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).
MSU Grandparents University is an opportunity for grandparents and grandchildren (ages 8-12) to come together for a three-day educational experience while spending time together on the MSU campus in the summer. This past summer, MSU Sociolinguistics led two courses.
As usual, we ran Harry Potter and the Secrets of British English, which has been a hit at Grandparents University since 2009! In this session, participants are whisked off to Hogwarts for classes in Potions (British/US English madlibs), Charms (IPA transcription), Defense Against the Dark Arts (British regional accents) and History of Magic (a brief lecture on language change).
And we had a new course: Diary of a Michigan Kid. In this class, we taught participants about keeping an audio diary, pronunciation differences, and generational differences in language. All of the activities and materials were co-designed by faculty and students on the lab’s MI Diaries project team. We think that the “Kids vs Grands” activity was the most fun. See below for some pictures from Diary of a Michigan Kid.
Jack Rechsteiner (Linguistics M.A.) and Betsy Sneller recently had a paper accepted to ICPhS (International Congress of Phonetic Sciences) for a poster presentation. The paper is titled “The impact of social information on VOT shadowing by nonbinary speakers”. The conference will be hosted in Prague, Czech Republic on August 7-11, 2023.
Congratulations, Jack and Betsy!
On April 11th, 2023, Dr. Betsy Sneller, co-director of the Sociolinguistics Lab and MI Diaries project lead, gave a talk as one of the panelists for the Honors College public series, Sharper Focus/Wider Lens. The talk is titled “COVID: Looking Back, Looking Forward”. She was joined by other panelists discussing research developed during COVID-19. Betsy’s talk discussed how MI Diaries grew as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.
One of our lab co-directors, Dr. Suzanne Wagner, received a grant to spend a month in University of Duisberg-Essen in Germany. Congratulations Suzanne!