Journal Club looks backward and forward


By Andries W. Coetzee
Apr 14, 2013 Bookmark and Share

Lorch Hall

Lorch Hall, the home of UM Linguistics

This academic year has seen the addition of a new discussion group to our Department - the Journal Club. The Journal Club was founded with the specific goal of discussing research in linguistics that cuts across traditional subdisciplinary boundaries, and to foster interaction between faculty and students from different areas of specialization in the Department. This is part of our Department's ongoing effort to bridge the divide between the subdisciplines in linguistics, and to progress to a fuller understanding of the amazing human capacity for language. 

Over the course of the year, the Journal Club has met five times, with the sixth and final meeting for the year scheduled for this Friday. We have discussed research on topics ranging from how the usage of words shape their meaning, to the evaluation of evidence in syntactic research, to the nature of the cognitive representation of phonological categories, to the influence of language contact on syntactic grammar in Quebec-French, and more. A list of some of the papers discussed at Journal Club meetings this years is given below. The Journal Club has been well attended throughout the year by a mix of students and faculty, sometimes attracting upwards of 20 participants. Considering that our schedules are already full and the Journal Club meets at 4 pm on Fridays (!), the large number of people who regularly attend is a testament to value that these meetings provide.

Part of our final meeting this Friday will be dedicated to assessing the success of the Journal Club at the end of its first year of existence, and to plan for how to move forward with the Journal Club. If you are interested in helping us decide on the future of the Journal Club, or if you just want to learn more about what the Journal Club does, please come to this week's meeting.

List of (some of the) papers discussed at Journal Club meetings this year

  • McConnel-Ginet, Sally. (2008) Words in the world: how and why meanings can matter. Language, 84(3):497-527.
  • Pierrehumbert, Janet. 2001. Stochastic phonology. Glot, 5:195-207.
  • Poplack, Shana, Zentz, Lauren & Dion, Nathalie. 2012. Phrase-final prepositions in Quebec-French: An empirical study of contact, code-switching and resistance to convergence. Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 15(2):203-225.
  • Burnham, Denis, Christine Kitamura & Uté Vollmer-Conna. (2002) "What's up, Pussycat?  On talking to babies and animals." Science, 296:1435.
  • Gibson, E. and Fedorenko, E. (2010). Weak quantitative standards in linguistics research. Trends Cognitive Science, 14(6):233–4.
  • Sprouse, J., Schutze, C., and Almeida, D. (2011). Assessing the reliability of journal data in syntax: Linguistic inquiry 2001-2010. Ms., Irvine.
  • Gibson, E., Piantadosi, S. T., and Fedorenko, E. (2013). Quantitative methods in syntax/semantics research: A response to Sprouse and Almeida (2013). Language and Cognitive Processes, 28(3):229-240.