School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Past Events

Māori students event

Date: 23 March 2016

Time: 12.00 pm

Venue: Student Union Memorial Theatre Foyer (SU229), Kelburn Campus

Maori event poster with image of Marae gateway in backgroundThe Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences & Education warmly invite our Māori students to the Māori Students' Event on Wednesday, 23 March, 12:00-2:00 pm in the Student Union Memorial Theatre Foyer (SU229).

Join us to:

  • be inspired
  • get set for 2016
  • have a pizza together, and
  • take part in games and win prizes.

Please RSVP by Monday, 21 March to

Download the Māori Students' Event poster (PDF, 402 KB).

Pasifika evening

Date: 14 March 2016

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: Alan MacDiarmid 102 (AM102), Kelburn Campus

Pasifika evening poster with tapa cloth backgroundThe Faculties of Humanities and Social Sciences & Education warmly invite our Pasifika students and their families to the Pasifika Evening on Monday, 14 March, from 6:00-8:00 pm in Alan MacDiarmid 102 (AM102).

Join us to:

  • be inspired
  • find out about exciting opportunities, and
  • have a welcome feast together.

Please RSVP by Friday, 11 March to

Download the Pasifika Evening poster (PDF, 4MB).


Date: 5 December 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MY632

All staff and postgraduate students are welcome to attend this school event.  Teams of 3-4 will be mixed according to level for this quiz on general trivia, languages and applied linguistics. 

English Language Institute

Date: 31 August 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MY632

Speaker: English Language Institute staff members, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: English Language Institute Programmes

The Engish Language Institute (ELI) offers a wide range of intensive English language training programmes for different purposes.  These include English for Academic Purposes, English for Specific Purposes and pre-service teacher training (CertTESOL) programmes.

What are all these programmes we teach and what issues are the ELI staff focused on?  If you have ever wondered what ELTO, ELTSO, PREPP or EPP stand for, then this is an opportinity to find out.


Ian Gordon Fellow 2012

Date: 12 July 2012

Time: 6.00 pm

Public Lecture by Nick Ellis

Nick Ellis, the current Ian Gordon Fellow, presents a public lecture titled:'Humans make language, and language makes us human: language as a complex adaptive system’. This talk analyses how, as a complex adaptive system, language has evolved to be learnable.

For further information, please see the flyer in the table below.

Document File Size File Type
PDF icon.  Ian Gordon Fellow 2012 Public Lecture 219 KB PDF

Honorary doctorate for Prof Janet Holmes

Date: 1 November 2011

Time: 12.00 am

Venue: n/a

Congratulations to Janet Holmes who was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Uppsala in Sweden in recognition of her scholarly achievements. Janet's connections with Uppsala include a visit there in 2004 when she was the plenary speaker at a Conference on Communication in the Workplace, presenting findings from the Wellington Language in the Workplace research. She also gave a research seminar on Women's and Relational Practice in the Workplace and met with academic staff and PhD students to discuss their research.

Back to top ^



Date: 10–13 July 2014

Time: 9.00 am

CLESOL Conference
Friday 11 to Sunday 13 July 2014

The theme for the conference is Essentials for Learning and Teaching:Ko te Pū, ko te Ako.  Please see the conference website for more information.



Date: 1–3 May 2014

Time: 9.00 am

Date: 1-3 May 2014

New Ways of Analysing Variation Asia-Pacific 3 will be held at Victoria from 1-3 May 2014. NWAV AP 3 aims to showcase quantitative analysis of language variation and change in indigenous languages and contact varieties in the Asia-Pacific region. This year there is a particular theme of signed languages in the region. For more details see the conference website


Date: 18-20 December 2013

Time: 12.00 am

Venue: Rutherford House

The first Vocab@Vic conference will be held at Victoria University from 18-20 Dec, 2013.

ALANZ & ALAA Conference

Date: 27–29 November 2013

Time: 9.00 am

The 3rd combined ALANZ-ALAA conference will be held at Victoria 27 – 29 November 2013. The theme for the conference is knowing, being, doing in Applied Linguistics.  Horomata ki mua, horotῡ ki muri, ka rauawatia a Tῡhorotau. This is designed to be inclusive of the breadth of the field of applied linguistics.


Date: 16 November 2013

Time: 9.00 am

Venue: Ho Chi Minh City Campus, Vietnam

TESOL, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
16 November 2013 

The 2013 International Conference on Innovation in English Language Teaching and Research is being held at the  VUW Campus Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.  For more information see he conference website.

ILAC 2012

Date: 30 August - 2 September 2012

Time: 11.55 am

Independent Learning Association Conference 2012, Wellington, New Zealand

When:  Thursday 30 August – Sunday 2 September 2012
Where: Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

ILAC is an international conference for passionate teachers, learners, and researchers.  The conference theme is "Autonomy in a Networked World: Te Tū Motuhake i te Ao Kōtuitui”.

For more information click here



Linguistic Society of New Zealand Conference 2011

Date: 17–18 November 2011

Time: 12.00 am

Venue: Victoria University of Wellington

This conference will be held at Victoria University of Wellington from 17-18 November 2011.  For more information on the conference please visit the conference website

Back to top ^

Information Events

Discover your postgraduate potential with the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Date: 28 July 2016

Time: 5.00 pm

Venue: Level 3 foyer, Murphy Building, Kelburn Campus

FHSS postgraduate recruitment evening posterYou're warmly invited to join Faculty staff, academics and fellow students at a postgraduate information evening.

Learn all about the postgraduate experience from enrolment through to graduation and explore the exciting options the Faculty has to offer.

This event will include:

  • a 45 minute information session from 5:15pm in KK303
  • expo-style displays from 5-7:30pm in the Murphy Level 3 foyer
  • a chance to network over refreshments.

Please RSVP for catering purposes to: with the subject line 'Postgraduate' by Tuesday, 26 July 2016.

Download the Postgraduate Evening flyer (PDF, 495KB).

FHSS Postgraduate Information Evening

Date: 7 April 2016

Time: 5.30 pm

Venue: Alan MacDiarmid 101 (AM101), Kelburn Campus

The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences Student and Academic Services Office warmly invites our postgraduate students to the annual Postgraduate Information Evening.

This is a chance for students to mix and mingle with fellow postgraduate students and FHSS staff. It is also an opportunity to find out what services the Faculty Student and Academic Services Office offers postgraduate students and key information regarding postgraduate study.

Get informed and set yourself up for success in your postgraduate studies.

For catering purposes, please RSVP to with 'Postgrad Eve' in the subject line.

Download the Postgraduate Information Evening flyer (PDF, 332KB).

Back to top ^

Public Lectures

Ian Gordon Fellow Public Lecture 2016: The art of burglary and learning to teach

Date: 19 July 2016

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: Hugh Mackenzie LT 205 (HM LT 205)

Presented by the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, Professor Thomas S.C. Farrell from Brock University Canada will explore the importance of reflective practice in language teacher education.

The transition from the language teacher education institution to life in a real classroom has been characterised by a type of reality shock, in which novice teachers quickly realise the ideals that they formed while training to be a language teacher may not be appropriate when faced with the realities of teaching in a real school.

Using results from different case studies of how novice teachers of English language attempt to navigate their first year as a backdrop, Professor Farrell points out that in order to better prepare preservice teachers for the reality of what they will face in their first years, reflective practice should be more formally implemented in language teacher education programmes.

Tom FarrellProfessor Farrell’s professional interests include reflective practice, and language teacher education and development. He has published widely in academic journals and has presented at major conferences worldwide on these topics.

His latest books are Promoting Teacher Reflection in Second Language Education: A Framework for TESOL Professionals (Routledge, 2015) and From Trainee to Teacher: Reflective Practice for Novice Teachers (Equinox, 2016).

All welcome. Please register by Friday 15 July by emailing with ‘Farrell’ in the subject line, or phoning 04-463 5600.

Ian Gordon Fellow Public Lecture 2

Date: 16 July 2015

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: HMLT205

Deborah Cameron is currently the Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication at Oxford University. A sociolinguist and discourse analyst, her research interests include language
attitudes, media language and the relationship of language, gender and sexuality. She is the author of The Myth of Mars and Venus, which was published in 2007.

Public Lecture 2

Sex, lies and stereotypes: Do we ask the right questions about language and gender?

This lecture explains why the popular understanding of language and gender research - ‘it’s about differences between men and women’ - is misleading, and often leads to stereotyping or outright misrepresentation. The relationship between gender and linguistic behaviour is more complicated than is often assumed: male-female
differences are only part of the story, and even where those differences exist, the explanation may not be the one that seems obvious.

Ian Gordon Fellow Public Lecture 1

Date: 14 July 2015

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: HMLT205

Deborah Cameron is currently the Rupert Murdoch Professor of Language and Communication at Oxford University. A sociolinguist and discourse analyst, her research interests include language
attitudes, media language and the relationship of language, gender and sexuality. She is the author of The Myth of Mars and Venus, which was published in 2007.

Public Lecture 1

‘Our tremendous opportunity’: A look at the hidden history of BBC English

National radio came to Britain in 1922, when the British Broadcasting Company commenced operations. Announcers spoke in an extremely formal style, using the upper-class accent we would now call ‘advanced’ received pronunciation. But behind the scenes there were all kinds of arguments about how BBC English should sound, and whether broadcasting could be used to improve the national language. This lecture tells the story of those arguments and relates them to some of the linguistic dilemmas broadcasters still face today.

Ian Gordon Fellow Public Lecture 2

Date: 14 October 2014

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: MCLT102

Ian Gordon Fellow 2014


Letuimanu'asina Dr Emma Kruse Vaai is the invited Ian Gordon Fellow for 2014.  She is the current Deputy Vice Chancellor of the National University of Samoa.

Emma maintains a strong interest in linguistics, particularly in the use of language in bilingual Samoa. Her book, Producing the Text of Culture, documents the appropriation and use of English in various domains in contemporary Samoa. She has also published poems and short stories for young adults and children.

Lecture 2

Gaining new words, losing your aspirations, watching your Ps and Bs and other aspects of the Samoan/English relationship.


This lecture will describe how the two languages have co-existed and impacted on each other in the context of Samoa. Language policies and practice will be discussed as well as related issues of identity.

: Lectures are free to all but please email by 6 October to register your attendance. 

Ian Gordon Fellow Public Lecture 1

Date: 9 October 2014

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: MCLT102

Ian Gordon Fellow 2014


Letuimanu'asina Dr Emma Kruse Vaai is the invited Ian Gordon Fellow for 2014. She is the current Deputy Vice Chancellor of the National University of Samoa.

Emma maintains a strong interest in linguistics, particularly in the use of language in bilingual Samoa. Her book, Producing the Text of Culture, documents the appropriation and use of English in various domains in contemporary Samoa. She has also published poems and short stories for young adults and children.

Lecture 1

Who speaks what to whom and when in Samoa? An overview of language use in bilingual Samoa.


Samoan and English are the official languages of Samoa. This lecture will describe and discuss the different usages and combinations of the two languages in various domains. It will also discuss changing attitudes to language use in a bilingual setting.

