The MSU Sociolinguistics Lab was well represented at the NWAV 51 conference at Queens College, New York, October 13-15, 2023. We had presentations on some of our first analyses of linguistic data from the MI Diaries project: Dr. Betsy Sneller presented as first author on a talk about Michigan English vowel change in apparent time, and Linguistics PhD students Adam Barnhardt and Yongqing Ye presented their doctoral qualifying paper research on adolescent stance-taking and vowel nasalization respectively. In addition, we had a poster that described our experience of building the MI Diaries ‘brand’ over the last three years. We were pleased to include new first year Second Language Studies student Shannon Harasta, who presented her MA thesis research (Southern Illinois University, Carbondale) on queer individuals’ sense of (dis)comfort with various audiences. And it would not be NWAV without a gathering of MSU Socio Lab alumni and associates, such as Dr. Monica Nesbitt (U Indiana Bloomington), Jack Rechsteiner (U Pittsburgh), Chun-Yi Peng (Borough of Manhattan Community College) and Jayce Garner (Pomona College and MI Diaries NSF-REU 2022).
We’re delighted to welcome Dr. Irina Zaykovskaya back to the MSU Sociolinguistics Lab as a Visiting Research Scholar!
Irina holds a Ph.D. in Second Language Studies from Michigan State University. Because her research interests lie at the intersection of second language acquisition and sociolinguistics, she was an active SocioLab member during her time at MSU, stayed in touch with the Lab after graduation, and even participated in the MI Diaries project in its early days as a Facebook page manager.
Irina’s dissertation project revolved around the acquisition of variation: specifically, the acquisition of discourse pragmatics by non-native speakers of English. Using a combination of interviews/surveys and experimental methods, Irina investigated how speakers from various L1 backgrounds use remarkable (vernacular) like, what beliefs about and attitudes towards it they possess, and whether they pattern with native speakers in judging the naturalness of like in different syntactic positions. Her most recent paper is to appear in Multifunctionality in English: Corpora, Language and Academic Literacy Pedagogy.
During her upcoming SocioLab sojourn, Irina is planning to continue her work on variation in the second language, join the MI Diaries project team, and hold regular office hours (online and offline) to offer help and mentorship to all sociolinguistics students.
You can read more about Irina on her personal website.
Irina Zaykovskaya (PhD 2019) and Suzanne Evans Wagner are co-convening a colloquium at this week’s Second Language Research Forum (SLRF) conference, hosted by Michigan State University’s Second Language Studies program. The colloquium, held on Friday, September 20th, is titled: Catching interlanguage in action: When SLA meets language variation and change. The goal is to bring together researchers who study second language acquisition of sociolinguistic variation, using quantitative (and often also qualitative) methods.
Irina’s PhD studies were in the Second Language Studies program, but she took a graduate course in sociolinguistics with Suzanne in 2014, and subsequently decided to take a variationist sociolinguistic approach to her work. Suzanne became her co-advisor, and Irina defended her dissertation (on L2 acquisition of US English vernacular like) in 2019. Researchers like Irina, who work at the interface of SLA and LVC, are still quite rare. SLRF seemed to be a good opportunity to inform other SLA scholars about the insights afforded by LVC approaches. To further support this initiative, Irina has created an online resource hub for people interested in SLA+LVC.
The Linguistics program‘s latest Colloquium speaker was Rebecca Roeder (UNC Charlotte). Roeder graduated with a PhD in Linguistics from MSU in 2006, under the direction of Dennis Preston. Her colloquium talk was titled “The role of PALM in the low back merger: Theory and evidence”. We were lucky to also get some time with Becky in the Sociolinguistics Lab, where we talked about the phonology and sociolinguistics of the Canadian Shift/Third Dialect Shift/Elsewhere Shift/etc, which Becky has been studying in the Canadian context, while we’ve been tracking it here in Michigan.
It was great to have Becky back at Michigan State!