School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Past Events

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.

Linguistic Honours Scholarship

Date: 1 March 2011

Time: 12.00 am

Venue: n/a

The school usually offers a scholarship in Linguistics Honours each year. Further details for 2012 will be posted later this year.

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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

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Public Lectures

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

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Abigaël Candelas de la Ossa

Date: Cancelled

Time: 4.00 pm


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. 

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?


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