SIGLTA meeting on Thursday 23rd May: Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Changing the Face of Formative and Summative Assessment

You are cordially invited to attend the Special Interest Group in Language Testing and Assessment (SIGLTA) meeting. SIGLTA is a postgraduate student-led reading/research group within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. The meeting is at 17:00-18:30 on Thursday 23/05/2019 in room 1173, Avenue Campus (building 65), and will be …

Next CLLEAR talk: Findings from GECO: The Ghent Eye-tracking Corpus of Monolinguals and Bilinguals Reading an Entire Novel

The next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) talk will take place on Wednesday 22nd May 2019 at 4:30pm in Lecture Theatre C, Avenue Campus (Building 65). The talk is entitled “Findings from GECO: The Ghent Eye-tracking Corpus of Monolinguals and Bilinguals Reading an Entire Novel” …

InnoConf19 on 28th June: Treasuring languages: innovative and creative approaches in HE

It is with great pleasure that Modern Languages and Linguistics at the University of Southampton are hosting the 9th annual conference in the Innovative Language Teaching and Learning at University series, InnoConf19, this year. The conference will take place on Friday 28th June 2019. We are delighted to have …

LCAWB talk tomorrow: DeCentring the intercultural and small culture formation on the go – implications for internationalisation, research methods and who we all are.

Language & Culture in the Academic World & Beyond logo
As part of the Language & Culture in the Academic World & Beyond being run by PGR students in Modern Languages and Linguistics, there will be a talk by Professor Adrian Holliday from Canterbury Christ Church University on Friday 10th May 2019 at 4pm in Lecture Theatre B, Avenue Campus (Building 65). The talk is entitled “DeCentring the intercultural and small culture formation on the go – implications for internationalisation, research methods and who we all are.” All welcome – please register for the talk here!

Here is the abstract for the talk:
So much of what has become normalised regarding the intercultural now seems invalidated by Centre structures (e.g. associated with ‘the West’, native-speakerism, the neoliberal university, patriarchy, and methodological nationalism). This includes common large-culture concepts such as equating second language with second culture, quantifying intercultural competence, locating third spaces as between, interpreting integration as mixing with locals. The struggle to deCentre requires finding threads that dissolve assumed boundaries and are often not where we expect, beginning with transient and everyday small culture formation on the go. However, things are often not what they seem. The intercultural is everywhere; interculturality is messy and political; researchers and the researched merge; and data needs to be disturbed. I will attempt to look at these questions through reference to my forthcoming book with Sara Amadasi, Making sense of the intercultural: finding deCentred threads.

Next CLLEAR seminar: A dynamic typology of syntactic change in contact Englishes

CLLEARThe next Centre for Linguistics, Language Education and Acquisition Research (CLLEAR) seminar will take place on Wednesday 15th May 2019 at 4pm in Lecture Theatre C, Avenue Campus (Building 65). The talk is entitled “A dynamic typology of syntactic change in contact Englishes” and will be delivered by Devyani Sharma from Queen Mary, University of London. All welcome!

Here is the abstract for this seminar:
Postcolonial Englishes are an ideal testing ground for the influence of universals and language transfer in contact languages. However, the tendency to conduct static comparisons of contributing grammars to an outcome grammar often overlooks a dynamic aspect of the actuation problem, namely ‘why certain instances of variation become changes and others don’t’ (McMahon 1994). I assess this question in relation to contact settings: Why does only a subset of variable usage become entrenched over time in a given contact variety? An initial comparison of several syntactic features in Indian English and Singapore English supports a strong substrate, rather than universalist, basis for new usage. However, a closer examination shows that only some of these variable features have stabilised and become deeply embedded across the community. Substrates cannot fully account for this subtler distribution. They over-predict change. To better understand which forms become more entrenched, I turn to a sociohistorical hallmark of postcolonial Englishes: diminishing input from the source variety. Drawing on models of input sensitivity from second language acquisition theory (the Subset Principle; the Interface Hypothesis), I develop a two-dimensional typology to assess the relative role of substrate difference and input demand (the degree to which rich input is needed for the acquisition of a specific syntactic form) in stable outcomes in New Englishes. Both appear to be operative but substrates may be the more powerful force, as certain entrenched forms point to hard limits on learnability due to the substrate grammar, despite low input demand. Modelling contact as dynamic phases of individual learning embedded within a changing linguistic ecology helps to account for selective change over time within wider feature pools of variability. It also uses long-term outcomes of social contact to feed into theoretical questions of featural representations and learnability.