RSVP: Lectures are free to all but please email by 6 October to register your attendance.

Ian Gordon Fellow Public Lecture 2

Date: 12 September 2013

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: MCLT102

Associate Professor, Stefanie Shamila Pillai, the current Ian Gordon Fellow, will present a public lecture titled: English in the Malaysian Education System: Flip-flopping Policies or Inevitable Reversals?

This talk will offer a glimpse at the language and education policies in Malaysia. The focus of the talk will be on policies concerning English language education and use.

For further information, please see the flyer in the table below.

Document File Size File Type
PDF Icon Ian Gordon Fellow 2013 Public Lectures 154 KB PDF

Ian Gordon Fellow Public Lecture 1

Date: 10 September 2013

Time: 6.00 pm

Venue: MC LT102

Associate Professor, Stefanie Shamila Pillai, the current Ian Gordon Fellow, will present a public lecture titled: "Why you say like that one?" Malaysian English: A Much Maligned Variety.

Manglish is the colloquial variety of Malaysian English which is often labelled as incorrect or bad English. This talk will explore why some Malaysians consider this colloquial variety to be a 'bad' form of English, and how this variety is used by Malaysians in conversations, text messages and in social media.

For further information, please see the flyer in the table below.

Document File Size File Type
PDF Icon Ian Gordon Fellow 2013 Public Lectures 154 KB PDF

Back to top ^


Chi Duc Nguyen and Mark Toomer

Date: 19 August 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speakers: Chi Duc Nguyen and Mark Toomer, PhD candidates, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 


Title: Incidental L2 vocabulary uptake from TED Talks: Can summarizing work help?

Let’s talk about the talk: Using TED Talks to foster L2 listening comprehension and incidental vocabulary uptake

This study examined the relative effect of an oral summary activity as a listening-based output task on L2 listening comprehension and incidental vocabulary uptake. In the same meaning-focused listening lesson of 45 minutes, EFL learners were required to watch a TED Talks video twice (n = 33) or watch this video twice, but with an oral summary activity inserted between the two viewing times (n = 32). Their text comprehension was measured by 15 Yes/No questions. Their vocabulary gain was gauged by a word-form recall test and a word-meaning recall test. This summary activity was found to significantly enhance the learners’ text comprehension scores by 12% and their vocabulary gain scores by 6.4% as compared to the effect of watching this video twice alone.

Mark Toomer

Title: Do bolding and glossing facilitate contextual learning of collocations in English as a second language?

This talk examines the effects of different learning conditions on procedural and declarative knowledge of L2 (English) lexical collocations.

Second-language learners acquire collocations slowly. Research has shown that exposure in reading texts (with or without typographic enhancement) can produce gains in declarative knowledge of L2 collocations. There is little evidence, however, that such exposure facilitates procedural knowledge, which enables fluent processing of collocations. In the present experiment advanced ESL speakers read medical collocations in three incidental learning conditions, which included bolding and glossing. Collocational knowledge was assessed in tests of declarative knowledge and a primed lexical decision task, which tested procedural knowledge.

Maraea Hunia

Date: 12 August 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Maraea Hunia, PhD candidate, Education

Title: It takes a village…
Raising a child to be a first-language speaker of te reo Māori

Why does a very young child choose to speak te reo Māori, an endangered heritage language, as her first language? This seminar explores some elements of two young Māori-English bilingual children’s language socialisation and acquisition. It shows that differing language environments contributed to one child choosing te reo Māori, and the other child choosing English as principal first productive language. As just one of the two children chose te reo Māori, the spotlight is turned on to some distinctly Māori communicative practices, relationship roles and language structures in which she was developing proficiency.

Elizaveta Tarasova

Date: 5 August 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Elizaveta Tarasova, IPU New Zealand

Title: How VIPs and PR-professionals assimilate in Russian

The talk examines some of the ways in which loan abbreviations are assimilated in Russian with the focus on the use of these units in compound structures.

The presentation aims to encourage a discussion on whether the growing analytical tendencies in the morphology of Russian may be considered an indication of how the grammar of the language is influenced by the changes in its vocabulary.

The number of analytical N+N structures in Russian has been on the rise in the last few decades, and a considerable contribution to this number is made by units in which the first element is a loan abbreviation, e.g. VIP-persona, PR-aktsiya. However, the existence of such sequences is not justified by the grammatical system of Russian. One of the questions that can be raised is whether the use of analytical N+Ns can be considered a sign of the language system resisting the “foreign invasion” or embracing it?

Evan Hazenberg

Date: 29 July 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Evan Hazenberg, PhD candidate, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title:  Something esh-y going on. Sibilants as a site for identity work

It has been known for decades that we can reliably tell a person’s gender just from hearing how they pronounce voiceless fricatives (f, th, s, sh, h).  More recent studies have even shown that we can use some of these cues to guess their sexuality.  In fact, we never actually hear these sounds in isolation: we hear whole words and utterances, and we manage to filter social meaning out of the linguistic noise.  What are we hearing when we do this, and how do we know what it means?  

This study explores some of the social correlates of sibilants (a subset of fricatives strongly linked with identity) in a corpus of New Zealand English speakers covering a range of gendered and sexual identities.

Batia Laufer

Date: 22 July 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Professor Batia Laufer, Haifa University, Israel

Title: Do vocabulary size tests provide accurate estimates of vocabulary knowledge and do they predict reading comprehension well?

In this presentation two sets of empirical data will be presented. One shows the effect of loanwords on vocabulary size estimates as a function of the number of loanwords in the test, test modality, learners' L1 and proficiency in L2. The other looks at how well meaning-recognition and meaning-recall vocabulary size tests can predict reading comprehension levels in L2. Results of the studies are related to the notions of word knowledge, test validity and the importance of learners' L1 in vocabulary testing.

Karena Kelly

Date: 3 June 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Dr Karena Kelly, Te Kawa a Māui

Title: Iti te kupu, nui te kōrero (A few words, a lot said) - two little corpora with plenty to tell us about change in Māori syntax

Presenting the methodology and results of a corpus-based study of syntactic change in te reo Māori

This talk is based on my PhD study, in which I compared two small corpora of te reo Māori for evidence of syntactic change. I will explain the processes of corpus construction, data extraction and analysis, and discuss some of the issues encountered and actions taken to overcome them. I will then present some of the examples of syntactic change identified in my study, comparing them with anecdotal evidence from within the Māori language community, and exploring what these findings may tell us about te reo Māori in the modern period. Nau mai, haere mai.

Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich

Date: 27 May 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Professor Brigitte Bönisch-Brednich, School of Social and Cultural Studies

Title: What to do with stories?

Exploring the links between Cultural Anthropology, Folklore and Narrative Analysis

The rise and, moreover, the continuing rise of the narrative as object of research, metaphor and analytical method and, now, transdisciplinary essential of data collection and inquiry has been observed with some trepidation for some time now. While narrative researchers are worried about the unreflective use of narrative research and narrative inquiry, folklorists and cultural anthropologists have voiced serious concerns about the inflationary use of narrative in the humanities, social sciences and beyond. It seems that the narrative turn has led us into a cul de sac. This seminar will explore the links between interdisciplinary narrative analysis, ethnography and performativity of storytelling. It will also explore new analytical and empirical avenues that can be opened up by merging genres as well as methodologies to create a more holistic and experience-based approach to stories.

Loc Nguyen

Date: 20 May 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Loc Nguyen, PhD celebration

Title: Development of assessment literacy for pre-service EFL teachers

How pre-service teachers learn to test and assess their students during teacher preparation programs: What needs to be done to develop their assessment literacy?

Teachers can spend up to half of their professional time on testing and assessment-related activities. However, assessment training during teacher preparation programmes has received inadequate attention. This research looked at three perspectives of Vietnamese pre-service EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teachers’ assessment literacy: testing and assessment courses, pre-service EFL teachers’ confidence levels in assessment literacy and their development in assessment literacy during their practicum. This study offers insights into the dynamic, situated and developmental nature of pre-service EFL teachers’ assessment literacy, which has useful implications for theory, research methodology and assessment training for pre-service EFL teachers.

Sydney Kingstone

Date: 6 May 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Sydney M Kingstone, Doctoral candidate in Linguistics, The Australian National University

Title: From Lacky Bands to Milk Bars: Australian English dialectology from a sociolinguistic perspective

This talk examines dialect data collection and analysis using sociolinguistic methods, as part of ongoing research exploring regional variation and perceptions in Australian English.

Traditional dialectology data collection used to rely on non-mobile older rural men as the basis of ‘authentic’ dialect studies. In today’s highly mobile, young and urban Australia, this model no longer applies. By introducing sociolinguistic methods of data collection (analysing native speakers from different age groups, gender, high school setting, and urban/rural environments), linguists can gain a richer understanding of dialect use.  Australian English is a variety of English that has been regarded as having limited forms of regional variation. Despite this, regional variation was first explored through a traditional dialectology approach in the 1980s, and overwhelming evidence of lexical regional variation across Australia was uncovered. This paper uses this early work as a starting point to examine language variation and change over time in Australian English by revisiting, comparing and expanding dialectology methods. This work is part of a larger thesis which examines native Australian speakers’ folk linguistic ideologies and compares them to reported usage of regional variation to better understand how Australians report, perceive, and recognise variation across Australia.

Nancy Niedzielski

Date: 12.00 - 1.00pm

Time: 12.00 pm

Venue: AMLT103

Speaker: Nancy Niedzielski, Rice University

Title: Implicational variables and the intersection of ethnicity and gender

Could a set of variables pattern in exactly the same way for two distinct groups of speakers, but have markedly different social meanings for them?   I’ll try to convince you of just that!

In this talk, I present the implicational nature of eleven vowel variables for younger speakers in Houston, Texas. We ranked speakers according to the variants that they use, and we show that for African-Americans, the degree to which speakers use certain variants corresponds to greater use of AAE overall.  We suggest then that the use these variants for the AA participants indicates ethnicity.

While European-American participants reveal a similar implicational scale with regard to these variables, the two ends of the ranking scale indicate a clear gender-based pattern.  Thus, while the same variables are used for stylistic work in each group, they index very different social meanings.

Abigaël Candelas de la Ossa

Date: 8 April 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Abigaël Candelas de la Ossa, PhD candidate, Queen Mary University of London

Title: The representation of intersectional experience in consent guidance

A critical evaluation of what intersectionality is and what we should want it to be.

This talk explores what we can learn about intersectionality theory from applied sociolinguistic research.  I triangulate critical discourse analysis and corpus methods to analyse an online corpus of guidance texts produced by UK organisations about sexual consent and sexual violence for the British public.  I argue that these representations of intersectional experience are double-edged:  representing specificities of lived experience on the one hand, but also using distal stances towards survivors and centering hegemonic perspectives.  I conclude by suggesting theoretical consequences for intersectional research as well as practical ways to improve support resources for survivors.

Michael Radich

Date: 1 April 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Michael Radich, Religious Studies
Title: Computer-Assisted Methods for the Assessment of Ascription in Classical Chinese Buddhist Texts

This talk will discuss the application of new computer tools to the evaluation of ascription in the Chinese Buddhist canon on the basis of internal evidence.

