2012-2013 Schedule

Thursday, September 20, 7:00 pm, Tyler School of Art

Dr. William Labov, University of Pennsylvania

Title: The changing patterns of Philadelphia English: Black, White and Latino

Abstract:  How does Philadelphian differ from other dialects across the United States? What natural misunderstandings stem from the Philadelphia dialect and how is our accent changing in response to higher education and immigration? Learn more about Philadelphia’s place in American English with internationally renowned linguist William Labov.

Bio: William Labov is a University of Pennsylvania linguist who has been studying the Philadelphia dialect for the past 25 years. He is widely regarded as the founder of variationist sociolinguistics and his 1960s studies of African American Vernacular English remain some of the most respected linguistic research of the 20th century. 

Wednesday, October 3, 3:00 pm, Ritter Hall 109

Dr. Emily Farrell, Mouton De Gruyter

Title: So you want to publish your dissertation?

Abstract: The achievement of the PhD is a great one, the culmination of years of learning, research, careful supervision, and finally (after sweat and many tears) acquiring the ins and outs of the special genre of writing called the dissertation. The dissertation, however, is not the end! You want to make sure that your valuable research reaches beyond your academic family and out into the wider world of researchers, teachers, and students. During most graduate programs there is little time to focus on the how the dissertation is turned into a book. In this workshop we will discuss the central differences (and similarities) between the genres and examine the four central steps in getting your work published and into the right hands: editing your dissertation; choosing a publisher; writing a book proposal; and marketing your work.

Bio: Emily Farrell received her PhD from Macquarie University in Linguistics in 2009, under the supervision of Professor Ingrid Piller. During her time as a graduate student, she spent time in the Teaching and Learning department at Temple University with Professor Aneta Pavlenko. Since 2011 she has worked as an acquisitions editor for De Gruyter Mouton, first in Berlin and now in the US. Emily manages the applied linguistics and sociolinguistics lists for Mouton.

Wednesday, October 24, 3:30 pm, Walk Auditorium

Dr. Spiros Papageorgiou, Educational Testing Service

Title: The Common European Framework of Reference: Current and Future Applications in Language Testing

Abstract: The Council of Europe is the continent’s oldest political organization and has published a number of documents since the 1970s that have been influential to second language teaching and learning. The publication, in particular, of the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) in 2001 has been recognized as the “most significant recent event on the language education scene in Europe” (Alderson, 2005, p. 275). The main purpose of the CEFR is to provide a common basis for the elaboration of language syllabuses, examinations, and textbooks, by describing in a comprehensive way what language learners have to learn to do in order to use a language effectively for communication (Council of Europe, 2001, p. 1). The CEFR is mostly known for its language proficiency scales and their constituent performance descriptors, which define communicative language proficiency at six main levels: A1 and A2 (Basic User), B1 and B2 (Independent User), C1 and C2 (Proficient User). Providers of language tests very often refer to these levels to explain the meaning of test scores to their users.

In this presentation I focus on three main topics. First, I explain the sociopolitical and educational contexts behind the development of the CEFR and the research that led to its proficiency scales. Second, I discuss how the CEFR has been used to design language tests and report test scores. Using examples from my own research, I make specific reference to the use of standard setting methodology to build a claim of linking test scores to the CEFR levels and the validity evidence that should be provided. Third, I suggest directions for future research to further enhance our understanding of using the CEFR in test design and score use and interpretation.


Alderson, J. C. (2005). Editorial. Language Testing, 22(3), 257-260.

Council of Europe (2001). Common European Framework of Reference for Languages: Learning, teaching, assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bio: Spiros Papageorgiou is a Research Scientist at Educational Testing Service, in Princeton, New Jersey, USA. Spiros received his doctoral degree in linguistics specializing in language testing from Lancaster University in the UK in 2007. After graduation, he worked as a researcher and a program manager at Cambridge Michigan Language Assessments (known until 2010 as the University of Michigan English Language Institute) and had primary responsibilities for leading the design and development of English assessment programs and planning and conducting research to support them. His research interests include mapping language test scores to the CEFR (Common European Framework of Reference) levels and listening assessment, and he has published a number of journal articles and book chapters on these topics. He has also been an active member of the language testing community, serving as member-at-large of the Executive Boards of the International Language Testing Association (ILTA) and the Midwest Association of Language Testers (MwALT). Spiros was the recipient of the Robert Lado Memorial Award in 2007 and the Jacqueline Ross TOEFL Dissertation Award in 2009.

Watch Dr. Papageorgiou’s talk here!

Monday, November 5, 3:30 pm, Kiva Auditorium

Beth Gellman-Beer, Esq.

