiny in recent years. Scientific reliability testing of these products has exclusively resulted in negative evaluations. While testing of these products is a necessary part of their evaluation, it is believed that a more fundamental step has been overlooked. Prior to examining the reliability of a test it should be ascertained whether the assumptions on which the test is based are valid. In other words, whether a relationship exists between deception, truth and speech, and if so, what the nature of this relationship is. The presentation will provide a summary of my research to date into the viability of using speech analysis as a means of differentiating between deceptive and non-deceptive speech.


Didier Maillat, University of Fribourg (CH)

28 April, 2015, 13:15-15:00

FLOV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Göteborg, Room T340

Title:

Where were we? Pragmatically disambiguating directional expressions

Abstract:

In this paper, I propose a pragmatic model for the disambiguation of directional expressions. In doing so I will touch upon the literature on spatial reference frames (see Levinson 2003, Levinson & Wilkins 2006, van der Zee & Slack 2006) by analysing the semantic properties of spatial directional prepositions (east of, behind, above, to the right of) and their pragmatic treatment. Assuming a semantically underdetermined model for spatial directionals which treats all of them – mutatis mutandis – as the spatial, exact semantic equivalent of a temporal preposition like before (see Kamp & Reyle 1993, Maillat 2003, 2005), I discuss and investigate some of the predictions made by a model which posits a double pragmatic disambiguation process that involves a) the assignment of a Frame of Reference (FoR: absolute, relative or intrinsic), and b) an implicature which ensures that the strongest candidate informationally gets selected (e.g. in a situation where a Figure object’s location is ambiguous between to the left of, in front of and above the Ground object). In this context the following predictions are tested.
First, I will use experimental evidence in a production task involving the description of visually ambiguous stimuli to test the validity of the second claim (b) within a cognitive-effect-based calculation of optimal relevance. The results show that subjects significantly rely on a cognitive notion of informational strength or salience to pragmatically solve the semantic underdeterminacy that is inherent to the semantics of spatial prepositions in the proposed model.
Second, assuming that the meaning of an expression like to the left of depends on the pragmatic assignment of a FoR, I will show that spatial relations expressed by means of directionals cannot – from a theoretical perspective – be transitive (i.e. if A is to the left of B, which is to the left of C, then A is to the left of C) in any FoR (contra Levelt 1993 amongst others).
Third, I will use cross-linguistic evidence (Levinson & Wilkins 2006) to argue that environmental factors affecting the FoR (for instance when the frontal axis is not at a right angle with the vertical axis) will bear, as predicted by the model, on the pragmatic disambiguation processes and might lead to an increased degree of spatial ambiguity. Such stress on the pragmatic process, it is argued, can induce a change in the range of uses for a given PP (Traugott & Dasher 2005).
Finally - and provided there is still time for it – I will show using further experimental evidence that a relevance-theoretic model of pragmatic disambiguation makes the correct predictions with respect to the effect that the size of the Ground object has on informational strength and how it affects the meaning of directionals.


 

Francesco Ursini, Stockholm University

5 May, 2015, 13:15-15:00 (N.B. "uneven" Tuesday)

FLOV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Göteborg, Room T340

Title

A UNIFIED ACCOUNT OF LITERAL AND METAPHORIC READINGS IN SPATIAL PREPOSITIONS

Abstract

The goal of this paper is to propose a unified analysis of literal and metaphoric senses of ‘spatial’ prepositions, and to show that formal theories of language can include insights from cognitive linguistics theories, thus reaching a broader empirical coverage. We aim to reach these two goals by showing that metaphoric and literal/spatial readings emerge as the compositional result of prepositions and prepositional phrases interacting with other parts of speech. We discuss four sub-set of data about the distribution of literal and metaphoric senses of spatial prepositions with measure phrases (ten meters), indexicals (here), temporal adverbs (in one hour), Boolean connectives (and). We show that our analysis, can account these data via a ‘theory of spatial P’ that can unify metaphoric and literal readings as semantic phenomena.


 

Mary Lavelle, Kings College, London

12 May, 2015, 13:15-15:00

FLOV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Göteborg, Room T340

Title:

Communication deficits in schizophrenia: A multi-modal analysis.

Abstract:

Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness affecting approximately 1% of the population. One of the most debilitating and persistent aspects of schizophrenia is patients’ difficulty engaging in social interaction with others. Alongside stigma, patients’ social deficits may contribute to the high rates of social exclusion they experience. However, the reason for patients’ social difficulties remains unclear. The aim of this research was to empirically investigate the patterns of communication that arise during patients’ social interactions with others, who are unfamiliar to them and unaware of their diagnosis. To achieve this, 40 triadic first meetings were motion captured and audio-visually recorded. Twenty interactions involved a patient and two healthy participants and 20 control comparisons, involved only healthy participants. Patterns of engagement, self-repair and nonverbal communication were compared across interaction conditions. The analysis and findings will be presented and the implications for patients’ broader social functioning will be discussed.