The Chinese Buddhist canon contains over 1700 texts supposed to have been translated from Indic originals. These texts form the bedrock for our understanding of many dimensions of Buddhism and Chinese history. However, many ascriptions in this corpus are dubious or faulty. To date, critical scrutiny of ascriptions has largely been based on external evidence: catalogues, biographies, colophons etc. The digitisation of the Chinese canon represents major new opportunities to evaluate internal evidence for ascription. In this talk, I will describe a project to tackle such problems on the basis of new computer-assisted methods.

Masanobu Sato

Date: 18 March 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Masanobu Sato, Kokushikan University, Shobi University, and Daito Bunka University

Title: Schema-based Instruction: A new teaching strategy

The unique challenge of teaching basic English lexicons to Japanese students: Comparing a new method with the conventional translation-based method

In L2 vocabulary learning, learners tend to find their L1 equivalent to a new L2 word. However, learners admit that they cannot tell the difference between, for example, look, and see, and confuse their usages. Simply put, they fail to use those verbs differentially. In my presentation, I propose that schema-based instruction (SBI) should be an alternative to translation-based instruction (TBI), in which the core schema is used to teach the meaning of a word. I report the results from an experiment attempting to determine the comparative effectiveness of SBI over TBI, and argue that SBI has a promising pedagogical possibility.

Katrin Schweitzer

Date: 11 March 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker:  Katrin Schweitzer, IMS (Institute for Natural Language Processing) Stuttgart

Title: Saving time in prosody research: Automatic analysis of intonationwith "PaIntE"

Research on intonation often entails many (tedious) hours of manualannotation and measuring. Automatic intonation analysis can helpspeed up the processes.

In this talk, "PaIntE" will be introduced - a parametric intonation model which captures the shape of a tonal contour and represents it as meaningful, interpretable numerical values.  Example studies will be presented where PaIntE output was used to analyse tonal accents (i.e. tonal events on the word level) and to analyse pitch accents (tonal events on the sentence level).  The advantages, but also the limitations of the model will be discussed.

LALS staff

Date: 4 March 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speakers: Various members of LALS staff

Title: What are they really up to?

Staff from across the school will take turns to tell you about their research. Could it be that they really do know what they’re talking about in lectures? You will get to hear what academics do on their research days and during their non-teaching trimester - and all neatly packaged in just one PowerPoint slide each. Come and find out about the breadth and the depth of the research currently underway in LALS.

Tony Woodbury

Date: 5 February 2016

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Anthony C. Woodbury, University of Texas at Austin
Title: The ‘genius' of the language: discovering pervasive plan and unique design in linguistic description

As linguists most of us first encounter the intriguing phrase, the ‘genius of the language’ in Edward Sapir’s 1921 book Language, by which he meant “a basic plan, a certain cut, to each language... much more fundamental, much more pervasive, than any single feature of it that we can mention’ (p. 127). The phrase has inspired descriptive grammarians “to look for a characteristic overall Bauplan that makes sense of the language’s particularities in an integrated way” (Evans & Dench 2006:153) and to identify pervasive and possibly unique interconnections among properties of grammar and features of communicative practice.

Khadij Gharibi

Date: 13 November 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Khadij Gharibi, PhD candidate, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Incomplete Acquisition and Attrition of Young Heritage Speakers’ Vocabulary Knowledge

Why do some heritage speakers have knowledge of mother tongue vocabulary that approximates that of monolingual counterparts, while for others the gap is wider?

Incomplete L1 acquisition and attrition are causes of language loss in heritage speakers. In this talk, I report on a study involving thirty young Persian-English bilinguals (aged 6 – 18) living in New Zealand, whose knowledge of Persian vocabulary was assessed in comparison with that of matched monolingual counterparts in Iran. Information about the heritage speakers’ language use and parental attitude towards heritage language maintenance was collected through semi-structured interviews. In an effort to account for the marked differences among the bilingual participants, I will explore various factors, including their age at emigration, length of residence in NZ, heritage language use and their parents’ attitude towards heritage language maintenance.

Hilary Nesi

Date: 6 November 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker: Professor Hilary Nesi, Coventry University

Title: Why are we writing? Conceptualisations of student writing through the university system and beyond

Are students guided or misled regarding the purpose of academic writing? Are they prepared in ways that university departments actually require?

Although it is often regarded as the most essential university skill, academic writing is conceptualised in a great variety of ways, even within the same learning environment. There are the opposing notions of ‘research’ writing, where the views of others are more highly valued than those of the student writer, and of ‘creative’ writing, where the student writer’s views are paramount and do not require support from external sources. Then there is the language testing mind set which emphasizes proficiency in English over research or creativity, official university writing advice with its focus on rules and regulations (referencing conventions, the avoidance of plagiarism etc.), and admissions procedures which favour applicants who use writing as ‘a marketing tool’. This talk examines these approaches and their effects, and contrasts them with evidence, from the BAWE corpus, of the ways students actually write for success in their own fields.

Anna Howell and Vera Hohaus

Date: 23 October 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speakers: Anna Howell & Vera Hohaus (University of Tübingen), 23rd October 2015:

Title: The Samoan Particle  `O as a Window into the Grammar of Alternatives

What we can learn from Samoan about where Roothian (focus) alternatives are used beyond the semantics of focus and how this varies crosslinguistically.

In Samoan and other Polynesian languages a particle, `o  or ko, is used to marks constituents under a broad range of conditions which have proven difficult to bring together (Mosel & Hovdhaugen 1992, Massam, Lee & Rolle 1997).  We argue that `o primarily fulfills a semantic role, marking constituents for which Roothian focus alternatives are generated. This is particularly interesting given recent developments within formal semantics concerning where this mechanism can be used (Kratzer & Shimoyama 2002, Beck 2006). We argue that languages like Samoan provide evidence for a widespread use of Roothian alternatives beyond focus, for example in the semantics of the disjunctive operator and with indefinites.  By contrasting `o with the distribution of similar particles in unrelated languages we find evidence for variability in the areas where this mechanism is used. Growing evidence suggests that languages may employ multiple strategies for marking focus (Onea & Zimmermann 2011; Calhoun, in press). An open question posed by our findings is how this affects the grammar of alternatives more broadly.

Deborah Chua and George Aberi

Date: 16 October 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker 1: Deborah Chua, PhD candidate, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Comparative alternation in y adjectives: why are they chronic structural rule-breakers?

Do we say unfriendlier or more unfriendly? Are we sure we know the answer, and how neatly can we explain it?
The alternation between comparatives more and  er for adjectives with a phonetic /i/ ending (or the y adjectives) cannot be neatly explained by structural accounts. An investigation was undertaken on whether this alternation may be accounted for by the comparative patterning in other English forms. The findings raise important questions on whether the comparative patterning in these other English forms may inhibit/enhance the alignment of y adjectives towards the structural motivators for a specific comparative.

Speaker 2: George Aberi, PhD candidate, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 

Title: Representations of women in Kenya's policy discourses of women's rights.

Can they be what they want to be?
In this talk, I seek to demonstrate the different ways in which the shared meanings about women (i.e. in terms of who they are, what they want to be, and their rights to equality) are constructed and dispersed by varied actors within and across policy texts on gender equality. The paper contends that the different ways in which 'women' and their issues are imagined and perceived by different policy actors have significant consequences for the realization of gender equality policies.

Rachel McKee

Date: 9 October 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker: Dr Rachel McKee, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Vital Signs: Assessing Ethnolinguistic Vitality of New Zealand Sign Language

NZSL is an ‘official language’, but what is the prognosis for its survival? This talk reports research evidence on this question.

The status of NZSL has improved through bottom-up and top-down language planning in recent years. But my study of language vitality indicators shows slow progress in instrumental rights of NZSL users and definite erosion of ethnolinguistic vitality. Maintenance of a signing community is vulnerable to inclusive education practices which disperse young NZSL users, and the impact of cochlear implants now widely available to deaf children. Data indicates that NZSL has a 'threatened' status. I will outline practical challenges in evaluating ethnolinguistic vitality, and how the EGIDS indicators apply to a signed language.

Shota Mukai and Matthew Book

Date: 2 October 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker A: Shota Mukai, PhD candidate, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Creation and utilization of peer interaction opportunities in postgraduate courses

International students may experience unfamiliar activities/interactional patterns in postgrad classrooms. What about peer interaction opportunities in class?

In this paper, I will report on provisional findings for my PhD study around peer interaction opportunities in postgraduate courses. Qualitative data collection and analysis methods (interviews, observations, and discourse analysis) are used in triangulation to provide a thick description of how lecturers/students conceptualize and implement teaching/learning, drawing on peers as resources, in postgrad classroom contexts.

Speaker B: Matthew Book, PhD candidate, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Construct validity, concurrent validity, face validity and reliability of the English Language Exam for university entry in Shanghai

Nine million Chinese students take the University Entrance Exam (UEE) each year. How good is the test?

The purpose of my PhD study is to validate the English Language Exam for university entry in Shanghai. As part of the validation, I invited 60 first-year university students to take two past papers and an IELTS sample test. In this talk, I will present and discuss the empirical results. I will conclude the talk with implications for policy-makers and other stakeholders.

Erez Levon

Date: 25 September 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker: Dr Erez Levon, Queen Mary University of London

Title: The interactional meanings of High Rising Terminals in London.

How is HRT used in the speech of young Londoners and how does that use relate to broader ideologies of gender and interaction?
In this paper, I examine the range of interactional functions HRT performs among young people in London. I combine quantitative and qualitative methods to demonstrate that while all of the speakers investigated use HRT as a tool for accomplishing relational work (Lochner & Watts 2005), the specific interactional strategies that the feature is recruited to perform differ markedly across genders. I consider the ramifications of this finding for our understanding of “politeness” as a gendered feature, and also discuss the analytical importance of examining a variable like HRT in its discourse‐functional context.

John Macalister

Date: 18 September 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker: Assoc Prof John Macalister, Head of School, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 

Title: Tracing it back: Identifying influences on language teacher cognition and classroom practice

While models of language teacher cognition appeal as orderly representations of processes, in the real world these processes are altogether messier.

The talk draws on classroom observations and interviews with Malaysian pre-service language teachers who used a running dictation in their English class, and considers the differing explanations given for knowing about and using this activity. This in turn leads to discussion of the reliability of interview data, of the extent to which the pedagogical purpose of the activity was understood, and of challenges that researchers face in identifying influences on the development of language teacher cognition.

Fenty Siregar

Date: 11 September 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker: Fenty Siregar, PhD candidate, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Using autoethnography to investigate intercultural language teaching.

A personal exploration of the challenges and opportunities in teaching interculturally.

In the second phase of my PhD study I carried out an autoethnographic study on teaching an Indonesian EFL tertiary language classroom with an intercultural stance. In this talk I will outline the nature of autoethnography and why I chose the methodology. I will then discuss some of the findings from my study. I will conclude the talk with implication for intercultural language teaching.


