Monday, 31 March 2014

ROLLS 2 April: Anna Pauwels, Gender and language learning

This week for the Research on Languages and Linguistics seminar series  Prof. Anne Pauwels from SOAS is visiting to talk about ‘Gender and language learning: gendered learning?’. As usual, the talk will be in A071, from 13.00-14.30 and is open to all. 

Anglophone societies appear to have a complex relationship with the learning of languages. Although their populations display a significant degree of bi- or multilingualism, the formal learning of other/foreign languages is rather scarce in comparison to that found in many other societies. This is regularly affirmed through cross-national and regional surveys of second/foreign languages (e.g. Eurobarometer surveys on language learning). Furthermore, there is significant evidence that the participation in language learning is particularly gendered in anglophone societies – the learning of foreign/other languages seems to be a predominantly female (academic) pursuit or choice. Beyond the compulsory stages, boys’ engagement with such learning is low. In this presentation I explore  reasons for this differentiation by drawing upon an extensive study of boys (not) learning languages (Carr & Pauwels 2008) in Australia. This will be complemented by a more recent study investigating gendered behavior in language learning involving the internet. Both studies point towards similar reasons for gendered behavior in relation to language learning.

Monday, 24 March 2014

ROLLS 26 March: Lucy Jones: Racist discourse and homonormativity in an LGBT youth group.

As part of the Research on Linguistics and Language at Sussex seminar series, this Wednesday we will be hosting Lucy Jones, from the University of Hull, the talk will be 13.00-14.30 in Arts 071 - all welcome!

“If a Muslim says ‘homo’, nothing gets done”. Racist discourse and homonormativity in an LGBT youth group.

In this paper, I will present ethnographic data which emerges from my recent research with an LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) youth group, and will detail a range of stances and practices used by the group members in order to construct a shared identity. Though the group includes cis gay males, cis lesbians, a trans bisexual female and a trans heterosexual male, ranging from 15-22 years old, I will show that the group members symbolically erase the differences between them via a range of interactional tactics. They produce a somewhat mutual identity, one which is enabled via their ‘othering’ of local young people of South Asian descent; by projecting a homophobic identity upon their Asian neighbours, they position themselves as comparatively ‘British’ and ‘normal’, legitimising their use of racist language. The group members also take stances against notions of gay pride and queerness, which they perceive to be outdated and old-fashioned; this, again, allows them to construct a comparatively ‘normal’ identity. Drawing on Bucholtz and Hall’s (2005) sociocultural linguistics framework, I will offer discourse analysis of specific interactional moments whereby the young people position themselves and others in line with both broad ideological identity categories and ethnographically-salient subject positions and personae. Drawing on theories prevalent in contemporary queer studies, I will ask why this identity work is taking place. In particular, I will consider Duggan’s (2002) notion of ‘homonormativity’ – an ideological, depoliticised gay identity which does not challenge heteronormative assumptions or ideals, and which arguably privileges white queer subjects and marginalises people of colour – in relation to the young people’s use of racist language to emphasise their own normalcy.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

talk on Intercultural Communicative Competence 25 March

Tuesday  25TH March at 3.00 pm (until 4.30)
Language Learning Centre, Arts A
       Dr Veronica Colwell O’Callaghan           
                              Associate Professor, Universidad de León

 “Project work in the development of intercultural communicative competence”

Veronica Colwell is Associate Professor of English at Universidad de León in Spain.  She regularly publishes in academic journals about different aspects of  teaching and learning of English as a Foreign Language from curriculum development and the CERF to assessment and feedback.
A lead contributor to LIPS (Linguistic and Intercultural Preparation of Students for the workplace), she will be talking about her vast experience in multi-disciplinary and multinational projects with an intercultural focus.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

English Colloquium: Tony McEnery

ROLLS talk: Paul Baker

As part of the Research on Language and Linguistics at Sussex seminar series, this week we will be hosting Paul Baker from Lancaster University. The talk will be Wednesday 19 March, 12.00 in Arundel 211

“Homosexuals are often very delightful, artistic and loving people”: An analysis of the changing language of anti-equality voters in the British Parliament.

This paper is concerned with the language around the legal processes involved in two (successful) attempts to award equality to gay men and women in the UK. The first took place in a series of political parliamentary debates between 1998-2000 which resulted in equalising the age of consent for sexual intercourse for gay men at 16. The second set of debates occurred in 2013 and involved allowing same-sex partnerships to be legally recognised as marriages.

