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News & Events

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• Current Weekly Colloquium Series schedule can be found on this page.

PhD Student Wins a Teaching Award

(April 29, 2017) PhD student Silvia Pisabarro Sarrió received the "Award for Outstanding Teaching Assistant" to acknowledge her dedication and enthusiasm in fulfilling her role as a Spanish Teaching Fellow at Pitt. The award was given by the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures during the evening reception in honor of all graduating students of the Class of 2017. View a photo here.

Journal Publication by a PhD student

(April 20, 2017) PhD student Héctor Ramírez-Cruz has published as first coauthor the article "'¡Uy!, ¿quién pidió pollo?' A qualitative analysis of the piropo practice by construction workers in Bogotá, Colombia" in the Journal: Sociolinguistic Studies, 10(4) (a special issue on Piropos and other forms of flirtatious street talk as contested discursive practices). A PDF of the full article is available upon request to the first author.

The Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Conference

(April 20, 2017) In celebration of Pitt's Year of Diversity, the linguistics department jointly hosted the Cultural and Linguistics Diversity Conference: Living and Working Together on March 29, 2017. It was attended by over 100 people from Pitt, UPMC and the community, with Dr. Valerie Kinloch delivering a keynote speech. Please see the conference site for details, and watch the documentary on YouTube.

Robert Henderson Endowment Award

(April 11, 2017) Congratulations to Patrick Fogarty, Cass Lowry and Xinqing Miao, who received the 2017 Robert T. Henderson Endowment Fund Award. The award was established to commemorate Robert T. Henderson, who was the director of the Robert Henderson Language Media Center.

LCTL Faculty in the News

(April 11, 2017) Kenny DeHaan, an ASL instructor at our Less-Commonly Taught Languages center, was featured in The Pitt News Silhouettes. The video notes he has already travelled to 39 different countries. A quote: "I strongly feel Deaf people are expert communicators because growing up they had to survive and adapt in a hearing centric world."

Faculty and Former Students at TESOL International Conference

(April 6, 2017) Current members of the Department of Linguistics, English Language Institute ( presented at International TESOL in Seattle, WA (March 21-25, 2017). ELI Director Alan Juffs presented “Foundations in (Applied) Linguistics and collaboration promote research at the Pitt ELI”, in which he discussed how to promote research in an Intensive English Program. Dr. Dawn E. McCormick and Betsy Davis presented ‘Enriching Vocabulary Learning through the Involvement Load Hypothesis’; Brianne Harrison, Rob Mucklo and Ece Ulus presented ‘Engaging Students Outside the Classroom: Extracurricular English’ and Christine O’Neill and Heather McNaught presented “Engaging in Accreditation: Benefits to the Profession, Program, and Reviewer’. Former Pitt student and Director of the Roosevelt University English Language Program Susanne McLaughlin presented ‘Vlogging: Putting Technology to Good Use in Language Classes’ with Jane Curtis. Former student Janine Carlock presented ‘Guiding International Students through the Research Paper’, related to our Pitt Series in ESL. Alan Juffs also announced the winner of the University of Pittsburgh Travel Award, which honors the memory of two former professors and ELI Directors, Edward M. Anthony, Jr. and Christina Bratt Paulston.

Faculty, Students and Alumni at AAAL Conference

(March 28, 2017) Five current members and graduates of Pitt linguistics presented original research at the American Association for Applied Linguistics (AAAL) conference in Portland, OR (March 18-21). Dr. Matt Kanwit presented "Interpreting the copula contrast in native and second-language Spanish: What we know is not always spoken" in collaboration with Dr. Kimberly Geeslin of Indiana University. Current doctoral student Matthew Hadodo presented a poster entitled "Large difference/little difference: Istanbul Greek [ɫ] and language ideologies," and current MA student Cass Lowry presented his poster "The morphosyntax of Georgian Heritage Language Speakers: A developmental analysis of narratives." Graduates of Pitt Hispanic Linguistics Dr. Nausica Marcos Miguel (Assistant Professor at Denison University) and Dr. Paul Toth (Associate Professor at Temple University) also presented recent projects.

Publication in JASA

(March 23, 2017) PhD student Zhaohong Wu and faculty Marta Ortega-Llebaria's article "Pitch shape modulates the time course of tone vs pitch-accent identification in Mandarin Chinese" has been accepted for publication in The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America (JASA). The article is a revised version of Zhaohong's second comprehensive paper under the supervision of Dr. Marta Ortega-Llebaria. The paper showed that the f0-shape, as defined by pitch dimensions of f0 and pitch range, mediates the timing of tone and pitch-accent identification in meaningful speech supporting highly interactive models of speech perception.