Douglas Bagnall

Date: 21 August 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker: Douglas Bagnall 

Title: New methods for uncovering anonymous authors 

Multi-headed recurrent neural networks can work out who wrote anonymous texts by modelling their authors' writing style.

In 2014 Nicky Hager's book Dirty Politics revealed that several posts on a well known blog were secretly written by PR people and political operatives. The book was based on a relatively small number of leaked emails, which leaves open the possibility that the blog was used for other undetected campaigns. The public blog corpus offers a natural research question: is it possible to find evidence of this kind of subterfuge using automated techniques? I will describe a method—the multi-headed recurrent neural network or MHRNN--developed for this specific problem, and present results that amount to a tentative yes. I will also talk about the 2015 PAN@CLEF author attribution competition, where a hastily assembled MHRNN model performed best overall, suggesting the technique has merit.

Dr Graeme Trousdale

Date: 14 August 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker: Dr Graeme Trousdale, University of Edinburgh

Title: Linguistic variation and construction grammar: evidentials in Canadian English dialects.

If speakers of a variety know the constructions of that variety, how should sociolinguistic knowledge be incorporated into constructional knowledge?

In this talk, I present some findings from my analysis of data collected by Sali Tagliamonte and her research team at the University of Toronto as part of the Ontario English Dialects Project. Looking at material from speakers from two Ontarian towns (Kirkland Lake and Temiskaming Shores), I focus on variation in the forms of BE used in existential constructions. The aim is to further our understanding of how usage-based construction grammar and variationist sociolinguistics can mutually inform one another to provide a plausible account of variable patterns. I suggest that the architecture of construction grammar is able to account both for variation both at the level of the individual speaker and at more abstract group, network or community levels.

Dr Huang Jing

Date: 7 August 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker: Dr Huang Jing, Visiting Scholar, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Helping learners take control of their own writing

Come and see how to interlock teaching, learning and assessing with a formative feedback in an EFL writing course.

How to help learners take control of their own writing has become one of the many hot research issues. In order to overcome the limitations of summative assessment and feedback approach, a formative integrated assessment and feedback approach was proposed as the result of synthesizing social learning theories and Assessment for learning (AFL) theory, as well as taking into consideration current educational technology development and the researcher’s teaching experience. This presentation intends to explore how to design an EFL writing course and manage to activate students’ autonomy in and out of the classroom. The presenter will also talk about the function of technology and students’ voice in course design and management.

Evan Hazenberg

Date: 31 July 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker: Evan Hazenberg, PhD candidate, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 

Title: Queering vowel spaces

Breaking down the gender binary in NZE vowels
The vowel space of New Zealand English (NZE) has been extensively studied, and with several prominent shifts tracked over decades, the role that gender plays in driving phonetic change has been well documented.  But gender is often treated as a deterministic binary that mirrors biology, while the social reality can be quite different.  As a social construct, gender encompasses more than simply “male” and “female”, and different engagements with and experiences of these categories can foster a range of gendered identities.  What can a broader concept of gender bring to our understanding of NZE vowels?

Catherine Watson

Date: 24 July 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker: Dr Catherine Watson (University of Auckland)

Title: Sound change in Māori and the Influence of New Zealand English

Acoustic analysis of Māori vowels from speakers spanning 100 years in birth dates show that Māori had changed. The mechanisms of this are external and internal.

This study investigates sound change in the vowels of Māori, the indigenous language of New Zealand. It examines the relationship between sound changes in Māori and in New Zealand English, the more dominant language, with which Māori has been in close contact for nearly 200 years. We report on the analysis of three adult speaker groups whose birth dates span 100 years. All speakers were bilingual in Māori and New Zealand English. In total the speech of 31 men and 31 women was investigated. Analysis was done on the first and second formant values, extracted from the vowel targets. There has been considerable movement in the Māori vowel space. We find that the sound change in the Māori monophthongs can be directly attributed to the impact of New Zealand English, however the situation for the diphthongs is not so clear cut. Whilst there is some evidence that both New Zealand English monophthongs and diphthongs are impacting on the Māori diphthongs, so too are the Māori monophthongs. We conclude that whilst New Zealand English has had a strong influence on Māori, there is very strong evidence that new generations of speakers of Māori are acquiring a phonemic system with its own internal parameters and consistencies. This study is currently in press in the Journal of the International Phonetics Association.

Miriam Meyerhoff

Date: 17 July 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker: Professor Miriam Meyerhoff, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Follow the leader: The profile of a community’s sociolinguistics project.
What happens when someone tells you a story that keeps on going? Something quite unusual for a sociolinguist.
During my 2011 field season, a woman in her 30s told me a story about an attack on her village that happened during the Santo Rebellion when she was a child. Histories of Vanuatu make no mention of this and key members in the Hog Harbour community decided that the whole story should be told as part of my research on their language. And they wanted it told as a video. And they wanted to reenact key moments in the attack. All of this was far more exotic to me than fieldwork in a village. In this talk, I’ll explain how this project unfolded, mainly due to the kindness of strangers, and what it meant to the people of Hog Harbour. I’ll show what I can of the video (time allowing).

Khadij Gharibi

Date: 5 June 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Khadij Gharibi, LALS PhD candidate

: Revisiting the Measurement of Parental Attitudes towards Heritage Language Acquisition and Maintenance
What do immigrant parents need to do to raise their children bilingually? What is the role of parents’ attitudes in children’s heritage language development and preservation?

Using Spolsky’s (2004) model of language policy, this presentation investigates immigrant parents’ attitudes towards their children’s heritage language acquisition and maintenance. Iranian parents’ attitudes towards their children’s minority language (i.e. Persian) acquisition and maintenance are explored through semi-structured interviews with twenty-three parents of young Persian-English bilinguals (aged 6-18) in New Zealand. The findings reveal that, although the parents express positive beliefs about family language acquisition and maintenance, there are discrepancies between their self-reported language ideologies and their actual family language practices. In light of these inconsistencies between parents’ beliefs and their family language practices, I argue that analyses of immigrants’ attitudes towards heritage language maintenance should not only consider beliefs, but also observed language practices and management. 

Anik Wulyani and Yen Dang

Date: 29 May 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Anik Wulyani
Title: A challenge in Indonesian EFL teachers’ professionalism: L2 proficiency
Can Indonesian EFL teachers maintain their L2 proficiency over a long period of service?

The enactment of the Teacher Law in 2005 in Indonesia reemphasized the importance of professionalism among teachers. Being professional means that teachers are expected to master their subject matter and engage in ongoing professional development. In my study, I asked Indonesian EFL teachers to share their opinions of their current English proficiency and undertake some proficiency tests. The data showed some interesting differences between perception and the reality of the teachers’ L2 proficiency. Some correlations also exist between the teachers’ years of service and their L2 proficiency. Some implications for practices to promote teachers’ L2 proficiency will be discussed. This presentation concludes by previewing how the teachers’ L2 proficiency correlates with their perception and practice of professional development.

Speaker: Yen Dang
Title: Evaluating high-frequency word lists
Which is the best high-frequency word list for teachers to introduce to second language (L2) learners? Find out what corpus data tell us.

Determining the best high-frequency word list has a great value in L2 vocabulary learning and teaching. It ensures that learners will learn the words that they will encounter and use in a wide range of discourse types. I will present the results of a corpus-based study which compared West’s (1953) General Service List with three recently-developed high-frequency word lists. Methodological and pedagogical implications related to L2 vocabulary learning from word lists will be presented. Future research related to high-frequency word lists will also be discussed.

Dr Huang Jing

Date: 22 May 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Dr Huang Jing, China West Normal University and LALS, VUW

Title: An AUA Validation Study of the Integrated Teaching, Learning and Assessment Framework

How can we justify a particular approach to teaching, learning and assessing? Come and see an example of this applied to the learning of writing.

This presentation justifies the design validity argument for a four-stage and multi-agent integrated teaching, learning and assessment framework following the guidance of Assessment for Learning theories. With the application of a theoretical framework of Assessment Use as Argument (AUA), the inferences, warrants, assumptions, and backing will be stated clearly to demonstrate the feasibility and viability of the integrated teaching, learning and assessment framework. Moreover, its impact on students’ performance and perceptions will be discussed as well.

Peter W. Culicover

Date: 15 May 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Professor Peter W. Culicover, Ohio State University

Title: Freezing' in Simpler Syntax

Simpler Syntax proposes that syntactic structure should be only as complex as it needs to be in order to establish interpretation.

The Simpler Syntax perspective (Culicover and Jackendoff 2005) has implications for the analysis of  many phenomena in natural language. The one that I discuss in this talk is that many cases of unacceptability of sentences should be attributed to extra-grammatical factors, such as processing complexity, rather than to grammatical principles. I illustrate this point with an analysis of so-called `freezing' effects, as in (1b):
(1) a. [How many people]i did Robin see paintings [of ti]j at the National Gallery last week?
      b. *[How many people]i did Robin see paintings tj at the National Gallery last week [of ti]j? [Ross 1967]                                       
Our proposal (Hofmeister et al. in press, 2016) is that complexity arises when the processor has to manage multiple chains over some string- or structure- defined distance. I review an experiment that suggests that unacceptability in the case of `freezing' configurations are due entirely to such complexity. I conclude with a proposal for a research program that has the goal of extending the explanatory force of processing complexity to unacceptability judgments in a range of constructions, some of which involve `freezing' configurations and some of which do not.

Keely Kidner

Date: 13 May 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker: Keely Kidner, PhD celebration, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Beyond Greenwash, Beyond the Ivory Tower
When the mining industry and communities of resistance clash over resource development, it can result in an arms race of appropriated and resisted Discourses.
Previous research in environmental discourse analysis has tended to focus on greenwash (the appropriation of environmental Discourses by environmentally harmful industries). In this research, I go beyond greenwash to examine how wider Discourses are appropriated and consequently resisted in discussions of controversial mining projects in Canada and Aotearoa New Zealand. Using an ethnographic, multimodal, critical approach, I will explain how such situations result in a “discursive arms race” between industry actors and communities of resistance. Importantly, I will also discuss what these findings mean for people working to protect their lands from unwanted development.

Jonathan Newton

Date: 8 May 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Jonathan Newton, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Making intercultural sense of culture in languages education

A set of principles to help language teachers address the language-culture interface in school-based languages education.

It has been some years since a team at Victoria University of Wellington of which I was a part developed a set of six principles for the NZ Ministry of Education to guide intercultural communicative language teaching (iCLT) in New Zealand schools (Newton, Yates, Shearn & Nowitzki, 2010). In the intervening years, scholarship in the field of intercultural language teaching and learning has flourished. In this talk I will revisit these six principles, looking at them afresh in the light of recent scholarship and the challenges that teachers face in implementing them. In response to these issues I will present a revised set of principles for discussion.

