Wednesday, September 11, 2013
This year the 4th annual Language Science Day, taking place on September 27th at the Riggs Alumni Center, is featuring the official launch of the Maryland Language Science Center. The launch is scheduled from noon to 1:45 pm at the same location. The Maryland Language Science Center represents a major commitment by the University of Maryland to language science as a strategic priority. The center is a collaborative effort involving language scientists from 16 departments and centers in six colleges across the university. The Center’s efforts will focus on interdisciplinary research and training, with the goal of answering grand challenges in basic science, and solving real-world language problems in education, technology, and health. More information on the center and the event is at languagescience.umd.edu/launch
Dustin Chacón (3rd year IGERT student from the Linguistics Department) spent summer 2013 doing research in Dhaka, Bangladesh and Kolkata, India. He worked with Professor Sikder Monoare Murshed and Mashrur Imtiaz at Dhaka University, and with Professor Mina Dan and Shirsho Dasgupta at Calcutta University. Dustin was running a series of experiments investigating how filler-gap dependencies are resolved in Bengali/Bangla, an Indo-Aryan language with more than 200 million speakers. Dustin was investigating the role that word order plays in resolving ambiguous filler-gap dependencies in Bangla, since Bangla has a flexible word order in the relevant respects. He was also investigating dialectal differences between West Bengali Bangla and Bangladeshi Bangla, since pilot data suggested filler-gap dependency resolution preferences varied by dialect.
On September 27 and 28, 2013 the UMD Language Science Outreach group is participating in an NSF-organized science and engineering careers fair for local teachers, middle and high school students, entitled “CHANGE THE WORLD: Science & Engineering Careers Fair.” The event is tailored to middle and high school students, teachers, and families. NSF is co-sponsoring this important event with Congressman Frank Wolf in northern Virginia at the Dulles Town Center Mall at Dulles Town Circle, Dulles, Virginia 20166 on Friday-Saturday, September 27-28, 2013. The careers fair will showcase exciting science and innovation with the goal of encouraging young people, especially in grades 7-12, to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). More than 60 interactive exhibits will engage students, teachers, parents, and the public in activities highlighting the work done by scientists and engineers and their process of discovery: from facial recognition to “smart” bridges; from predicting lava flows to DNA sequencing of strawberries; from investigating crashes to manipulating robots. Members of the 2013 Language Science group attending the event are Alison Shell (Psychology), Chris Heffner (Linguistics), Alix Kowalski (Hearing and Speech Sciences), Rachel Dudley (Linguistics), Yakov Kronrod (Linguistics). Faculty support is offered by Meredith Rowe (Human Development) and Ellen Lau (Linguistics).
This 2013 Language Science student Executive Committee’s members are Chuchu Li (Human Development and Quantitative Methodology), Yuichi Suzuki and Eric Pelzl (Second Language Acquisition), Shota Momma (Linguistics), Mike McCourt (Philosophy), Alison Shell (Psychology), and Katie Leech (Human Development and Quantitative Methodology)
The 2013 recipients of the full IGERT student status are Alix Kowalski (Hearing and Speech Sciences), Eric Pelzl (Second Language Acquisition), Michael McCourt (Philosophy), Alvin Grissom (iSchool), Mike Fetters (Linguistics), Alia Biller (Second Language Acquisition), Rachel Dudley (Linguistics), Zoe Schlueter (Linguistics), and Chris Heffner (Linguistics).
Giovanna Morini (5th year IGERT student from the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences) won an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant to complete her dissertation research entitled “Interactions between Language Experience and Cognitive Abilities in Word Learning and Word Recognition." The PI on the grant is Rochelle Newman (Hearing and Speech Sciences) and the Co-PI is Colin Phillips (Linguistics).