Friday 11/20 at 3:30 in Greene 528, Dr. Jerid Francom will present:francojc

Teaching machines to automatically recognize and correct Spanish accentuation errors

Refreshments will be served. See you all there!
An important component of the orthography of many of the world’s languages, including Spanish, diacritic markings (accents) are often stripped or appear inconsistent in text due either to technical errors (OCR errors, 8-bit conversion/stripping, ill-equipped keyboards, etc.) or human error related to the level of formality and/or orthographic knowledge (email/ SMS communication or literacy). Stripping diacritics from some words produce non-ambiguous, non-words such as según/ *segun (according to) which can be resolved relatively easily –yet for other words missing accents produce real-word, context-dependent errors which are much more difficult to resolve reliably, such as pairs for the verb `hablar’ (to speak) habló[3p/past]/ hablo[1p/pres], hablará[3p/fut]/ hablara[3p/past/subj], noun pairs secretaría/ secretaria (secretariat vs. secretary) or demonstrative/noun estas/ éstas (these) or demonstrative/ verb estas/ estás (these/ are[2p/pres]) pairs.
In this presentation I will survey various methods computational linguists have applied to automatically detect and/or restore diacritics to Spanish text –including recently published co-authored work. Focusing less on technical implementations of the methods presented, I aim to use this task as case study on how to address real-world linguistic issues through the lens of a computational linguist.

This Friday at 3:30 in Greene 528, Dr. Claudia Francom will present:francoc

Tell me what Sonoran Spanish sounds like: dialect self-evaluation

Refreshments will be served. See you all there!

The field of Folk Linguistics has been explored in sociolinguistics studies much longer than it has been traditionally recognized; Preston (2000) presents a proposal for the studies of such type, he proposes that “we should be interested not only in (a) what goes on (language), but also in (b) how people react to what goes on (talk concerning language).” The aim of my study is to analyze the perception of the Sonoran Mexican Spanish dialect by its own speakers and how different language attitudes towards this dialect are expressed.
The data comes form the on-line corpus CEHILLO (Francom 2015) and it is composed of traditional sociolinguistic interviews. I focused on questions related to language attitudes in these interviews. The participants were asked to indicate how they talk/sound, and how people in other areas of Mexico say they talk/sound. This study attempts to identify the general linguistic perspectives and viewpoints expressed by the participants in this region. Results suggest that speakers perceive a stereotype associated with the way they talk and are very aware of the extrapolation of North/South, as the most extremely different dialects in Mexico.
This type of phenomenon deserves to be studied because it sheds light on not only on linguistic factors, but economic, social, historic and demographic factors as well. Furthermore, this study expands the geographic regions under investigation in the area of Folk linguistics to include the Northwest area of Mexico –a key geographical area given the proximity to the United States.


Refreshments will be served.

hand lightbulb(HINT: so many cool things!)


This Friday at 3:30 in Greene 528, Dr. Ola Furmanek will present:furmano

The Dialogue Interpreter’s Learning Trajectory: holism, reflection and collaborative dimensions.

This paper examines emerging competency-based approaches to translator education and their applications to initial community interpreter training and continuing professional development. It argues that the lack of structured guidance for professional interpreters is a barrier to meaningful development of domain-specific competencies, especially in the early phases of the interpreter’s career where assumptions with regard to the transferability of skills between domains lead to an under-estimation of development needs. These assumptions extend to organizational and institutional aspects of the inter-professions with whom interpreters interact.

We propose an approach to structured development planning and engagement founded on holism and reflection that is shaped by theoretical insights in workplace learning, namely reflective practice (e.g, Schön 1983) and communities of practice (e.g., Wenger 1998; D’Hayer 2012). Drawing on examples from three domains that have received little attention in relation to interpreter education to date, namely, educational, social care and faith-related interpreting, and our forthcoming work on professional development (Tipton and Furmanek 2016), the paper explores aspects of personalised and targeted professional development planning, which include:

– horizontalism in CPD (goal setting and materials design tailored to an individual’s CPD self-/learning trajectory)
– collaborative approaches to professional development that harness the structural support of professional associations and the possibilities for on-line interactions within and beyond national borders

Wake Forest new faculty headshots, Thursday, August 14, 2014. Mary Good.

Today, 10/23, at 3:30 in Greene 528, Dr. Mary Good will present:

“Forging Friendships and Making Modernity: The Language of ‘Empowerment’ in Tonga National Youth Congress.”

Refreshments will be served!


Our very own Dr. Luis González will be discussing semantic roles today in a Ling Circle  talk at 3:30pm in Greene Hall 239. Hope to see you there!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Semantic roles: How do subject and direct object really work?

Why is it that that cute girl in your class might look like Anne Hathaway but Anne Hathaway will never look like that cute girl? Why Linguists propose the coolest theories all the time can be a sentence in English but *The coolest theories propose linguists all the time is not? Why Students fear tests is not a problem for theories that try to determine who/what the subject and the direct object is but Tests frighten students has been a headache for linguists since semantic roles were proposed in 1965? This presentation will answer these and many other challenging questions for linguistics. It will also account for exceptions to semantic role assignment in Dowty (1991), Davis (2001), Fillmore (1968, 1977), Gruber (1965, 1976), Jackendoff (1976, 1983, 1987), Primus (1999, 2012), Van Valin (2004), Wechsler (1995), among others.

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Thanks to all who participated in the Linguistics Minor Reception–it was a great success!

Hilary Dick

We are proud to announce an upcoming visiting lecture by Hilary Dick entitled:

Possibility and Perdition: Ethical Self-Making in Talk of Migration

Tuesday, March 3rd at 5:00 pm

Museum of Anthropology

Reception to follow in the Museum



Through the analysis of talk among working-class people from a migrant enclave in Mexico, this paper explores the crafting and deployment of imaginaries of mobility across socioeconomic and geopolitical borders. I examine speakers’ engagements with a state-endorsed national imaginary that poses the integration of religious “tradition” and socioeconomic “progress” as imperative for full membership in the Mexican polity. This imaginary of moral mobility relies on a contrast between Mexico and the United States, in which Mexico is the land of tradition and morality and the United States is the land of economic possibility, but moral corruption. Working-class Uriangatenses use talk about migration to the United States to lay claim on ethical selves in the face of the moral peril posed not only by the possibility of moving to the “corrupting North,” but also by their potential inability to progress in Mexico. As I show, the discursive practice of ethical self-making in migration discourse is highly gendered, and, therefore, simultaneously helps enact speakers as certain kinds of gendered actors.


Aull-faculty-photo-1-croppedProfessor Laura Aull and junior linguistics minor-English major Meredith Richardson are currently researching markers of scope of written arguments in English: how writers intimate the origin and breadth of their claims using specific words and phrases. For instance, they have found  phrases student writers frequently use that overstate the certainty of their claims and construct wide-reaching and topic-centered arguments. By contrast, experts show more of a balance of possibility and certainty and make more small-scoped arguments that engage existing views. Aull and Richardson will present their initial findings at the American Association of Applied Linguistics conference in Toronto, Canada in March, 2015.



We are proud to announce an upcoming visiting lecture by Dr. Glenn Martinez entitled:

From valuable to vulnerable: Heritage language health professionals and the ecology of language in health care along the U.S.-Mexico border

Thursday, February 19th at 5:00 pm

Greene 239

Reception to follow in Greene 317