PhD Student Wins Three Minute Thesis Competition

(February 23, 2017) PhD candidate Noriyasu Harada Li won first place, Humanities Division, in the Three Minute Thesis Competition hosted by the Graduate Students office that took place on February 22, 2017. His presentation was on his dissertation, titled "The Interpretation and Processing of the System of Japanese Reflexives". The 3MT, originally developed by the University of Queensland in 2008, is a competition where contestants condense their research into a three minute, one-slide presentation for a non-specialist audience.

Pitt Linguists at LSA 2017

(January 12, 2017) The Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America took place January 5th-8th in Austin, TX. The conference included presentations by the following Pitt linguists (in alphabetical order by last name). Lauren Collister presented a poster entitled "Tell the Story of Data with Metrics" as part of a symposium and panel discussion on Data Citation and Attribution for Reproducible Research in Linguistics. Jevon Heath presented a poster entitled "How automatic is phonetic convergence? Evidence from working memory". There was a session on case studies based on the archival collections of Professor Emeritus Terrence Kaufman. This session was held as part of the meeting for the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas, one of the sister societies that meets jointly with the LSA. Holman Tse's presentation was entitled "Heritage Language Maintenance and Phonological Maintenance in Toronto Cantonese Monophthongs? -- But They Still Have an "Accent"!". This talk was live tweeted by the Ling Space, an educational project with the goal of making linguistics fun and accessible through YouTube videos and blog posts. Check out their tweets. Kirk Hazen (Professor of Linguistics at West Virginia University) also posted a photo of the talk.

New Journal Publication by PhD Student

(January 6, 2017) PhD student Héctor Ramírez-Cruz has published his article '¡No manches, güey! Service encounters in a Hispanic American intercultural setting' in the Journal of Pragmatics. The article is a revised version of his second comprehensive paper, which he carried out under the supervision of Dr. Shelome Gooden and Dr. Scott Kiesling. In this paper, Héctor investigates food service encounters of Hispanic service providers and Anglo-American and Hispanic customers in a taco shop in Pittsburgh, PA. The paper provides empirical evidence for positioning stance-taking as a crucial activity in intercultural communication settings and makes a thoughtful contribution to the investigation of stances from a sociolinguistic perspective. Congratulations to Héctor on his very important achievement of publishing in one of the top journals in our field.

Against Hate Speech

(November 21, 2016) In response to incidents of hate speech reported nationwide following the outcome of the presidential election, Department Chair Shelome Gooden released a memo outlining our department's stance against hate speech and reporting guidelines. Please read it here.

Hispanic Linguists at Conference

(October 11, 2016) Eight current and former members of the Pitt Hispanic Linguistics community presented research at the Hispanic Linguistics Symposium at Georgetown University, October 7-9, 2016. Current department members Virginia Terán and Dr. Marta Ortega-Llebaria presented on the intonation of neutral interrogatives in the Spanish of Tucumán, Argentina; and Silvia Pisabarro Sarrió and Dr. Matt Kanwit presented on variable morphosyntactic intensification in the Catalan and Spanish of Tarragona, Spain. Dr. Kanwit also presented on the L2 acquisition of variable intensification by study abroad learners in Spain and Mexico (with collaborators from Indiana University). Recent department graduates Dr. Carrie Bonilla (George Mason University), Dr. Nausica Marcos Miguel (Denison University), Dr. Michael Olsen (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point), and Dr. Paul Toth (Temple University) also presented original research projects.

Pittsburgh-Jamaica Connection

(October 4, 2016) Hector Ramirez-Cruz and Dr. Shelome Gooden presented papers at the 21st Biennial conference of the Society for Caribbean Linguistics in Jamaica August 1-6, 2016 at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. Their research highlighted prosodic variation in Jamaican Creole and issues related to Ethnolinguistic vitality in the Creole in San Andrés and Providencia. The Pittsburgh UWI-Mona link has a long history as Professor Emeritus Terrence Kaufmann was an attendee at the very first Creole linguistics meeting in the 1960s and Gooden herself studied at UWIMona. You can see photos of the two presenters here.

Obituary: Dr. Christina Bratt Paulston

(September 26, 2016) The Department of Linguistics is sad to announce that Professor Emeritus Christina Bratt Paulston passed away on September 22, 2016. She will be missed by her colleagues and friends in the Department. Please see this obituary penned by Dr. Alan Juffs, director of ELI. A remembrance and celebration of Professor Paulston’s contributions to the University of Pittsburgh and the field of linguistics will be held at the Heinz Chapel, University of Pittsburgh, on December 13, 2016.