Last Thursday I gave two talks at University of Toronto: a Canada Research Chair-sponsored talk to the Linguistics Department ("Accents on the Move: What Mobile Canadians Reveal About Phonological Variation and Change") as well as a guest lecture in Sali Tagliamonte's graduate seminar on Stylistic Variation. The U of T linguists were a great audience in both cases!
In late September I gave a colloquium talk at the University of Michigan ("Style in a second dialect: Topic- and stance-based variation among mobile speakers"). Thank you to the linguists in Ann Arbor for being such wonderful hosts!
I am so excited to announce that I have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation to support a three-year project examining dialect variation and change in mobile speakers! You can read the abstract (written for public consumption) here; stay tuned to this site for more details as the project gets set up! (or find me during my talks & travels this semester)
This semester I'll be teaching two courses - one old, one new, both very exciting for me! (Click course titles for syllabuses)
LING 481 (Sociolinguistic Variation) is a graduate-level introduction to variationist sociolinguistics. This year I'm trying something different - instead of a series of articles, each tied to a narrow topic, the course will have two "anchor" texts - Labov (1966/2006)'s The Social Stratification of English in New York City and Penelope Eckert (2000's) Language Variation as Social Practice - complemented by additional readings. The idea is to work our way through the three "waves" of variation, revisiting questions such as how do we define coherent groups for study? And what causes/underlies variation? through different perspectives. Fortuitously, Eckert and Labov have just published a paper together in the most recent Journal of Sociolinguistics, which will really tie everything together near the end of the term. It's going to be a big class (20 currently enrolled) so I anticipate great discussions!
LING 400 is the Senior Thesis seminar, which I am leading for the first time as Director of Undergraduate Studies. Seven senior majors are enrolled in this year-long course, working on diverse topics such as the syntax of the left periphery in a dialect of Chinese, the discourse of online video chats, and how multilingual people acquire a third language. I love working with students on their own projects and guiding them through the research process, so I'm really looking forward to this year!