What did LangSoc get up to this year?

March 26th, 2016 by Emma

Now that the academic year is coming to an end, it’s time to look back on everything we did this year. We’ve had a great year — we hope you did too!

This year, we had a lot of great lectures from Edinburgh and from further afield. In case you missed them, here’s a quick recap:

23/09/15: Gaelic in Scotland: Current Issues and Controversies, by Wilson MacLeod and Rob Dunbar

07/10/15: Baby-Talk Words: Why we have words like ‘tummy’ and ‘choo-choo’, by Mits Ota

21/10/15: Near-relative linguistic contact – contrastive evidence from the history of English, by Robert McColl Millar (University of Aberdeen)

04/11/15: Secondary Linguistic Personality and associative effects in vocabulary mapping of L3, by Ekaterina Matveeva

18/11/15: Postgrad Mini Lecture Night, by Maki Kubota, Laura Arnold, James Reid, and Xin Chen

20/11/15: Reasoning with numbers in language, by Chris Cummins

02/12/15: The range of the possible in tone, by Bert Remijsen

13/01/16: Language and ideology in the sixteenth century: religion, politics, and spelling reform, by Jeremy Smith (University of Glasgow)

27/01/16: Pragmatic and linguistic effects on plural reference: a visual world study, by Eytan Zweig (University of York)

10/02/16: Re-inventing spelling in Middle English (Rhona Alcorn)

24/02/16: Simplicity versus evidence in phonological  change (Josef Fruehwald)

23/03/16: Tartan, haggis, and accents: the value of Scottish English to Scotland’s tourism economy (Lauren Hall-Lew)

We hope you enjoyed these lectures and learned something along the way!

In addition to lectures, we’ve also organised regular biweekly socials as well as the odd book sale this year. Here’s what you missed if we didn’t see you there:

30/09/15: Wug Crawl

14/10/15: Games Night

28/10/15: Halloween Craft Night

11/11/15: Karaoke

25/11/15: Quiz Night

02/12/15: Book Sale

20/01/16: ConLang Screening

03/02/16: Karaoke

04/02/16: Language Teaching Taster: Mystery and Methodology

02/03/16: Bowling

04/03/16: Book Sale

16/03/16: Wug Crawl

Thanks to everyone who came to our events, and we hope to see all of you next year! If you’re still craving more LangSoc, don’t worry — we’ve still got a few tricks up our sleeves:

30/03/16: Murder Mystery

21/04/16: Language Teaching Taster 2.0

27/04-29/04: Revision Sessions

11/05/16: DAVID CRYSTAL Guest Lecture

Hope to see you there, and if not, we’ll see you next year!

Tartan, Haggis, and Accents: The Value of Scottish English to Scotland’s Tourist Economy

March 20th, 2016 by Emma

It’s time for the final regular LangSoc lecture of the academic year! This Wednesday, Lauren Hall-Lew will be talking to us about the value of Scottish English to Scotland’s tourist economy. You can find out more from her abstract, which is as follows:
The last few decades have seen a rapid rise in studies documenting the commodification of language (e.g., Irvine 1989, Haeri 1997, Cameron 2000, Heller 2010, Duchêne & Heller 2012). This work, founded on Bourdieu’s (1977, et seq.) theory of the ‘linguistic marketplace’, shows how linguistic forms have over time become commodities that either give value to the material goods they accompany or are treated as directly exchangable for material wealth. The international tourism economy is one of the major contexts for scholarship in the study of linguistic commodification (e.g., Heller 2003, Thurlow & Jaworski 2010, Pietikäinen & Kelly-Holmes 2011, Gao 2012). Heritage tourism, where the travel goal is to experience cultural authenticity, is one area where non-standard linguistic varieties are being made available as products for consumption. In this talk I will report on my ongoing work on the commodification of language in the Edinburgh tourism industry.

Free for members, £2 for non-members

Doors at 18:00 for a 18:15 start — Wednesday 23 March — Appleton Tower

NB! This week we’re in LT1, not LT4 as usual.

Join us at Usher’s afterwards, and don’t forget to let us know you’re coming on Facebook!

