All posts by Emma

Secondary Linguistic Personality and associative effects on vocabulary mapping in L3


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

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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:



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



see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Zipped Hoodie — £20
order here


see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Girlie Zipped Hoodie — £20
order here



see available colours here (hover for colour names)

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


see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Unisex T-Shirt — £9
order here


see available colours here (hover for colour names)

Ladies V-Neck T-Shirt — £9
order here


see available colours here (hover for colour names)

LangSoc at Freshers Week 2015

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!

“Silencing; or, Do trolls just wanna have fun?” – Professor John E. Joseph

Silencing; or, Do Trolls Just Wanna Have Fun? – Professor John E. Joseph – Wednesday, 1 April – 18:00-19:15 – Appleton Tower LT1


Professor John E. Joseph will be joining us for our last talk of the semester. In this lecture he will be tackling the issues of trolling and cyber-bullying, and what it means in the context of the role and function of language.


[“Silencing; or, Do trolls just wanna have fun?”
John E. Joseph, University of Edinburgh

Research on cyber-trolling has turned up conflicting results, reflecting the deep divide between those who see it as the essentially harmless construction of an on-line pseudo-identity meant to provoke ‘lulz’, and others for whom it is harrassment, threatening behaviour that should be criminalised. The Cambridge historian Mary Beard, who has been on the receiving end of cyber-bullying, experienced it as an attempt at silencing women who have a public platform, and has located it within a tradition that extends from Homeric epic through to her own tormentors. She has furnished me with original screenshots of some of the most disturbing texts she received (Caution: they are not for the faint-hearted), and it is these that we shall examine and analyse within the framework of some basic questions: What is the fundamental function of language? Under what circumstances is it ethical or necessary to silence another? Is there a generational gap in the perception of cyber-trolling, and if so, why?]

Entry free to members, £1 for non members.

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Parenting Style: From Preschool to Pre-adolescence in the Acquisition of Variation — Dr. Jennifer Smith

Parenting Style: From Preschool to Pre-adolescence in the Acquisition of Variation — Dr. Jennifer Smith — Wednesday 18 March — 18:00-19:15 — LG.09, David Hume Tower

langsoc cover

Dr. Jennifer Smith, of the University of Glasgow, will be talking to us about the overlap of sociolinguistics and child language acquisition in the context of styleshifting.

[Jennifer Smith & Sophie Holmes-Elliott

Labov (2001:437) observes that ‘children begin their language development with the pattern transmitted to them by their female caretakers, and any further changes are built on or added to that pattern.’ More specifically, ‘Linguistic variation is transmitted to children as stylistic differentiation on the formal/informal dimension….Formal speech variants are associated by children with instruction and punishment, informal speech with intimacy and fun’ (ibid). The further development in sociolinguistic norms arises when ‘children learn that variants favoured in informal speech are associated with lower social status in the wider community’ (ibid) and ‘later acquisition of superposed dialects’ (Labov 2013:247).

Our previous research on preschool children (2-4 year olds) in interaction with their primary caregivers (Smith et al 2007, 2009, 2013) showed that the caregivers used systematic patterns of styleshifting from vernacular to standard with some variables (1) but not with others (2). These patterns of (non)styleshifting were transmitted to the children who faithfully replicated the patterns in their own speech.

1. (child) Are we gan to Isla’s? (caregiver) Uhuh. (child) Are we? (caregiver) Later on, aye. (child) Say yes or no. (caregiver) Aye…yes. (child) No, say yes or no. (caregiver) Yes.

2. (child) Is there pens in there? (caregiver) Aye, there is. (child) My paints are in there.

What happens to these patterns of (non)styleshifting once the children move from the vernacular dominated norms of the home to the standard dominated norms of the school?

To tackle this question, we returned to the original preschool children now in pre-adolescence (11-13 years old). In order to tap the boundaries of styleshifting between vernacular and standard, we recorded the speakers with a) a community insider who uses the local vernacular and b) a community outsider who uses a very standard dialect and replicated the analyses of variables carried out eight years earlier.

In analysing the results, we appeal to Labov’s (1993, 2008) sociolinguistic monitor in interpreting the (lack of) development of styleshifting from preschool to preadolescence, and indeed in later life.]

Free for members
£1 entry for non-members

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