Spring 2021

2021 Spring Emory Linguistics Virtual Conference
Wednesday, May 5th at 12-1:30 EDT 
Contact Dr. Kim for Zoom Link & Questions
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small poster of Dr. Holliday's lecture includes title of lecture, date, time and photo of Holliday.
Dr. Nicole Holliday, University of Pennsylvania
Date: Thursday, March 25, 2021 @ 4:00pm Eastern Time
Location: Online via Zoom
Title: Sociolinguistic Variation and Identity Among Black/Biracial Men

Over the past 50 years, sociolinguistic studies on black Americans have expanded in both theoretical and technical scope, and newer research has moved beyond seeing black speakers as a monolithic sociolinguistic community (cf., Blake 2014). Yet there remains a dearth of critical work on complex identities existing within black American communities as well as how these identities are reflected and perceived in linguistic practice. In this talk, I will present results from three studies that expand our knowledge of the rich tapestry of linguistic features employed by speakers who have not been traditionally considered in the sociolinguistic literature. Using a corpus of data from 20 biracial men who variably identify as black and/or biracial, aged 18-32, in the Washington D.C. area, I examine the ways in which racial identity is constructed via the use of intonational variables such as variable pitch accents and peak delay intervals, as well as a suite of morphosyntactic features associated with AAL. Results of a number of Bayesian and frequentist models suggest that speakers employ both intonational and morphosyntactic variation in the service of performing highly individualized racial identities, with speakers who self-identity as more black being more likely to utilize intonational features associated with AAL. In a complementary study on morphosyntactic variation within the same corpus, results revealed variation primarily conditioned by interlocutor race, as opposed to speaker identity, demonstrating that these speakers use different levels of variation to do different types of identity work (Eckert 2008, Benor 2010). In particular, I focus on intonational variation in identity performance in discussions of situations with speaker perception of material risk, such as interactions with law enforcement. The results of these three studies expand our knowledge about how the complexities of speaker identity are reflected in sociolinguistic variation, as well as press on the boundaries of what we know about how speakers use variation to reflect who they are and who they want to be.

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Center for Mind, Brain and Culture, and the Department of Anthropology.

Honors Information Session
hosted by Dr. Yun Kim, Monday, Feb 15 at 8pm EST via Zoom.

Students interested in participating in the 2021-2022 Honor's program will need to attend this mandatory meeting

Fall 2020

Small version of the flyer announcing the lecture, includes title of the lecture, date and time along with a photo of Dr. Mendoza-Denton, from the shoulders up, outside, sunny day, smiling looking forward.

Dr. Norma Mendoza-Denton, UCLA
Date: Tuesday, October 20, 2020 @ 4:00pm Eastern Time

Location: Online via Zoom
Title: Crying, Control, and Masculinity in the Language of Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s speeches as president provide many examples of narratives of masculinity where he elevates himself as the pinnacle of virility, strength, and toughness. Wallace Chafe (1998) and other scholars (e.g. Norrick 1988) have written about the ways in which repeated tellings of the same story open a window not only into patterns of language, but also into the workings of the self. In the case of Trump, a revealing example of a narrative of masculinity is found in a series of retellings that Trevor Noah of The Daily Show compiled into the satirical Christmas video, “Trump’s Mythical Crying Man Yule Log” (The Daily Show 2018). In this video montage, a stone fireplace frames the center of an old-fashioned cathode-ray TV where video clips of Trump are gently licked by flames. The clips are taken from Trump’s campaign stops, speeches, and conversations with reporters, documenting fifteen distinct instances of Trump retelling the same story with minimal variations. The structure discernible in Trump’s narrative series is formulaic, with each instantiation filling in variable details, and recycled on many public occasions. Sometimes, the man is a steelworker, or a miner, or a farmer. Sometimes it’s a group of men who are crying. Occasionally there is one holdout in the group who does not cry. This man-crying-before-Trump sequence is a great example of not only a narrative of masculinity, but also a “comedic gesture,” where Trump dramatically drags his hands across his face to show copious crying (Goldstein, Hall and Ingram 2017). While it is well attested that politicians recycle narratives and inflect them to suit their audiences (Fenno 1978), Trump’s narratives go one step further, often revolving around self-aggrandizement, situating him as both the pinnacle and arbiter of toughness. The recurrence of this leitmotif is precisely what renders it an organizing narrative of Trumpian masculinity. 

Spring 2020

Sharese King
University of Chicago
Department of Linguistics

Date: Tuesday, March 3, 2020 @ 4:15pm
Location: Atwood Hall, Room  360

On Race and Place: Investigating stylistic variation in Rochester, New York

Recent explorations of regional variation across African American speech communities have brought to the forefront the linguistic heterogeneity across African American Language (AAL). Having problematized the presentation of AAL as a uniform variety (Wolfram 2007; 2015), intra-group analyses highlight the diverse social and linguistic constructions among African American speakers. In this talk, I zoom in on three personae local to the African American community in Rochester, New York, contextualizing each style against the backdrop of a post-industrial city in the Rustbelt region. I investigate how the three personae, The Mobile Professional, The Hood Kid, and The Biker recruit or reject vocalic patterns of the Northern Cities Shift to construct identities relevant to their social landscape. The findings challenge how we define the dialect, while also complicating our understanding of the relationship between race and language.

poster of Sharese King lecture on March 3, 2020.

David Malinowski
San Jose State University
Linguistics and Languages Development

Date: Monday, March 2, 2020 @ 1pm - 2:15pm
Location: Convocation Hall, Room  204
Lunch provided / RSVP by Thursday, Feb. 27 @

Identities, Histories, and Bodies in Place: Exploring the Linguistic Landscape in Three Dimensions

This talk will review three dominant paradigms of research in the field of linguistic landscape (the study of multilingualism in public spaces), while drawing lessons from each for language teachers and learners. The first paradigm, embodied in works such as Backhaus’ (2006) monolithic study of 12,000 signs in Tokyo, Japan, presents a synchronic view of competing cultural and political interests as they are visible in variables such as code choice, orthographic conventions, and the assumed pragmatic functions of signs. The second paradigm takes up the more recent qualitative turn in Linguistic Landscape Studies, whereby researchers utilize ethnographic and other qualitative methods in order to ‘look behind the signs’ into histories, cultures, and people’s lived experience in place (e.g., Lou 2016). In turn, the third paradigm raises questions about the diverse and sometimes invisible ways in which people make sense of themselves and each other, as seen through lenses such as affect and embodiment, virtuality and mobility, protest and social transformation, and imagination and memory.

I argue that, while these approaches are often presented in the literature as mutually incompatible due to their different assumptions and methods, for the purposes of language teaching, they can profitably be used together to develop learners’ multidimensional repertoires of strategies for perceiving, understanding, and transforming real-world discourses in place.

poster of David Malinowski's lecture on March 2, 2020