Semester 2 Hoodie Orders!

March 9th, 2016 by Emma

This year LangSoc will be offering hoodies and t-shirts in six different models! Act fast, orders close Wednesday 16 March! The designs from previous years are available here, and you can also order a hoodie or t-shirt with this year’s winning design:

12180558_10206987635425993_1733272901_o

Also available this year is the design from the committee t-shirts:

Committee Lingwugstics

The various models on offer are

College Hoodie — £17
order here

JH001

see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Zipped Hoodie — £20
order here

JH050

see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Girlie Zipped Hoodie — £20
order here

JH055

see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Varsity Jacket — £20
order here

JH043

see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Unisex T-Shirt — £9
order here

GD05

see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Ladies V-Neck T-Shirt — £9
order here

GD78

see available colours here (hover for colour names)

LangSoc AGM

March 6th, 2016 by Emma

agm

 

Do you want to get more involved in LangSoc? Would you like the opportunity to be on the committee? Do you have bright ideas for how to take the society forwards in the next academic year? Come to our AGM!

All committee positions are up for re-election. Any member of the society can nominate someone or be nominated for any and all positions.

Wednesday 9 March — 16:30 — Appleton Tower LT4

Doing Language — Ronnie Cann — CANCELLED

March 6th, 2016 by Emma

Unfortunately, Ronnie Cann has had to cancel this lecture due to medical reasons.

doing language

This week’s LangSoc lecture will be given by Edinburgh’s own Ronnie Cann! His talk is titled ‘Doing Language’, and his abstract is as follows:

A characteristic feature of human language is it can be used to refer to situations, objects and other things that are not in the immediate context of an utterance. On the other hand, certain aspects of an utterance, written or spoken, depend for their interpretation on the context in which the utterance occurs. Expressions like here, now, she, that person depend on the context to identify what is meant while the import of clauses like ‘It’s hot in here’ or ‘I’ve got a headache’ depend on the social situation of the speakers and the situations they are engaged in for their precise interpretation. But context dependence goes beyond the use of demonstratives and the implication of additional meanings above and beyond what is said.

Human languages are all notoriously vague, with expressions characteristically only being partially expressive of a concept that we can nevertheless readily use and understand. As any cursory look at ‘real’ natural language data makes clear, whether spoken or written, languages display an endemic sensitivity to context so that meanings, intentions, and other information that they can convey may never be fully fixed despite our intuitions as users. This lack of fixed interpretations results, at least in part, from the fact that languages are inherently dynamic both in use and in intrinsic structure; and it is the underlying presumption that our language provides us with a ‘practice’ or process that allows us to exploit inherent context sensitivity for effective and generally efficient use of linguistic resources in acts of communication, even with ourselves. Notoriously, however, neither the property of context dependence nor that of dynamicity is adequately addressed by current theories of grammar.

In so far as any concept of context is defined, it is presumed to be relevant only within semantics, the theory of meaning; and any expression of dynamicity within the grammar is excluded in principle. In this talk, I argue, to the contrary, that both are central to understanding natural language in general and the grammatical properties of particular languages. Accordingly, I shall argue, the current view that languages are analysable as context independent objects is untenable and that a radical rethink of current approaches to grammatical theory is necessary if we are ever to understand the nature of human language.

Free entry for members, £2 for non-members.

Doors at 18:00 for a 18:15 start — Wednesday 9 March — Appleton Tower LT4.

Join us at Usher’s afterwards!

Language and Ideology in the Sixteenth Century: Religion, Politics and Spelling Reform

January 12th, 2016 by Emma

spelling2

Welcome to the second semester of the academic year!

This week’s LangSoc lecture will be given by Professor Jeremy Smith of the University of Glasgow, and it will be about language and ideology in the sixteenth century.

His abstract is as follows:

Since the late nineteenth century, spelling reform of the English language has become a minority pursuit, although the English Spelling Society still exists and indeed its American branch has picketed events such as Spelling Bees as recently as 2004. But no-one has been burned at the stake for adopting a particular English spelling-practice.
Things were rather different in the sixteenth century, and my paper will discuss how spelling became a vector of ideology during the Reformation, both in England and in Scotland.