Corinne Seals

Date: 1 May 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Corinne Seals, Lecturer, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Being Ukrainian in New Zealand

When you move to a new country, you negotiate a new identity. What happens when a war begins in your home country during this negotiation?
This presentation features findings from interviews with Ukrainian residents of NZ, originally from one of four areas of Ukraine: West, Central, East, or the Black Sea region. Interviews conducted during 2014 and 2015 explore the challenges they face as migrants to New Zealand while simultaneously navigating what it means to be Ukrainian during a time of war in their home country. Discourse analysis and a quantitative examination of palatalization patterns are used to examine multiple linguistic layers at which identity is negotiated.

Betsy Quero

Date: 24 April 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Betsy Quero, PhD candidate, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: To take or not to take the bilingual Spanish Vocabulary Size Test (VST)

The value of administering the online bilingual (English-Spanish) VST to a group of 408
ESP learners who are native speakers of Spanish is discussed.

In this presentation, I reflect on simultaneously administering Nation and Beglar´s (2007) monolingual version of the VST and a bilingual (English-Spanish) version of the same test. My discussion revolves around four main points: (1) estimating the vocabulary size of first year undergraduate students taking ESP courses, (2) evaluating whether taking the bilingual VST could be a better indicator of vocabulary size, (3)  determining whether there is an order effect from taking the monolingual or bilingual versions of the VST first or last, and (4) considering the pedagogical implications for ESP/EAP teachers using vocabulary measures in their courses.

Bernard Spolsky

Date: 20 April 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Visiting scholar to discuss language issues surrounding migration

An internationally renowned linguistics scholar will give a public lecture at Victoria University of Wellington next week on the problems of maintaining a heritage language after migrating to the city or another country.

Emeritus Professor Bernard Spolsky says migration often leads to a shift in language.

“When Māori moved to the cities, and as Pasifika peoples left their home islands, their heritage languages were endangered or lost. However, there are ways of keeping a language alive,” says Emeritus Professor Spolsky.

“After the destruction of the Temple by the Romans, for example, the Jewish people spent 2000 years without a native homeland, during which time they spoke many different languages. But the institution of a system of education for boys kept Hebrew alive as a sacred and literary language, and permitted its re-establishment as the dominant language of the State of Israel.”

Prior to his Wellington visit, Emeritus Professor Spolsky will attend the Te Kura Rea Minority Languages and Dialect Conference in Dunedin from 16 to 19 April to discuss what might be learned about the survival of endangered languages from the fate of Jewish languages. He will ask if the regeneration of Māori will lead to regular daily use by speakers as happened with Modern Israeli Hebrew, or whether people will be satisfied with keeping up a number of symbolic uses, a status that linguists have labelled 'post-vernacular', as has happened to most Jewish language varieties.

Emeritus Professor Spolsky will also visit Auckland from 23 April to 30 April, where he will deliver two public lectures—one at Auckland University on the ideological basis of language management and the other at Auckland University of Technology on the contribution of the late Joshua Fishman, an American linguist, to language activism and the sociology of language.

Ha Hoang

Date: 27 March 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Ha Hoang, PhD celebration, LALS

Title: Second language learners’ metaphors: Products and processes

Whether you are first language professional writers or second language learners, about one in seven words you use is metaphorical. 
How are metaphors manifested in writing? How are they made? My talk focuses on L2 learners’ metaphors as writing products and processes. A combination of text analysis, computer-logged keystrokes and stimulated retrospective interviews was employed to investigate the issue. It was found that L2 learners' use of metaphorical language correlates significantly with the grades they receive for their writing. However, the L2 learner-writers were generally unaware that they were using metaphors.

Faculty of Education seminar: Dr Peter Gu

Date: 25 March 2015

Time: 4.30 pm

Venue: GR 311, Karori Campus

Dr Peter Gu, Senior Lecturer, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, will present a seminar entitled "Assessment reform in China: The place of English in the University Entrance Examination".

This presentation will briefly introduce the overall assessment system, a history of the UEE in China since 1977, and the rationale for the current assessment reform. It will then focus on the most important details in the guidelines document. An analysis of the policy implications in relation to the role of English in the UEE will follow. Finally there will be a discussion of policy implementation and practice pertaining to the English language in China's basic education system.

For more information please see the seminar flyer (PDF, 353KB).

All welcome.

Carolyn Wilshire

Date: 20 March 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Dr Carolyn Wilshire, School of Psychology

Title: Nonfluent aphasia: A disorder of language control?

This large, recently completed project examines language production in nonfluent (Broca’s) aphasia. 
Most research into nonfluent (Broca’s) aphasia examines aspects of sentence grammaticality and its relation to sentence structure. This research takes an alternative approach: it uses simple tasks involving single words, or alternatively, very simple SVOsentences where only the lexical elements vary. The results suggest these individuals have difficulty managing situations when more than one word is in their mind at the same time. These difficulties are not observed in fluent forms of aphasia. We conclude that the anterior language areas (most notably Broca’s area) are crucial for language “control” – that is, the ability to modulate activation within the lexicon in order to achieve the desired communication goal. The findings also have broader implications for our understanding of the relationship between thought, intention and language.


Jérôme Jacquin

Date: 13 March 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Jérôme Jacquin, Visiting scholar, Université de Lausanne, Switzerland

Title: A multimodal approach to argumentation: speech segmentation, person reference and reported speech.

Although argumentation is a verbal practice, it raises problems for linguistic analysis. But don’t worry, solutions exist and multimodality can give us a hand.

There seem to be two different views on the relationship between argumentation and Linguistics. Either you consider that Linguistics must have something to say about argumentation because no other discipline examines words, syntax or speech acts; or you consider that one of the core tasks ofLinguistics is to describe the linguistic and semiotic grounding of verbal practices such as argumentation, explanation, description and so on. Following the second perspective, I will start with a quick overview of the insights that Linguistics and Discourse Analysis offer about argumentation. I will then focus on two relevant issues, both for Argumentation Theory and for Linguistics: the segmentation of speech and the reference to people and discourses. By looking at data taken from a video-recorded corpus of eight political debates, I will show that a multimodal approach can offer interesting insights to the study of talk-in-interaction. 

Sai Hui

Date: 11 March 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speaker: Sai Hui, PhD celebration, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Small talk, humour, and other rapport-building strategies in call centre discourse

“But I had you there to hold my hand”: Getting intimate over the phone? Or simply a way of constructing rapport?
In our technology-drivenworld, most people have used call centre services and talked to a remote customer service representative (CSR) at some time. Many have the impression that call centre operations are scripted, cold, impersonal, and efficiency-driven. This presentation investigates rapport-building strategies aimed at creating warm and fuzzy feelings between callers and CSRs in a NewZealand call centre. Using Spencer-Oatey’s Rapport Management Framework, over 100 authentic call exchanges were analysed to identify a range of rapport building strategies, including small talk, humour and some strategies that are unique to call centre interactions. 

LALS staff

Date: 6 March 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT220

Speakers: Various members of LALS staff

Title: What are they really up to?

Staff from across the school will take turns to tell you about their research. Could it be that they really do know what they’re talking about in lectures? You will get to hear what academics do on their research days and during their non-teaching trimester - and all neatly packaged in just one PowerPoint slide. Come and find out about the breadth and the depth of the research currently underway in LALS.

Nicholas Evans

Date: 27 February 2015

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: HMLT001

Speaker: Professor Nicholas Evans, Australian National University

Title: Why are there so many languages in part of the world, and so few in others?  We can¹t answer this question yet, butŠ

As linguistic diversity gets reconceptualised from noise to signal, the evolutionary processes engendering it move to centre stage. A crucial part of this shift is to locate and understand the roots of change in variation. The Wellsprings of Linguistic Diversity project seeks to answer this question through detailed case-studies from Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific, starting with the premise that differences in micro-variation predict differences in macro-variation, and that multilingualism in small-scale societies drives this faster.


Yin Zihan

Date: 12 December 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT202

Speaker: Yin Zihan, PhD celebration, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Linking Adverbials in English: A Corpus Approach and Pedagogy

Based on manual and corpus-based analysis of WWC, WSC, BNC and COCA, my PhD study suggests a new definition of linking adverbials, explains the difference between linking adverbials and conjunctions, and provides a detailed account of the usage patterns of linking adverbials in the five registers of written academic prose, academic lectures, written news, broadcast news and conversation.
In this talk, I will focus on the usage patterns of linking adverbials in written and spoken academic registers and the implications for EAP teaching. I will compare the frequency patterns of the form, meaning and position of identified linking adverbials in written academic prose and academic lectures. I will also discuss how the corpus findings could be used in future teaching material design and how data-driven learning can be introduced into the EAP classroom to teach the form, position and pragmatic meaning of linking adverbials.

Natalia Beliaeva

Date: 17 October 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Natalia Beliaeva - PhD celebration

Title: The neologasms of a brainiac: Unpacking contemporary English blends

In this talk I will summarise my research into the structure, meaning and processing of blend words in English.

The study discusses attention-catching neologisms such as nutriceutical ← nutricious + pharmaceutical, blizzaster ← blizzard + disaster which are often used in headlines and other media sources. These words are brain-taxingly diverse and therefore so problematic to study that some researchers deny them a place in the system of word formation. This thesis includes three studies which shed light on different aspects of the formation and processing of blends. A number of distinctive features of various types of blends are outlined, cognitively and psycholinguistically relevant differences between blends and other types of word formation are revealed.

Keely Kidner and Jay Woodhams

Date: 10 October 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Jay Woodhams

Title: Part 1: A Critical Realist Approach to Political Identity in Discourse

I compare social constructionism and critical realism and explore how and why I chose the latter to underpin my study of political identities in Wellington.

In this presentation I aim to demonstrate how critical realism (Bhaskar, 1979) has provided the foundation for my study of political identity in the discourse of Wellington voters. In particular, I will discuss how identity can be approached from a realist perspective while taking account of the fact that identities are negotiated in interaction. With a desire to avoid the intricacies of the realist/anti-realist debate whilst also meaningfully engaging with the social constructionist literature, I aim to show that critical realism can offer ontological depth to existing social constructionist understandings of discourse and identity.

Speaker: Keely Kidner

Title: Part 2: Starting With Problems: A Critical Multimodal Research Framework for Mining Justice

In this talk, I show how I have developed a critical, multimodal framework for discourse analysis by starting with a social justice problem.

A critical approach to Discourse Analysis aims to ‘denaturalize’ the natural and take into account the ways that language both affects, and is affected by, wider sociopolitical structures. It also aims to contribute to social change, and so research often begins with a social justice problem. In this presentation, I will discuss how such a study might look, and how starting with a problem informs the approaches taken. I will show how the social justice problem of mining debates has led me to develop a critical, ethnographic, and multimodal framework and I will present some of my data analysis.

Abigaël Candelas de la Ossa

Date: 8 October 2014

Time: 1.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Abigaël Candelas de la Ossa, PhD visiting student, Queen Mary University of London

Title: "You don't have to": constructing sexual consent in guidance for young people

A socio-theoretic analysis of consent guidance for young people and professionals

This paper uses critical discourse analysis with particular focus on modal auxiliaries to explore the construction of implied readership and framing of sexual consent in guidance for young people and professionals who work with them.  Drawing on a UK corpus of online information about sexual consent  produced by the government, National Health Service, and NGOs,  I focus on discourses that encourage young people to use direct strategies for refusing consent in order to resist sexual pressure and avoid situations of risk.  I show how young people's self-knowledge and agency is problematised, constructing a hegemonic ontology of violence. 