These two debates are a rich source of data for analysis of discourse and argumentation around homosexuality and equality. While public attitudes have become more liberal towards homosexuality, in both debates a substantial number of Members of Parliament and Lords voted against equality, being willing to go ‘on-record’ about their decision, and sometimes speaking at length about why they wished to do so.

In order to examine how British Parliamentary arguments against LGBT equality have changed in response to decreasing social acceptability of discriminatory language against minority groups a combination of corpus-driven and corpus-based methods were used to compare two small corpora (168,000 words in total) consisting only of the speech from people who voted ‘no’ to change in the law across the two debates. The research questions focussed on whether and how these anti-equality speakers differed between the two time periods in the ways they constructed their 1) anti-equality arguments and 2) attendant representations of gay people.

Using AntConc, first we analysed keywords by comparing the two corpora of ‘anti-equality’ speeches together. After discarding ‘expected’ keywords which occurred due to the specific nature of each debate (e.g. consent, marriage), we examined other keywords which appeared more linked to specific representations and argumentation strategies (e.g. moral, consultation). Following this, we focussed more closely on frequencies and collocates of the lemmas GAY and HOMOSEXUAL in each set of debates, as well as examining concordances and frequencies of words relating to the concept of homophobia.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Call for papers: 9th Workshop on Written Language & Literacy

 9th Workshop on Written Language and Literacy
Short Title: AWLL9

Date: 04-Sep-2014 - 05-Sep-2014
Location: Brighton, United Kingdom
Contact Person: Lynne Cahill
Web Site:

Linguistic Field(s): Applied Linguistics; Computational Linguistics; General Linguistics; Lexicography; Writing Systems

Call Deadline: 11-Apr-2014

Meeting Description:

Orthographic Databases and Lexicons
Ninth International Workshop on Writing Systems and Literacy
Brighton, UK, September 4th-5th 2014
University of Sussex

This workshop is the ninth in a series of international meetings devoted to the issue of writing systems. The writing systems workshops have offered a forum for discussion between researchers from a range of different countries and linguistic backgrounds, working in a variety of fields of writing research such as theoretical linguistics, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics and language education.

Earlier themes included ‘What Spelling Changes’ (1997), ‘Writing Language’ (2000), ‘From Letter to Sound’ (2002), ‘Mapping graphemes onto phonemes’ (2004), ‘Constraints on Spelling Changes’ (2006), ‘Typology of Writing Systems’ (2008), ‘Units of Language - Units of Writing’ (2010) and ‘The Architecture of Writing Systems’ (2012). Previous meetings were held in Nijmegen (The Netherlands), Cologne (Germany), Antwerp (Belgium) and Braunschweig (Germany). This ninth workshop will take place in Brighton (UK).

Invited Speakers:

Viorica Marian (Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Northwestern University); Boris New (Laboratoire de Psychologie et Neurocognition, Université de Savoire).

Program Committee:

Lynne Cahill (School of English, University of Sussex), Anneke Neijt (Dutch Department, University of Nijmegen), Beatrice Primus (German Department, University of Cologne), Terry Joyce (Tama University, Tokyo).


Researchers who would like to attend the workshop without presenting a paper are also welcome. Registration details will be available nearer the date of the workshop. The workshop program and the abstracts of the accepted papers, along with travel and accommodation information will be circulated electronically well before the workshop.

2nd Call for Papers:

The focus of this 9th workshop is the use of databases and lexicons. Especially welcome are contributions on the following questions:

- What kind of orthographic information is available in databases?
- In what ways can mono- and crosslingual information be incorporated?
- To what extent can rule-based information be employed in lexicons and/or databases?
- How can the relationship between orthography and phonology be represented in databases/lexicons?
- What practical purposes (e.g. computational, pedagogic, lexicographic) can be served by databases/lexicons?

Important Dates:

First call for proposals: October 2013
Second call for proposals: March 2014
Submission deadline: April 11, 2014
Notification of acceptance: May 9, 2014
Workshop: 4 - 5 September 2014

Submission Guidelines:

Authors should submit abstracts of no more than 300 words (Font: Times New Roman 12, line spacing: 1.5). Speakers will have 30 minutes for their presentation, and 15 minutes for discussion and questions. Please submit abstracts electronically (rtf, pdf, doc, docx).



Association Website: