Friday, August 17, 2012

Language Science Day 2012

The signature event of the language science community at UMd, Language Science Day, took place this year on September 12, from 11:45am to 5:30pm at the Nyumburu Cultural Center, followed by a dinner at 6:30pm.  The goal of the event was to communicate research goals and opportunities for interdisciplinary connections. As last year, around 200 participants attended the event. Both students and faculty learned about research activities in other departments that they may not have encountered otherwise, whether or not they are new to the university. For additional details about the event please visit:

Monday, July 30, 2012

Welcome to six undergraduate summer research fellows

Welcome to Anna Bonnett, Morgan Moyer, Ilanna Newman, Emma Nguyen, Alex Ralph, and Sandy Wan – six undergraduate Linguistics majors who have been awarded funded research positions to work on language science projects this summer. Three students – Anna, Emma and Sandy – were awarded a Baggett Summer Scholarship (now in its seventh year, and going strong!). Anna will be working with Naomi Feldman and Shannon Barrios. Emma Nguyen and Sandy Wan will be working with Jeff Lidz, as well as Alexander Williams, in the baby lab.

Three additional students – Alex, Morgan and Ilana – were awarded a brand new CASL-UMD Language Science Summer Scholarship (an award so new the name is still in flux). Alex Ralph will be working with Melinda Martin-Beltran (of the Education Dept., otherwise known as "Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership"). Ilanna Newman will be working with Jeff Lidz in the baby lab. And Morgan Moyer will be working with Valentine Hacquard and Jeff Lidz. Also new this year, the CASL-UMD program will be organizing a series of once-per-week lunchtime meetings where faculty mentors of the CASL-UMD program will each give a short presentation about their work. These meetings will be very useful, particularly for linguistics majors with an interest in getting involved in research fellowships next summer.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Chuchu Li and Candise Lin (HDQM) - Best Student Paper Award, Shanghai, China

Chuchu Li and Candise Lin, both from the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, UMD, attended the Speech Prosody International Conference, which was held in Shanghai, China, May 22-26, 2012. Both of them won the second prize of the “Best Student Paper Award” at this conference. From among 189 papers, 4 were awarded the 2nd prize and 1 was awarded the 1st prize. The title of Chuchu Li’s presentation was “The Activation of Segmental and Tonal information in Lexical Access among Chinese-English Bilingual Speakers”, and the title of Candise Lin’s presentation was “The Role of Lexical Knowledge and Stress Cues in Segmentation in Second Language Learners of English”.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Sol Lago and Wing Yee Chow, winners of the 2012 "Jerrold J. Katz Young Scholar Award".

Sol Lago and Wing Yee Chow, who learned yesterday that they are joint winners of the 2012 "Jerrold J. Katz Young Scholar Award". This is an award for the best paper by a young researcher (student, postdoc, early faculty) at the 2011 CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, held at Stanford University in March 2011. The title of their presentation was "Word frequency affects pronouns and antecedents identically: Distributional evidence." They will be presented with the $500 award at the 2012 CUNY conference, which will take place in New York City March 14-16.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The IGERT Program is now accepting applications

We are now accepting applications from students who would like to become full participants in our IGERT program in Biological and Computational Foundations of Language Diversity. To download the guidelines for applicants please visit Note that the program is open to ALL U of Maryland PhD students, regardless of citizenship, departmental home, or faculty advisor. There are currently 35-40 students from 7 departments and programs who regularly participate in activities related to the IGERT program.

Benefits of Participation

For students

-- engage in innovative interdisciplinary training
-- develop research skills not normally available in a single department
-- participate in collaborative research
-- learn to communicate with diverse groups, contribute to scientific
-- develop leadership skills through student-led initiatives
-- success enhanced by strong peer support network
-- funding for research and travel

For faculty/departments

-- cutting-edge training enhances students' career prospects
-- professional development activities help students' presentation and
communication skills
-- students can bring new expertise to the home department
-- student projects can foster lasting cross-department collaborations
-- access to additional funding for research and travel
-- enhances department visibility and supports recruiting outstanding
-- improves department's ability to compete for new grants, gifts, etc.
-- be an integral part of the largest language science community in N
America, a U of MD priority area

Note that although applications are not due until March 28th (Wednesday after Spring Break), we're asking applicants to notify us by March 12th, so that we have a good estimate of how many applications to expect. Please direct inquiries about the program to any participating faculty members, to Colin Phillips (, the program director, or to Csilla Kajtar (, the program coordinator.