South East Regional Routes into Languages Foreign Language Spelling Bee Competition

It is with great pleasure that Modern Languages and Linguistics are today (24th April) hosting the South East regional qualifying round of the Routes into Languages Foreign Language Spelling Bee Competition. 3,284 year 7s started the competition in the South East and the last 60 pupils from 20 schools are competing today, with the top 4 in each language proceeding to the national finals in London later this year.

This is part of a national competition for Year 7 pupils to practise and improve their vocabulary, spelling and memory skills in a foreign language (French, German or Spanish). The pupils will have one minute each to translate into the target language randomly selected words from the 150 that they have learnt up to this stage and spell them out in the target language.

The Routes into Languages Foreign Language Spelling Bee is one of many initiatives looking to buck the trend in the decline in modern language learning and which promote learning foreign languages to school pupils.

You can follow the event on Twitter accounts from 1pm today on @ModernLangs, @unisouthampton and @UoSmedia.

To see previous Spelling Bee competitions in action, please see the Routes into Languages NW Foreign Language Spelling Bee Competition 2014 (which was hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University).

Research centres event on Wednesday 20th March: “Perspectives on the concept of the ‘native speaker'”

Research centresThe next seminar, which combines speakers from four of our research centres, will be held on Wednesday 20th March from 4-5:30pm in Lecture Theatre C at Avenue Campus (Building 65). The seminar is entitled “Perspectives on the concept of the ‘native speaker'” and will be presented by a range of staff from the department. All staff and students are welcome for what will be a lively session!

Here is the abstract for the seminar:
Over recent decades, the notion of the ’native speaker’ has been much discussed and often contested in applied and socio-linguistics. In this cross-centres seminar, speakers from our four research centres, CGE, CLLEAR, MeXsu and TNS will each present their own approach to the notion, and the seminar will then be opened up to the audience for comment and discussion. The speakers are Rob Baird and Sonia Morán Panero representing CGE, Laura Dominguez representing CLLEAR, and Clare Mar-Molinero representing both MeXsu and TNS.

The 2018-19 Italian Film season has now finished

Italian flagDear students and staff,

We regret to inform you that due to heavy academic workload for our students for whom the films have been arranged, it has been decided to cancel the two last screenings of our Italy through its films.

Therefore the screening of La Vita è bella on 11th March and Perfetti sconosciuti on 25th March will not go ahead. Students and staff will be able to borrow both DVDs from Avenue library and watch them in their own time if they wish to.

We apologise for any disappointment but we are sure that you understand that these events are dictated by educational priorities linked to modules and in this particular case we felt it was necessary to readjust films screenings accordingly.

Best wishes,
Alessia and Louis

Next Centre for Transnational Studies seminar on Wednesday 6th March: Who defines what it means to be “disabled” in China today?

TNSThe next Centre for Transnational Studies seminar will be held on Wednesday 6th March from 4-5pm in room 1177 at Avenue Campus (Building 65) in collaboration with the Confucius Institute. The seminar is entitled “Who defines what it means to be ‘disabled’ in China today?” and will be presented by Dr Sarah Dauncey from the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham. All staff and students are welcome!

Here is the abstract for the seminar:
In this talk, Sarah Dauncey looks at the construction of disabled identities specifically from the perspective of Chinese cultural epistemologies. Drawing on sociological theories of citizenship, her research reveals how traditionally accepted notions of personhood are often fundamentally challenged through encounters and interactions with understandings of disability and impairment. She provides engaging examples of the ways in which representations and narratives of disability negotiate the identity of their subject(s) in relation to dominant discourses, where collective social, political and cultural understandings of what it means to live a ‘productive’ disabled life are both imbued and contested. Her findings offer new evidence as to the importance of intersectional accounts of disabled citizenship in revealing the complex and shifting power relationships between disabled individuals and/or groups and the state in any particular country or specific cultural context.

More information on Dr Dauncey can be found on her profile page.

Italian film showing on Monday 25th February – A Special Day – Una Giornata Particolare

Italian flagWe are pleased to invite you to the next film of our Italy through its films series, featuring A Special day – Una Giornata Particolare (Ettore Scola, 1977).

Join us on Monday 25th February in Lecture Theatre B at Avenue Campus at 6:15pm. “A Special Day” takes place on the day of Hitler’s 1938 state visit to Rome, where he was given a gigantic, hysterically enthusiastic reception by Mussolini, the King, the diplomatic corps. After packing off her six children and her husband (all properly uniformed) to attend the rally, Antonietta sets about to clean her cramped apartment when Rosamunda, the mynah bird, escapes and flies to the other side of the courtyard of the now-empty apartment block. This is the device that brings Antonietta and Gabriele together… A Special Day stars Sofia Loren (Antonietta) and Marcello Mastroianni (Gabriele).

There is also a critique of the film by Louis Bayman.

All welcome, free entry!