Free entry for members, £2 for non-members.

18:00 doors for a 18:15 start — Wednesday 13 January — NB! This semester lectures will take place in Appleton Tower LT4.

As always, we’ll be going to Usher’s afterwards and everyone is welcome!

Don’t forget to let us know you’re coming on Facebook!

Extra-Special LangSoc Lecture!

November 18th, 2015 by Emma

numbers2

 

To celebrate a delegation of Dutch students visiting the University of Edinburgh, LangSoc is proud to present a special lecture in addition to our usual program! This lecture will be given by our very own Chris Cummins and will be about reasoning with numbers in language. His full abstract is as follows:
 
“There’s a substantial literature on the semantics and pragmatics of quantity expressions, including those involving number. This literature has only tangentially connected to the celebrated body of research on cognitive biases, which has been argued to show that humans are predictably irrational in certain aspects of reasoning. However, some pragmaticists have raised the concern that there are linguistic confounds in some of the most striking experimental demonstrations of human irrationality. In this talk I sketch some of the pragmatic inferences that are licensed by the use of expressions of numerical quantity, and consider how these might emerge in reasoning paradigms, and what implications this might have.”
 
Free entry for members, £2 for non-members. As always, we’ll be going to the pub afterwards — come along to socialise with Chris and with our guests!
 
Appleton Tower LT3 (NB! we’re in LT3 this time, not LT1 as usual) — 18:00 doors for a 18:15 start — Friday 20 November

Secondary Linguistic Personality and associative effects on vocabulary mapping in L3

November 3rd, 2015 by Emma

personality

Happy November and welcome to this week’s LangSoc lecture by Ekaterina Matveeva!
The talk will cover the research on the secondary linguistic personality in the process of language acquisition. Also questions related to the associative effects in vocabulary mapping in the process of L3 acquisition will be touched upon.

Free entry for members, £2 for non-members.

Doors open at 18:00 for a 18:15 start.

Appleton Tower — Lecture Theatre 1 — Wednesday 4 November

Tell us you’re coming on Facebook!

Hoodies!

October 21st, 2015 by Emma

This year LangSoc will be offering hoodies and t-shirts in six different models! The designs from previous years are available here, and you can also order a hoodie or t-shirt with this year’s winning design:

12180558_10206987635425993_1733272901_o

 

Also available this year is the design from the committee t-shirts:

Committee Lingwugstics

The various models on offer are

College Hoodie — £17
order here

JH001

 

see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Zipped Hoodie — £20
order here

JH050

see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Girlie Zipped Hoodie — £20
order here

JH055

 

see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Varsity Jacket — £20 (subject to change, will be confirmed ASAP)
order here

JH043

see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Unisex T-Shirt — £9
order here

GD05

see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Ladies V-Neck T-Shirt — £9
order here

GD78

see available colours here (hover for colour names)

LangSoc at Freshers Week 2015

August 9th, 2015 by Emma

Be sure to come say hi to LangSoc during and around Freshers Week this year! This is where you can find us:

  • Monday 07 September: University of Edinburgh Open Day — come visit our stand in George Square!
  • Sunday 13 September: Dialect Taster Session, 14:00-15:00, Teviot Underground.
  • Monday 14 September: Film Screening: The Linguists, 14:00-16:00, Teviot Study.
  • Tuesday 15 September: PPLS Societies Meet&Greet,15:00-16:30,  Venue TBC.
  • Wednesday 16 September: Societies Fair, 11:00-16:00, The Pleasance.
  • Thursday 17 September: Societies Fair, 11:00-16:00, The Pleasance.
    Meet&Greet, 19:00-21:00, Teviot Middle Reading Room. 
  • Friday 18 September: PPLS International and Visiting Student Welcome Brunch, 10:30-12:30, 7 George Square Basement Concourse.
  • Saturday 26 September: University of Edinburgh Open Day — come see us in George Square again!

Don’t be afraid to come up to us when you see us!