Category Archives: Events

All events run by the society.

Wug Crawl: Part II

Come and join us for the first social of the semester – the wug crawl!

Join LangSoc for a great night on the town exploring some of the fun pubs Edinburgh has to offer! Everyone is welcome! We are meeting at Boteco (across from Bristo Square) at 8!

 

 

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Sounds and letters we don’t remember: The mystery of second language word recognition

Welcome to the first LangSoc lecture of the second semester! The lecture will be given by Edinburgh’s own Mits Ota. The lecture is titled “Sounds and letters we don’t remember: The mystery of second language word recognition” and the abstract can be found below.

“Remembering words in a foreign language can be a challenge when they contain sounds that don’t exist in your native language. Can we expect this problem to go away once you have mastered those new sounds? In this talk, I will draw on my own research to shed light on this question, and more broadly, on the issue of what happens in our mind when we learn, store and access the sound forms of second language words.”

Please note that this semester’s lectures are in LT1, not LT2 like last semester.

Doors at 18:00 for an 18:15 start.

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

Don’t forget, everyone is invited to join us at the pub after the lecture!

 

 

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FamiLing Cafe Tour

Are you new to Edinburgh, want to meet new people, or just like cafes? Come along to our Cafe Tour of Edinburgh!

Meet us outside Teviot at 11AM, we will be holding the FamiLing banner! We will then go for a walk around Edinburgh, stopping at some cafes on the way! Highlights will include: Elephant House, Elephants and Bagels and Black Medicine! We will also give a quick tour of the campus and a walk to the castle and Royal Mile to help any exchange students get their bearings.

This is a free event, but please bring along some money if you would like to buy any drinks or snacks.

 

 

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LangSoc Festive Meal!

Celebrate the end of term and take one last breath before exams! Enjoy a three course meal at the very festive 56 North (Pole!, hehe) and gather round a table with friendly faces before we venture off into 2017 and beyond! The 3 course holiday meal will cost £23 and the enjoyment will be free! IMPORTANT: In order to reserve your seat you MUST MESSAGE me, Charlotte Manning. Hope to everyone there along with some new faces! Happy Happy Holidays everyone!!

The meal will be on the 7th December at 7pm.

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Language change: diversity and directionality

For the last lecture of the semester (30th November) we will have a talk by Nik Gisborne. He will be talking about language change, with the following abstract:

Why are human languages so diverse when humans must all have the same cognitive structures, and the same communicative needs? Where does the diversity come from? And what do we make of the fact that language change often appears to be directional? How is it that we can see general trends in how languages change?

In this talk, I discuss some joint work I’m doing with Rob Truswell which sets out to explain why the Indo-European languages, and some other languages in the same geographical area, have relative pro-forms (such as the who in I dislike the man who stole the election), when these proforms are very rare cross-linguistically. Along the way, I’ll speculate wildly about language acquisition, language contact, and the sources of directionality in language change. The main claim will be that small changes in the lexical specifications of words can lead to apparently big diachronic processes.

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

Everyone is welcome to join us at the pub afterwards!

18:00 doors for an 18:15 start.

 

 

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LangSoc Karaoke Night!

Join LangSoc on the 23rd November to celebrate and unwind amid the fall assessment dreary! Congregating in front to Teviot at 20:30 with pre-drinks at Boteco’s welcome to all, starting at 19:30 for some liquid encouragement with half priced coctails! £5 cover fee for the night!

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Speech accommodation in international workplaces

On 16 November, Claire Cowie will give a lecture on speech accommodation theory and phonetic convergence in professional settings, especially outsourced call centres. Her abstract can be found below.

Accommodation theory predicts that in service encounters, the agent is likely to converge
linguistically towards the customer (Coupland 1984). Yet this prediction has not been tested in the more recent context of outsourcing which has brought about new situations of dialect contact on the telephone.

In this study speakers of Indian English complete a maptask (Anderson et al 1991, Brown 1995, Lindemann 2002) on the telephone with a speaker of American English, in order to determine whether they converge towards American English variants. This is tested for a phonological variable for which there is a distinct American English variant and a distinct Indian English variant, namely the BATH vowel. These variables appear in the landmark names of the maps (staff room, biology class etc.). Sixteen Indian participants from an IT company based in Pune described a route around a map to an American (based in the UK) and a fellow Indian in the control. Half of the Indian participants regularly deal with customers or colleagues in the US on the telephone (the “exposure” group), and the other half do not work with Americans at all. For each Indian-American call the American English speaker read out a list of the landmarks prior to the task to prime the Indian participant.

Most speakers showed some convergence in the BATH vowel, after taking phonetic environment and word frequency into account. For certain speakers fronting was consistent, but for most there was evidence of some “shadowing” without actual convergence. Level of fronting did not depend so much on time spent on calls as attitudes towards the American interlocutor, and interaction with Americans in and outside of India.

This experimental setting allows us to assess convergence in the absence of any explicit instructions to adopt American pronunciation, which are sometimes directly or indirectly present in Indian call centres (Cowie 2007, Cowie and Murty 2010, Poster 2007). There is also value in determining whether convergence is likely in an essentially co-operative encounter between these two groups of speakers.

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

Everyone is welcome to join us at the pub afterwards!

18:00 doors for an 18:15 start.

 

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