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.


Professor 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






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October 19-21, 2014 four WFU anthropology and linguistics students (Samantha Geary, Tyler Hollifield, Tripp Maloney, and Micah James) accompanied Prof. Margaret Bender on an ethnographic field trip to the Cherokee reservation in western NC.  Students met with language teachers, elders, and staff at the New Kituwah Cherokee Language Immersion Academy.  They learned about language-culture relationships in Cherokee and about the challenges and joys of Cherokee language revitalization.  They attended the annual Cherokee Indian Fair, where they witnessed a Miss Cherokee Pageant (much more creative and empowering than Miss America!), ate traditional boiled breads, studied cultural displays, and learned to get out of the way fast as an unusually heated game of stickball took place.  Despite rainy weather at the campsite, good spirits prevailed throughout!  This unique educational opportunity was sponsored by the Anthropology Department.





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Did you know that Papua New Guinea, which has only about 7 million people, has over 800 languages? Now you know.

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Find out here (these are must-knows)!

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Feast your eyes on this.

The article is here.

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“The “bilingual boost” extends beyond the classroom and into later life. Ellen Bialystok’s research, for example, shows that bilingual adults, as they get older, stay sharper for longer than monolingual adults do. The effect is about four years’ difference on average, which can make a considerable difference to quality of life in retirement. In research by the same team, bilingual adults also showed the delays in the onset of symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. They still got the disease, but they were able to maintain active lifestyles for longer – 5 to 6 years longer on average.”

Linguistics Image (from Silvia Pérez)