Melanie Revis

Date: 3 October 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Melanie Revis, PhD candidate, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Family language policies of refugees in New Zealand

Are refugee parents successful in passing on their ethnic language to their children?

Passing on a minority language, especially in a rather monolingual society, can be quite challenging. I have used an ethnographic approach to investigate this process, focusing especially on the language dynamics between parents and children in Ethiopian and Colombian refugee families in Wellington. Using Spolsky’s (2004) theoretical framework for analysing family language policy, I explore family members’ language beliefs, language management and language practices. A combination of observations, interviews with mothers and their children, and recordings of their naturally-occurring interactions provides detailed insights into the way these families engage in language maintenance efforts.

Irina Elgort

Date: 26 September 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Irina Elgort, Centre for Academic Development 

Title: The medium and the message: written artefacts produced by L1 and L2 students in course blogs and traditional assignments.

This study investigates differences between blog posts and traditional essay-style academic assignments produced by L1 and L2 writers.

A small corpus of course submissions was collected over three years. Text characteristics were determined using a computational tool, Coh-Metrix, that generates indices of the linguistic and discourse representations of a text. Multiple levels of written discourse were considered in the analysis, i.e., surface level, textbase and situational model. Pedagogical implications of the findings are considered.


Ha Nguyen

Date: 12 September 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Thi Thanh Ha Nguyen, PhD candidate, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Impact of TOEIC

Does the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) drive English teaching and learning towards communication?
Despite its growing popularity, the impact of the Test of English for International Communication on teaching and learning has been little explored. This paper applies Hughes’ ideas about the mechanism of test impact to examine the extent to which teachers’ and students’ actions were consistent with their perceptions of the nature of the TOEIC test, and how their actions influenced the learning outcomes. Data was collected at three large universities in Vietnam by means of questionnaires, interviews, classroom observations, and student journals. First, the findings from the questionnaires are reported. Then an in-depth discussion of several teacher and student cases is presented.

Birgit Henriksen

Date: 22 August 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Assoc. Prof. Birgit Henriksen,  University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Title: Something rotten in the Danish language classrooms? A short overview of research on vocabulary size and depth of Danish learners of English

Why do Danish learners of English get bad results on vocabulary tests?

Danes are generally thought of as highly proficient in foreign languages, especially in English, as they experience a high degree of exposure to English in their everyday life. We would therefore expect good results on various types of vocabulary measurements. Recent vocabulary studies, however, paint a much bleaker picture of the vocabulary knowledge of Danish L2 learners. The paper presents results from a range of studies of the vocabulary size and depth of Danish learners from different levels of the educational system and discusses possible reasons for these discouraging results.

Jack Richards

Date: 15 August 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: HMLT002

Speaker: Professor Jack C. Richards, Honorary Professor, University of Sydney

Title: The changing face of language learning: Language learning beyond the classroom

Can we learn a language without teachers? Find out what learners do and what they learn from them.
Technology and the internet provides second-language learners with many opportunities to engage in autonomous learning beyond the classrooms, such as through the internet or by watching movies in English, and successful learner often attribute much of their success to out-of-class learning. In view of the growing range of opportunities and resources available to support out-of-class learning, we will examine what some of these opportunities are, how they are used, the kinds of learning affordances they provide, and the issues they raise for classroom based teaching as well as second language teacher education.

Miriam Meyerhoff

Date: 8 August 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Professor Miriam Meyerhoff

Title: Analysing variation before you know it’s there: Some lessons from the field

Methods for studying language variation typically involve linguists engaging with languages that they know rather well. The situation is rather different when you are working on an undescribed or lesser spoken language. 
This talk discusses work that is simultaneously documenting the language Nkep, spoken in northern Vanuatu, and undertaking an analysis of variation. I’ll explain how analysing variation in this context turned my usual approach to variation on its head and illustrate this with data on a typologically unusual feature of Nkep morphosyntax. I also outline ways in which variationist sociolinguistics can be adapted to what’s a realistic expectation for the field.

Laurie Bauer

Date: 1 August 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker:  Emeritus Professor Laurie Bauer

Title: ‘What is the plural of mouse?’ and other unhelpful questions for morphologists.

Why do simple questions give rise to unrealistic theoretical expectations?
In general terms, the questions we ask of our theory constrain the theory itself. I shall take a number of questions which currently might be said to constrain morphological theory, and show that by asking different questions, we can have a better theoretical position.

Prue Holmes

Date: 30 July 2014

Time: 12.00 pm

Venue: MYLT102

Speaker: Dr Prue Holmes, Durham University

Title: Researching Multilingually: Spaces, relationships and researcher possibilities.

The research training provided for researchers tends to overlook or discount the possibilities which arise when researching multilingually.

Managing the complexities which arise when researching multilingually requires skilful linguistic flexibility by both researchers and researched, and appropriate multilingual research and researcher practice, none of which is made explicit in methodology textbooks. Using data from 35 seminar presentations and 25 researcher profiles, this talk reports on an AHRC-funded project on building research design and practice in multilingual contexts. Drawing on multilingual interviews, I illustrate some of the issues involved when researching multilingually (eg. negotiating complex multilingual practices and processes, cross-linguistic data-analysis concerns, interpretation and translation, institutional practices, language politics), and describe an emergent framework for researcher practice.

Tess Fitzpatrick

Date: 25 July 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Professor Tess Fitzpatrick, Cardiff University

Title: Word Associations and Linguistic Investigation

What can word association responses really tell us about a person's mental lexicon?

Word association methods have been used by applied linguists in order to identify patterns in first and second language development, and by psycholinguists in studies relating to age, cognitive function, personality, and psychoses.  While many of these studies have yielded results that are inconsistent or difficult to interpret, others have found patterns of word association behaviour which correlate significantly with other variables. This paper considers how tenable it is to include word association methods in the linguist’s toolkit, and if so, under what conditions they can reliably be deployed. 

Philip Carr

Date: 18 July 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Professor Philip Carr (Université Montpellier III) 

Title: Language mixing in a pair of French/English bilingual siblings: a longitudinal study

We examine the role of intonation in bilingual English/French child code-switching.

We analyse two siblings’ mixed language utterances during two periods: (a) June 2005-July 2006, when the siblings were aged 7;2 – 8;4, and 6;0 – 7;1, respectively, and (b) January 2007 – January 2008, when the siblings were aged 8;10 – 9;10 and 7;8 – 8;8. During both periods, the children lived in France and attended a monolingual Francophone school. However, between these two periods, the siblings lived in the USA for 5 months, and attended a monolingual Anglophone school. We show how the patterns of mixed utterances changed as a result of this Anglophone period, and that tonic placement is central to code-switching in our data.

Kieran File

Date: 14 March 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Kieran File, PhD celebration, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: “Full credit to the boys” The language of sports post-match media interviews: a generic genre?

This talk will provide a summary of my PhD research into the linguistic profile of post-match media interviews. 240 post-match interviews from 4 different sports and 60 ethnographic interviews with players, interviewers and fans were collected and analysed from genre and register perspectives. The findings suggest that while post-match interviews do share some generic features, there can be significant differences in the linguistic choices depending on contextual features like the sport and the region the interview takes place in.

LALS staff

Date: 7 March 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speakers: LALS staff

Title: What are they really up to?

To launch the LALS seminar series for 2014, staff from across the school will take turns to tell you about their research. Could it be that they really do know what they’re talking about in lectures?
You will get to hear what academics do on their research days and during their non-teaching trimester. Come and get excited by the breadth and depth of research currently underway in LALS.

Dr June Eyckmans

Date: 14 February 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Dr June Eyckmans, Ghent University, Belgium

Title: Fostering new L2 word recall through word writing or word typing?

Research on the mnemonic benefits of writing down target words during L2 vocabulary acquisition has produced inconclusive results so far. In my presentation I will present the results of a study designed to assess the effects of two different structurally-oriented processing techniques, namely writing vs. typing, on both receptive and productive word recall. The results will be discussed in light of LOP-theory (Craik & Lockhart 1972), TAP-theory (Morris et al. 1977) and Barcroft’s TOPRA-model for lexical learning (2000).

LALS PhD candidates

Date: 31 January 2014

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speakers: LALS PhD candidates

Title: This pecha kucha format seminar will challenge PhD students to summarize their research in just 20 slides and 20 seconds/slide. 

Douglas Meyer        
Assessing English as an International Language
Melanie Revis‎          
Language maintenance in Ethiopian and Colombian families 
Ruth Graham‎          
Birds of a feather: Animal insults in parliament   
Anik Wulyani‎           
Cohesion and lexical diversity in L2 blog posts     
Deborah Chua‎         
Comparative Alternation in Y-adjectives
Friederike Tegge     
Teaching Vocabulary through Songs

Nguyen Thi Bao Trang

Date: 13 December 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Nguyen Thi Bao Trang, PhD celebration, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Oral tasks in action in Vietnamese EFL high school classrooms: The role of rehearsal and performance in teaching and learning through tasks

My research investigated the use of oral tasks in Vietnamese high school classrooms. The study revealed patterns in the ways in which the teachers used and implemented textbook tasks in order to engage students more deeply in using English. Each of the two phases, rehearsal-(public) performance, of teacher task implementation was shown to contribute to language learning and development in specific ways. Successful uptake in performance correlated with how students resolved language problems in rehearsal and was influenced by tasks and dyad proficiency.

Ewa Kusmierczyk

Date: 18 October 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Ewa Kusmierczyk, PhD celebration, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: “The only problem is finding a job”: Multimodal analysis of job interviews in New Zealand

The job interview is a crucial stage in the decision-making process for employment. The positive presentation of candidate’s personality, motivation and credibility depends on mutual understanding and trust developed between the participants. In my thesis, I have examined those features from the multimodal perspective, which took the analysis beyond spoken language and included gesture, gaze, written text and the use of documents in order to gain a better insight into the subtleties of understanding and trust developed in the interview.

Lauren Whitty and Jeremy Koay

Date: 11 October 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Speakers: Lauren Whitty & Jeremy Koay, PhD candidates, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title 1: "What is a quasi-modal and why does it matter in English language teaching?" by Lauren.

A quasi-modal (have to) is not quite the same as a central modal (must), but plays a similar role. By looking at both in the British National Corpus and an English learner coursebook series, I will share findings and pedagogical implications from the early stages of my research.

Title 2: "Do you believe in your dreams? Questions in self-improvement books" by Jeremy.

In self-improvement books, questions function to engage readership and to rhetorically persuade readers. In this talk, I discuss how questions in my data set perform a range of functions including reinforcing a point, introducing new ideas and anticipating potential disagreement.  