Elin Almér, University of Jyväskylä

26 May, 2015, 13:15-15:00

FLOV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Göteborg, Room T3

Title:

Bilingual children's beliefs about language and language learning

In this paper I present methodological aspects to take into consideration when developing quasi-experimental methods for investigating 3-5-year-old bilingual children’s beliefs about language, language use and bilingualism. I analyze participant observations and notes taken in the field as well as some recordings from experimental methods. The study focuses on bilingual Finnish-Swedish children in Swedish-medium preschools in Finland. At one of the schools most of the children and I did not share a common language, so the interactions between us heightened both the children’s language awareness and my own. This drew my attention to communicative aspects of embodiment and multimodality and to the distributed responsibility for interaction. I detected different interaction orders in which children’s agency stood out in their intention to make their voice heard, and I used my experiences to develop a data-generating approach to enhance communication about communication.

N.B. Seminar will be held in Swedish


 

Jenny Nilsson, Språkrådet, SOFI

9/6 2015, 13:15-15:00

FLOV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Göteborg, Room T3

Title:

Servicesamtalets koreografi – att inleda en serviceinteraktion

Abstract:

Forskningsprogrammet Interaktion och variation i pluricentriska språk (IVIP) har spelat in flera hundra svenska servicesamtal på video. Samtalen utspelar sig i biljettkassor, bibliotek och teatrar på olika orter i Finland och Sverige. Kännetecknande för dessa interaktioner är att en kund och en ur personalen gemensamt löser det ärende kunden har, samtidigt som samtalsdeltagarna skapar och upprätthåller de interpersonella relationer som krävs under det korta möte som samtalen innebär. De flesta samtal följer samma sekventialitet – öppnande med hälsningsfras, ärendepresentation, hantering av ärendet, avslutning och slutligen avskedsfras.

På seminariet kommer jag att fokusera på hur inledningen av servicesamtal organiseras i interaktionen och hur deltagarna anpassar utformningen av dessa efter varandra. Jag kommer att visa hur öppnandet av samtalet koreograferas, liksom hur personalen i många fall anpassar den språkliga utformningen efter kundens hälsningsfras. Jag kommer att diskutera resultaten ur ett interaktionellt perspektiv (se t.ex. Sacks et al 1974), med inspiration från ackommodationsteori (Giles & Smith 1979, Coupland 1984, Giles 2008) och forskning om gester i samtal (Kendon 1990).

Coupland, N., 1984. Accommodation at work: some phonological data and their implications. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 46, 49-70.

Giles, H., Smith, P. M., 1979. Accommodation theory: optimal levels of convergence. I: Giles, H, St. Clair, R. N. (red.), Language and Social Psychology, 45-65.

Giles, H., 2008. Communication accommodation theory: “When in Rome…” or not! I: Baxter, L. A. Braithewaite, D. O. (red.), Engaging Theories in Interpersonal Communication. Sage, Thousand Oaks, CA, 161-173.

Kendon, A., 1990. Conducting Interaction: Patterns of Behavior in Focused Encounters.

Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sacks, H., Schegloff, E. A., Jefferson, G., 1974. A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language 50, 695–735.

Bilingual preschool children’s beliefs about langua
ge use and language learning
Bilingual preschool children’s beliefs about langua
ge use and language learning
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Seminars during fall term 2014

Jenny Brusk, Högskolan i Skövde

9 December, 2014, 13:15-15:00

FLOV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Göteborg, Room T340

Title:

Steps Towards Creating Socially Competent Game Characters

Abstract:

Most of the roles the non-playable characters (NPCs) in a game inhabit are functionally motivated, for instance as shopkeepers to enable trade, enemies to offer challenges, or helpers of various kinds to support the player’s progression through the game. In this seminar I will present the design space of my PhD thesis and suggest ways in which language technology may be used to create NPCs that appear to be socially competent.


Mechtild Tronnier, Lunds Universitet & Elisabeth Zetterholm, Linnéuniversitetet

25 november, 2014, kl 13.15-15

FLOV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Göteborg, Room T340

Titel:

Betoningsmönster hos andraspråksinlärare som kan påverka interaktionen

Abstrakt:

Att lära sig den rytmiska strukturen i svenska visar sig vara ganska svårt för andraspråksinlärare oberoende av inlärarens modersmål. Med den rytmiska strukturen avses här hur betonade och obetonade stavelser produceras och fördelas i svenska ord. I vårt seminarium kommer vi att exemplifiera olika prosodiska mönster och hur dessa uttrycks av andraspråksinlärare.


Ali Reza Majlesi, FD, Linköping University

October 27, 2014 from 13:15 to 15.00
FLOV, Olof Wijksgatan 6, Göteborg, Room T340

Title:

Learnables in action: The embodied achievement of opportunities for teaching and learning in Swedish as a second language classrooms

Abstract:  

I am going to present my doctoral dissertation which is an empirical qualitative research study on the emergence of learnables in classrooms of Swedish as a second language. It adopts a dialogical and praxeological approach, and analysis is based on video recorded teacher-student interactivities in classrooms. Learnables are taken to be linguistic items or constructs that are displayed as unknown by students, or problematized by students or teachers, and therefore oriented to as explainable, remediable, or improvable. I will present some parts of the used data in which learnables are introduced in less planned classroom activities, either in passing, while continuing the current main activity, or in side-sequences. In these activities, teachers and students not only talk, but also use other embodied resources (e.g. pointing) or available artifacts (e.g. worksheets) to highlight linguistic learnables. Teachers and students use these resources for achieving and maintaining intersubjectivity as well as contributing learnables to the interactivities. I will show how through manifest embodied practices, abstract linguistic learnables become objectified, and knowledge about them gets organized in and through joint co-operative activities.