Linguistics Department Weekly Newsletter

Volume -1       EXAMPLE March 1 – 7, 2007 (or so)

This is the introduction, with any very important news item first.


  1. Upcoming Events (New this week)
  2. Fellowships, Jobs and Grants
  3. Conferences
  4. Colloquia and Talks
  5. [Department News [only at beginning and end of year, most likely]]

1. Upcoming Events

Registration for Spring 2007

For all new and continuing graduate students in your program who have not yet registered, please encourage these students to register for the 2007 spring semester by Thursday, January 4th, at the latest. (The late registration fee will be assessed beginning Friday, January 5th.) If you discover that a student is not term activated for the spring term, please contact my office as soon as possible.

        Please note that the Office of the Registrar has discontinued in absentia registration.

Job Talk: “Input-driven Model of Second Language Acquisition”

Zheng Xu

SUNY Stony Brook



Wednesday, March, 7, 2007


Oak Room, IMU



"An Input-driven Model of Second Language Acquisition"


 Second language learners show differential difficulties in acquiring sound structures of target languages. It has been commonly observed that structures which seem to be more difficult to acquire are frequently those that are characterized as more marked (Eckman 1977). Markedness is an implicational relationship: the presence of the more marked entity, e.g., voiced obstruent codas ([b]), implies the presence of the less marked entity, e.g., voiceless obstruent codas ([p]), but not vice versa. In the literature on markedness and difficulty of acquisition, little attention has been paid to the acquisition order of final obstruents and other final consonants.


          I present an experimental study of Mandarin Chinese speakers' acquisition of English  final voiced and voiceless obstruents and labial nasal ([m]), none of which occur in Mandarin Chinese codas. I compare the experimental results with a simulation using an input-driven model of language acquisition (Boersma and Hayes 2001) which assumes that learning starts from the native language grammar and the acquisition order is determined by both the type and number of target language inputs. I show that this model correctly predicts both the decreasing interference from the Mandarin Chinese grammar and the order of acquisition of word-final    obstruents (voiceless before voiced). It also predicts that voiced obstruent codas are acquired before labial nasal codas, because labial nasal codas are less frequent in English. But, contrary to this prediction, speakers in fact made fewer errors with final labial nasals than with final voiced obstruents. Several alternative accounts of the order of acquisition of final obstruents and labial nasals are compared and it is argued that the Mandarin learners' pattern can be understood with reference to perceived rather than absolute frequency of input structure types.

2. Fellowships, Jobs and Grants

AI Applications

Any AI applications need to be turned in to Jan (MM322) by March 9 (5:00 p.m.).  If you would like to fill out a form, please stop by Jan’s office and pick up one.

Graduate Student Associates in Discipline-Based Scholarship in Education, 2007-08

Indiana University’s Center for Education and Society (CES) is pleased to invite applications for graduate student associates in its Discipline-Based Scholarship in Education (DBSE) training program, funded by the Spencer Foundation. We anticipate supporting up to ten students as associates in 2007-08. Each position carries a stipend of $2000/year that can be used for research expenses or as a general supplement to a student’s primary form of support.


We invite applications from doctoral students in the School of Education, in history, and in any social science department whose research goals are consistent with the DBSE objectives (see below) and who are doing research on education that is informed by social science theories and methods and that speaks to policy and practice issues. As described in more detail below, we are looking for “mid-career” graduate students: those who have completed most of their coursework but are not yet in the later stages of their dissertations. Research associates will be required to participate in the CES colloquium series, participate in a seminar that meets throughout the academic year, and present their research in one of these forums. Students who are doing independent research, are in the preliminary stages of dissertation planning, or are in the early stages of their dissertation research are especially urged to apply. Because this program is intended to provide a training experience that bridges the social sciences and the field of education, this funding is not appropriate for a student who is in the final stages of dissertation writing.


See the full application at


3. Conferences

Crossing the Boundaries: Culture, Linguistics, and Literature

Saturday, April 14, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m., 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

University of Minnesota, 155 Nicholson Hall, 216 Pillsbury Dr. SE, Minneapolis, MN


This one day event will address the question about the state of the disciplines of Hispanic Studies today and the new challenges that

Linguistics and Literature are facing, in particular with regards to the crossing of disciplinary borders such as in Cultural Studies and in the

integration of Linguistics and Literature.


Invited Panelists:

David Castillo, SUNY Buffalo

David William Foster, Arizona State University

José Ignacio Hualde, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

John Lipski, Pennsylvania State University


Each panelist will give a brief presentation and will actively participate in the ensuing discussion, among themselves, and with the public.


Morning session: Linguistics vis ą vis Literature and Culture

Afternoon Session: The challenges of Cultural Studies


Some of the issues to be discussed include:


* An understanding of the (dis)integration of linguistics and literature/cultural studies

* An examination of the effect that cultural studies have been having in the field of literature

* An investigation of the rethinking of why a cross disciplinary approach has not included linguistics as an important part of the interdisciplinary agenda

* An exploration of the assumptions and/or notions about/of linguistics that are circulating within the domain of literary/cultural studies


The workshop is part of an ongoing discussion which initiated in the pages of the first volume of Hispanic Issues On Line


This Event is free and open to the public. However, we would like you to

RSVP to for planning purposes. Thank you!

4. Spring 2007 Linguistics Colloquium Series

The colloquium series occurs at 4 PM in Ballantine Hall room 204 this semester.


2/2 – Bob Port, IU Linguistics and Cognitive Science

Title: ‘High-D Phonology’: A new approach to linguistics but without phonetic segments

2/16 – Aloysius Ngefac, University of Yaoundé

Title: Cameroon Pidgin English: Status, attitudes and functions

2/23: Nitya Sethuraman, IU Psychology – This talk has been postponed –

3/2: Michael Adams, IU English

Title: Watch What You Say: Television, New Media, and Language Change

3/30: Linguistics Student Conference

4/6: Scott Kiesling – University of Pittsburgh

Title: Style as stance: Can stance be the primary explanation for patterns of sociolinguistic variation?

4/20: Chris Beckwith – Indiana University

Title: Three Fruit Banana : Phoronyms and the Pseudopartitive Construction