Micky Vale

Date: 4 October 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Micky Vale, PhD candidate, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Bilingual dictionaries and equivalence
Bilingual dictionaries are effective tools for language learners, providing the meanings of L2 words in a very accessible way through the first language (Nation, 2001). However, there are also risks in the way L1 and L2 words are paired up and presented as equivalents in such dictionaries. In this presentation I will use examples from the Online Dictionary of New Zealand Sign Language to highlight some of the problems users of the dictionary might face when they try to encode or decode the meaning of NZSL signs, and outline some ideas for improvements.

Dr Irina Elgort

Date: 27 September 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Dr Irina Elgort, Lecturer, Centre for Academic Development

Title: L2 vocabulary learning at different proficiencies

How does lexical proficiency affect learning new L2 words? Some studies suggest that the effect is largely quantitative (affecting how many words are learned, and how fast they are learned), while others point to various qualitative differences in learning and processing of L2 words. In this presentation I will consider learning outcomes of intentional and incidental L2 vocabulary learning studies, in relation to the learner proficiency effect, and discuss potential implications of the findings for approaches to L2 vocabulary learning and instruction.


Averil Coxhead

Date: 20 September 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Dr Averil Coxhead, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Vocabulary size, vocabulary load, and the significance of the handbag

Do women have bigger vocabularies than men?  How much does the vocabulary of native speakers of English differ from year to year in secondary schools?  What is the vocabulary load of secondary school texts?  What is the significance of the handbag?   Answers to these questions and more will be addressed in this seminar on vocabulary size testing using new versions of Nation’s Vocabulary Size Test in Aotearoa/ New Zealand. Implications for teaching and possibilities for further research will also be noted.

Laurie Bauer

Date: 13 September 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Professor Laurie Bauer, School of Linguistics and Applield Language Studies

Title: English phonotactics

You may have learnt that that any initial 3-consonant cluster must be made up of an /s/ + voiceless plosive + one of a set of approximants. Wrong. What about: short vowels occur only in checked syllables? Wrong. Then perhaps: clusters of consonants always agree in voicing. True only under a number of other assumptions. Not only do these myths persist in our teaching materials, they fail to give the full picture. So come along and worry about the difference between a real exception and one you can ignore.

ELI programme showcase

Date: 23 August 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speakers: ELI Teachers

Title: Something different we're trying on our language programme

The English Language Institute offers four kinds of programmes:
1) Academic English for degree level study in NZ universities;
2) English for professional purposes for government officials;
3) Workplace communication training for NZ skilled migrants; and 
4) Pre-service and in-service teacher training programmes. 
ELI teachers will talk for two minutes about something different they are trying in their programme to promote better learning or teaching. 

Professor Manfred Krifka

Date: 16 August 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Professor Manfred Krifka (The Humboldt University of Berlin)

Title: Modal and temporal reference in Daakie (Austronesian, Vanuatu)

Daakie, a language of South Ambrym, Vanuatu, has about 1000 speakers. From data collected in fieldwork, I describe the Daakie modal system, which includes a realis/potentialis distinction and a distal modality, which can also be used to indicate temporal relationships. The modal paradigm includes a negative marker, and a form used mainly for negative concord. Itinteracts with distinct complementizers and indefinite markers for realis and non-realis modality. In addition to describing this system in detail, I give a sketch of a formal semantic model for it.

David McKee

Date: 9 August 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speakers: Dr David McKee, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Community development through language teacher training.   

Training Deaf people as sign language teachers has development impacts beyond promotion of language teaching. These include strengthening cultural-linguistic identity, building community leadership, opening pathways into higher education and employment, and supporting documentation of signed languages. This presentation describes two SL teacher training programmes at VUW and in an Asia-Pacific regional context, outlining their aims, social context and structure, and commenting on impacts for programme participants and their wider communities.

Keely Kidner

Date: 2 August 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Keely Kidner, PhD candidate, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: From “Toilet Lady” to “Petro Tourist”: An Ethnographic CV‬‬

‪As linguists doing fieldwork, we often rely on skills we have obtained outside traditional academic settings. In this talk, I will discuss what happened around and to me during my ethnographic fieldwork in both Aotearoa/New Zealand and Canada. I will also introduce my project - which examines discourses around environmental debates from a critical and multimodal perspective - its motivations and frameworks, and present some preliminary analysis.‬‬

Shaun Manning

Date: 26 July 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Spreaker: Shaun J. Manning, PhD candidate, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 

Title: The influence of pre-task input, metacognitive awareness, and task repetition on learning opportunities arising in consensus tasks in Korean EFL classes

This study sought ways to integrate tasks into existing EFL courses in ways that address concerns over learners’ strategic approaches, overuse of L1 and the incidental nature of language learning in tasks.  It investigated the influence of: analysing pre-task input of native speakers doing the task; task familiarity; and raising learners’ metacognitive awareness (MA) of the purpose of the task across a number of lessons. It found: learners ignored pre-task input; task familiarity had a mixed effect; and the MA task reduced L1and may be helpful in EFL contexts.

Jo Angouri

Date: 19 July 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Dr Jo Angouri, University of the West of England, Bristol

Title: “We were both students” expertise in peer learning contexts

Learning from peers is common in higher education contexts and directly related to student development. In peer learning environments the students have to negotiate two (often conflicting) roles, that of the peer and the expert. The aim of this is paper is to report on ongoing research on peer academic talk in UK higher education. I discuss the ways in which the peer/expert roles are linguistically enacted in (a)symmetric dynamic events and close the paper with implications for further research in the area.

Sharon Marsden

Date: 14 June 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Sharon Marsden, PhD celebration, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: “Everybody knows everybody”: New Zealand English dialect evolution through a small town lens

My thesis investigates the emergence of regional dialects in New Zealand English. I probe connections between small town teenagers’ local identities and patterns of /r/-use in their data. Discourse analysis of the teenagers’ talk makes a valuable contribution to interpreting the exciting statistical results. The results suggest that NZE is currently exhibiting dynamic restructuring in relation to multicultural communities, transience and language contact.

Rachel McKee

Date: 7 June 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Rachel McKee, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Language capture and analysis in and out of the classroom using ELAN, a multimodal language annotation tool

Digital tools offer the potential to bring research data and enquiry methods directly into learning and teaching for students of languages and linguistics. This presentation demonstrates the versatility of the free tool ELAN, which enables complex, time-aligned annotations on video and audio files. Although suited to any language, examples of research and pedagogical uses of ELAN from the Deaf Studies programme will be shared; eg, analysing sociolinguistic variation in a corpus of NZSL, creating an oral history archive of earthquake stories, and creating language analysis tasks for sign language and interpreting students.

Liza Tarasova

Date: 31 May 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Liza Tarasova, PhD celebration, School of Linguistics and Applied Langiuage Studies

Title: Some new insights into the semantics of English N+N compounds.
The thesis aims to investigate how English N+N compounds acquire their meaning and how the semantics of the constituents contributes to the overall meaning of the structure. The ways in which such contributions are made are inferred from the linguistic analysis of the structure and meaning of compounds. The discussion of the results obtained from a corpus study provides plausible explanations for the regularities noted in the course of the analysis by using some of the relevant principles from the complex of existing approaches.

Maria Polinsky

Date: 24 May 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Professor Maria Polinsky, Harvard University
Title: An experimental approach to English resumption

It has been suggested that English resumptive pronouns (RPs) rescue island violations, as in This is the person that she was responsible for the incident. Experimental evidence, however, shows that English RPs do not in fact ameliorate island violations; nor do they significantly improve long-distance filler-gap dependencies. In this talk I show that RPs are inserted by the speaker to maintain the coreferential relationship between the head noun and the gap position. This predicts that resumption in the subject position should be more acceptable—a result which is confirmed experimentally.

David Britain and Kazuko Matsumoto

Date: 17 May 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speakers: Professor David Britain (Univeristy of Bern) and Kazuko Matsumoto (University of Tokyo)

Title: Palauan English - a new variety of the Western Pacific

This paper has three aims: firstly to set the emergence of English in Palau into the context of the country’s complex colonial past. Secondly, in examining the development of English in Palau, we attempt to apply Schneider’s (2007) ‘Dynamic Model’ of postcolonial English formation to this Anglophone community. Finally, we present an initial portrait of the main linguistic characteristics of Palauan English. We attempt, therefore, to provide a holistic account of the process by which a new English emerges in a colonial environment.

Seyed Hadi Mirvahedi

Date: 10 May 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Seyed Hadi Mirvahedi, PhD candidate, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Language Policy and Planning: From History to Mystery

In this presentation, I briefly review the history of language policy and planning (LPP) since its development within sociolinguistics in the 1950s, stressing how the definition of LPP has changed from having a predominanlty linguistic focus to a more political focus. Drawing on a number of theoretical frameworks, the definition of LPP that I find most useful for my research will be discussed. Finally, I propose an integrated model which demonstrates how LPP decisions and processes are instantiated on the ground, and how this influences  the fate of languages and their speakers.    

Frank Boers

Date: 3 May 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Speaker: Frank Boers, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: The power of pictures: A reappraisal

It is often asserted that L2 learners are helped to retain new words from texts if the meaning of those words is illustrated in a marginal gloss that includes a picture. This belief in the power of pictures is also reflected in contemporary textbooks, which abound with pictorials. However, how strong is the evidence that pictures aid retention of new words?  I will review the relatively small body of published studies on the effects of pictorial glosses, and then report a new study in which L2 learners were asked to recall glossed words after reading conditions with or without pictures in the marginal glosses.


Sasha Calhoun

Date: 19 April 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Sasha Calhoun, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Syntax or Prosody? Focus Marking in Samoan

Prosody and word ordering are two principal means of marking focus cross-linguistically, e.g. in response to “Who ate the jam?” we can say “JOHN ate the jam”, where the prosodic stress marks the focus (“John”), or “it was John who ate the jam”, where the focus is fronted. I report on a study of focus-marking in Samoan. There is an interesting interaction of prosody and word ordering: fronting seems to be used to mark focus, but the prosody differs depending on whether the subject or object is fronted. I speculate on reasons for this.

Marty Pilott

Date: 12 April 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Marty Pilott, PhD candidate, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 

Title: Using Qualtrics - The survey experience

A survey is often an essential part of research and various programmes are available to make surveys public. I have been using Qualtrics to design a survey on the acceptability of pronunciation to employers. It has useful features which enable randomisation and a wide range of questions. On the other hand, it can be surprisingly clunky and require a huge amount of proofreading. I will present my survey, at its current stage, explain the processes which I have used, and encourage discussion of how it can be used.

Dr Louisa Willoughby

Date: 5 April 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Dr Louisa Willoughby, Monash University

Title: Deaf migrants to Australia: Linguistic needs and policy response

In this seminar I will explore the linguistic situation and needs of deaf migrants to Victoria in three areas: communication in the home, communication with service providers and language learning in education. Drawing on interviews with deaf migrants, their families and service providers I will highlight the myriad issues facing families who arrive in Australia with minimal English competence, as well of examples of best practice in meeting the language needs of these families and fostering bilingual development for deaf children from migrant backgrounds.