Csilla Kajtar
IGERT Program Coordinator |
Linguistics Department | University of Maryland
1413H Marie Mount Hall | College Park, MD 20742

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Winter Storm 2012, in Summary

Around 125 students and faculty members participated in Winter Storm 2012 – an intensive 2-week workshop organized by the University of Maryland's language science community in connection with its NSF-IGERT program on Biological and Computational Foundations of Language Diversity. The goal of this year’s Winter Storm was to offer an opportunity for interdisciplinary networking between students and faculty, collaborative team-building, professional development and acquisition of new skills. The 2012 Winter Storm’s program included:

• Introductory lecture by Dr. Colin Phillps, where he addressed the progress of the IGERT program to date and outlined the goals of the program for the near future.
• Daily 2-hour Morning Sessions. This course was meant as an introduction to both programming and statistics using free R software. The teachers – all graduate students from the Linguistics department (Wing Yee Chow, Shevaun Lewis, Annie Gagliardi, Ewan Dunbar) – demonstrated how to format, organize and analyze the data and introduced some tools for data visualization. Anyone interested was welcome, but the course was directed especially to students with no previous knowledge and to intermediate students who would like to improve their expertise with R.
• Advanced R Sessions. Led by Dr. Scott Jackson from CASL, this session targeted advanced users of R, and covered plotting techniques to help the researchers visualize their results in a more effective way for presentation and publication.
• Lunch Talks. We asked faculty members from various UMD departments to give talks on their research in order to help language science students learn more about the different types of language research that is being conducted on campus. The invited speakers included Dr. Peter Carruthers (Philosophy), Dr. Jeff McSwan (Education), Dr. Cathy Doughty (SLA/ CASL), Dr. Alexander Williams (Linguistics/Philosophy), Dr. Min Wang (Human Development), Dr. Elizabeth Redcay (Psychology), Dr. Yi Ting Huang (Hearing and Speech), Dr. Jonathan Beier (Psychology), Dr. Mike Maxwell (CASL). Besides the intellectual pleasure, the attendees were treated to free delicious lunches provided by lunch elves (graduate student volunteers), courtesy of UMIACS.
• Professional Development Series. This Winter Storm session provided the participants with an opportunity to prepare for life after graduation. The three sessions discussed 1) how to obtain a post-doc overseas and what to expect of it (led by Dr. Akira Omaki, Johns Hopkins University), 2) how to secure a job in academia and what it entails (led by Dr. Susanne Jaeggi, UMD) and 3) how to prepare for the job market (led by Dr. Howard Lasnik, UMD). These sessions had a very informal atmosphere where the session leaders shared their experience and advice and the participants had the opportunity to express concerns and ask questions.
• Special Interest Groups (SIGs). Based on the successful outcome of these sessions in previous years, this year’s Winter Storm brought together new research groups with plenty of opportunities for the participants to establish interdisciplinary connections and work on collaborative projects. This year’s SIGs were devoted to diverse topics, such as Eye-tracking (led by Susan Teubner-Rhodes), Language Production (led by Dr. Robert Slevc), Psych reality of grammars (led by Dr. Georges Rey), ACT-R computational model (led by Dan Parker), and Theory of Mind (led by Kate Harrigan).
• Panel Session. A new feature of this year’s Winter Storm was the panel session on “Translation of Research to Practical Applications”. The overall goal of the panel was to raise awareness of connections between basic science and practical applications of language science and to discuss best practices for improving these connections. The talks by the three panelists from a variety of fields - Dave Baggett (UMd graduate, technology entrepreneur, UMd Board of Trustees), Dr. Nan Ratner (Chair, Hearing & Speech Sciences) and Dr. Mike Long (Founder, SLA program) – were very warmly received and engaged the participants in a lively discussion.

The Winter Storm 2012 Organizing Committee— Anna Lukyanchenko (SLA), Susan Teubner-Rhodes (Psychology/NACS), Kate Harrigan (Linguistics), Sol Lago (Linguistics), Candise Lin (Human Development), Ilina Stojanovska (SLA) and Xuan Wang (Philosophy)— would like to thank the many people who participated in this event and helped to make it a success.

For details of the Winter Storm 2012 see the Winter Wiki at