Paul Foulkes

Date: 22 March 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Professor Paul Foulkes, University of York and J P French Associates

Title: Criminal Voices

Analysis of voice, speech and language is increasingly carried out for forensic purposes. Well known cases that have involved forensic speech analysis include the Yorkshire Ripper enquiry, the David Bain retrial, and the ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ fraud trial.

In this talk I'll provide an overview of forensic speech analysis, illustrating the principles and problems of working with forensic materials with examples materials from real cases.


Robert Blackwood

Date: 20 March 2013

Time: 1.00 pm

Venue: MY632

Speaker: Robert Blackwood, University of Liverpool

Title: Language Policy, Linguistic Landscapes, and the Corsican drinks industry: Corsica-Cola, chestnut beer, and bottled water

For language activists on Corsica, a key aim for the revitalisation of Corsican has been to expand the use of the language beyond the confines of the education system, street signs, and folk music. This revitalisation is set against France’s well-known restrictive language policy, which has sought to manage language use. In this presentation, we examine the extent to which Corsican is visible in a specific part of the Linguistic Landscape (LL), namely the drinks industry. By examining bottles of water, local beer, and soft drinks, we assess the different approaches to Corsican in the LL adopted by the manufacturers of these products.


Elizabeth Pearce

Date: 15 March 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Elizabeth Pearce, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Marking relative clauses in Unua

Among Vanuatu languages, Unua (Malakula) appears to be unique in that the verbs of its relative clauses bear an affix which occurs only in relative clauses. The Unua relative marker m- seems to have derived historically from a realis prefix *mV- which is attested synchronically as a realis marker in only a handful of Malakula languages. In this talk, I offer some suggestions as to both the relic specialization of *mV- in Unua and its widespread disappearance in other languages of Malakula.

Richard Kayne

Date: 1 March 2013

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: HULT119

Speaker: Prof Richard Kayne, New York University. Erskine Fellow, University of Canterbury

Title: Comparative Syntax

The primary importance of comparative syntax lies in the fact that it provides us with new kinds of evidence bearing on questions concerning the general character of the language faculty. Figuring out what cross-linguistic generalizations hold and why exactly they hold will invariably help us to crucially narrow down the set of hypotheses that we entertain about the language faculty. Comparative syntax in all its range can be seen as a new window on the language faculty that is just beginning to bear fruit.  I will try to give a general characterization of comparative syntax work, with some examples.

Neal Norrick

Date: 7 December 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: HMLT001

Speaker: Professor Neal Norrick, University of Saarbruecken

Title: Talking about food: Recipes in conversation

This talk focuses on telling recipes in conversation, stories about cooking, and joke recipes. Recipes have features in common with narratives and also with instructions.  While they routinely issue from narratives and segue back into narratives,  in line with their status as sets of instructions, recipe-tellings constitute expert talk, presupposing shared background knowledge, containing technical vocabulary and references to ingredients, measurements, tools and procedures associated with specialized practices. Conversational recipe-telling exploits conventions from written recipes, appropriating their overall sequential order, presuppositions, vocabulary, measurements, and grammatical structures. Conversely, recipes may engender conversational narratives and serve as the pattern for parody jokes.




Behnam Soltani

Date: 26 October 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT632

Speaker: Behnam Soltani, PhD candidate, Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Language, Academic Culture, Power, and Imagined Communities


International students often face challenges to participate in their new academic classrooms. I am researching the socialization of international students in a tertiary institution in NZ. In this case study of one student from my project, data from diaries, interviews, class observations, video/audio recordings and field notes will be presented.  I will explore how this student negotiates her participation and co-constructs her identity in her new academic community and what strategies she implements to survive in her new academic context. I will also discuss her imagined communities and their impact on her learning trajectories.

Bao Trang Nguyen

Date: 19 October 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Bao Trang Nguyen,PhD candidate, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Language learning through task rehearsal and performance in English foreign language lessons in a Vietnamese high school

This talk focuses on language-related episodes (LREs)(Swain,1998) that arose in task rehearsal and the extent to which they led to uptake in subsequent performance of the same task. The study took place in six intact Grade 11 classes in a Vietnamese high school. The findings showed that an encouraging number of language items attended to in LREs were taken up successfully in performance. However, incorrect uptake also occurred. It was also found that tasks and proficiency impacted on uptake, and the quality of uptake was closely linked to the ways in which learners resolved their LREs in task rehearsal.

Anna Piasecki

Date: 12 October 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Dr Anna Piasecki, PhD celebration, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Demystifying the bilingual mind

This talk will reflect on my journey exploring the mechanisms that allow bilinguals to operate in a particular language with the seeming ease with which they do so. Although it may be tempting to assume that a bilingual can simply switch one language off that is irrelevant in a given context, the talk will show (1) that this is not the case and that both of a bilingual’s languages ‘interact’ continuously, and (2) certain approaches that bilinguals may employ in ambiguous situations. Most importantly, the talk will also show that the architecture of a bilingual’s mind is not static but that, subject to experience, it constantly evolves to accommodate the needs of a bilingual speaker.


Kemel Jouini

Date: 5 October 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Kemel Jouini, PhD candidate, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Subjects & Topics: What’s the difference? Subject-verb agreement configurations in V1/V2 structures

The derivation of subject-verb agreement configurations in V1 and V2 structures (in Germanic, Celtic/Semitic languages) is feature-driven. In these languages, the feature structure of I(nflection) and C(omplementizer) may  be morphologically ‘richer’ than  in other languages. Focusing on ‘Expletive-constructions’, I propose that T(ense)-features and D(eterminer)-features, mainly, combine differently in the representation of ‘Subjects’ in agreement configurations.
Thus, on the basis of such feature combinations, variation in the derivation of V1 and V2 structures centres on how T-features and D-features are distributed in sentence structure. Ultimately, the difference between ‘Subjects’ and ‘Topics’ follows from such a distribution.



Lisa Matthewson and Prof Henry Davis

Date: 1 October 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speakers: Lisa Matthewson Associate Professor, University of British Columbia and Erskine Fellow at the University of Canterbury & Professor Henry Davis, University of British Columbia

: Towards a Scientific Approach to Linguistic Typology

Imminent large-scale language extinction obliges linguists to gather accurate information about linguistic diversity. Evans and Levinson (2009) argue that generative linguistics is ill-suited for discovering diversity, and that informal typological methods are superior.

We argue, in contrast, that diversity is only accurately detected through formal research on individual languages. We outline a scientific methodology for cross-linguistic research, drawing from our work on endangered Amerindian languages. Our case studies demonstrate that formal research detects significant diversity, and dispel the myth of the ‘armchair linguist’ who forces languages into a universalist mold.

Part 1: Syntax (categories, binding).
Part 2: Semantics (modality, quantification).

Jean Parkinson and Jill Musgrave

Date: 28 September 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speakers:Jean Parkinson and Jill Musgrave, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

: Developing noun phrase complexity in academic writing

This talk outlines a project in which research and practice meet. It explores an approach to designing classroom materials and teaching them that draws on a discourse analysis of academic texts written by the students with whom the materials will be used. Firstly we present an analysis of a small corpus of writing by EPP students, focusing on use of the noun phrase, and comparing it to another student corpus of writing by more expert writers of academic English; secondly, building on this analysis, we outline development of language teaching materials and an instructional approach to implement them.

Nicky Riddiford

Date: 21 September 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Nicky Riddiford, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: Using ‘please’ in a request: is it always a magic word?

Most non-native speakers of English have a highly-developed knowledge of the features of polite expressions for making requests in their own language, however, many use the word please indiscriminately in English requests with little awareness of the subtleties involved. This paper presents the findings of a research study into the use of ‘please’ by native speakers of English. Findings from a corpus search, questionnaire, role-plays and interviews suggest that the role of please is a complex one and its use varies according to the context.
The results of this research study were used as part of the communication training materials in the skilled migrant programme at Victoria University and the impact of this input was tracked during two trimesters.


Anna Siyanova

Date: 14 September 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Dr. Anna Siyanova, School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

: Activating gender stereotypes: A life-span perspective

Research suggests that information about stereotypical gender associated with certain occupations and characteristics is incorporated into speakers’ representations. The present study employed a priming paradigm and four groups of participants (eight- and ten-year-old children, young and senior adults) to investigate the activation of gender stereotypes in Italian. The findings suggest that gender stereotyping is almost adult-like by the age of seven, and that the processing pattern, observed in young children, continues into adulthood and old age relatively unchanged. As such, this is the first study that investigates on-line processing of gender stereotypes from a life-span perspective.

Ghil'ad Zuckermann

Date: 7 September 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Professor Ghil'ad Zuckermann, Chair of Linguistics and Endangered Languages, The University of Adelaide, Australia

Title:  Sleeping Beauties Awake: Towards the Establishment of Revival Linguistics

This groundbreaking lecture will analyse the ethical, aesthetic and utilitarian benefits of language revival, and propose the establishment of Revival Linguistics, a new discipline studying systematically the universal constraints and local peculiarities apparent in linguistic and cultural revitalization across various sociological backgrounds.  With coca-colonization and homogenization there will be more and more groups added to the forlorn club of the lost-heritage peoples.  Language reclamation will become increasingly relevant as people seek to recover their cultural autonomy, empower their spiritual and intellectual sovereignty, and improve their wellbeing.  There is an urgent need to offer perspicacious comparative insights relevant to language reclamation.


ELI staff

Date: 31 August 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT632

Speakers: English Language Institute staff members

Title: English Language Institute Programmes

The English Language Institute (ELI) offers a wide range of intensive English language training programmes for different purposes.  These include English for Academic Purposes, English for Specific Purposes and pre-service teacher training (CertTESOL) programmes.  

What are all these programmes we teach and what issues are ELI staff focused on? If you have ever wondered what ELTO, ELTSO, PREPP or EPP stand for, then this is an opportunity to find out. 

Marty Pilott

Date: 17 August 2012

Time: 4.00 pm

Venue: MYLT101

Speaker: Marty Pilott, PhD candidate, School of linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Title: The role of acceptability in pronunciation

A research proposal: English ability is a barrier to migrants' integration and employment.  This is often described as "poor English" but accent is clearly important.  My research agenda examines the problems caused by non-acceptability of migrants' accents to employers.  There is little research on the role of pronunciation, and so there is little advice available for ESOL teachers on acceptability.

These are my research questions:

1. Does pronunciation affect employers' assessment of the suitability of migrants for employment?

2. If so, which problematic pronunciation features are most salient amongst the speakers considered less acceptable?


Back to top ^


Dementia and Applied Linguistics Symposium

Date: 16 December 2015

Time: 9.00 am

Venue: TBA

The Applied Linguistics in Dementia Research Symposium will explore questions at the interface of applied linguists and dementia research.

Back to top ^


EPP teachers

Date: 23 October 2014

Time: 1.00 pm

Venue: VZ802

Speakers: EPP teachers

English Proficiency Programme: Activities, issues, and thoughts.

Come and hear about some of the activities, issues and thoughts of the English Proficiency Programme teachers.

EPP teachers are keen to hear any feedback and ideas that you have too, so this will be followed by group discussion. All welcome.

Back to top ^