Title: Understanding the Legal Provisions of an Equal Education Opportunity to English Language Learners

Abstract:  What are the responsibilities of schools or universities in providing equal education opportunity to English Language Learners (ELLs)?  How are violation complaints filed to the Office of Civil Rights and what happens once they are?   Learn more about the Office for Civil Rights, and how we enforce Title VI in public institutions to ensure that their programs serve ELLs effectively.  Illustrative cases will include locally investigated discrimination complaints for ELLs.

Bio: Beth Gellman-Beer is a Supervisory Attorney with the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights. She earned her B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College, as an Anthropology major, in 1997, and earned her J.D. from Temple University, School of Law, in 2004. After graduating, Beth joined a general litigation firm in Philadelphia, where she worked as an associate for several years, until she joined the U.S. Department of Education, as a Team Attorney, in 2006. In 2010, Beth became a Supervisory Attorney, where she now leads a team of Attorneys and Equal Opportunity Specialists, in investigating and resolving complaints of discrimination against public schools. Beth resides in Rydal, PA, with her husband and two children

Wednesday, November 14, 5:30 pm, Tuttleman 105

Dr. Mark Ouellette, University of Pennsylvania

Title: Understanding Plagiarism, Authorship, and Identity in ESL Composition: An Academic Literacies Model

Abstract: Across US university campuses, the term “plagiarism” is so widely used among students and teachers alike that its definition seems almost commonsense. Yet, as technology provides ever-increasing access to information and as diverse populations of students enroll in university courses, changing notions of authorship and intellectual property become more complex. In fact, how we understand what plagiarism is and how it can be avoided is often context-specific. That is, it often depends on who is doing the writing about whom, for what purposes, and for which audiences. In this way, learning to avoid plagiarism involves, to a great extent, becoming socialized into these context-specific ways that texts are produced, interpreted, and valued in various academic disciplines. This can certainly be a daunting task for any writer because, as Bergman (1994) states, “the differences among disciplines is profound, since they touch on questions of values and ethics which reveal contradictory assumptions concerning the nature of knowledge.”

Nonnative English speakers (NNESs) in university composition courses particularly encounter difficulty with issues of plagiarism since they can experience a type of “triple-bind” above and beyond their native English-speaking counterparts. That is, not only can they struggle with contradictory assumptions between disciplines, but they can also struggle with two additional issues: (1) the complex linguistic structures required to quote and paraphrase in a second language; and (2) the need to negotiate a change in their academic voice or identity—that is, the way they sound in their writing—when they do so.

In order to understand such challenges potentially faced by these writers, this presentation draws upon Lea and Streets’ (1998, 2006) “academic literacies” model to unravel the various complex dimensions that can be involved in instances of NNES student plagiarism.  Specifically, the talk discusses how individual instances of plagiarism among NNES writers in composition classes can involve struggles over the various social practices of academic disciplines and the extent to which these writers are able to use a language to negotiate between them. In addressing such instances, this presentation does not suggest that teachers and administrators should condone plagiarism, nor does it diminish the serious consequences that students can suffer as a result of plagiarism. Rather, in considering the instructional objectives of the composition classroom, this presentation attempts to “look under the hood” when it comes to NNES writers’ developing sense of authorship and identity in and through writing for the university. Time allowing, a few suggested activities for composition teachers may also be discussed.

Bio: Mark A. Ouellette, Ph.D., is a Senior Language Specialist at the English Language Programs as well as a Lecturer within the M.A. TESOL Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Ouellette’s scholarly interests have involved the analysis of academic and professional discourses, with particular attention to issues related to literacies, genre, and identity in writing. Teaching in both an English language program and a graduate TESOL program has allowed Dr. Ouellette the opportunity to examine the critical interface between theory and pedagogy in language and literacy education as it directly bears upon ESOL teachers and their learners.

Watch Dr. Ouelette’s talk here!

Wednesday, December 5, 3:30 pm, Ritter Hall 206

Tommi Grover, Multilingual Matters

Title: Getting Started in Academic Publishing

Abstract: This session will be a roundtable discussion format. I will be happy to outline the process of getting an academic book published, from early preparation and planning, through choosing the right publisher, submitting a book proposal and all the editorial stages to final production, publication, and ultimately sales, marketing and other forms of circulation. You are invited to come and ask questions, provide feedback from your perspective, and most importantly contribute your opinions on the directions of academic publishing and knowledge sharing in the coming years. Although I no longer have any involvement in journal publishing, I do have a background in journal publishing too and can answer some queries about that process too.

Bio: Tommi Grover is Managing Director of Channel View Publications Ltd/Multilingual Matters. From his early beginnings stuffing catalogues into envelopes aged 5 to his current position as Managing Director, Tommi has all round experience in the academic publishing industry and firmly believes that the publisher has an important role to play in both the selection and promotion of excellent academic work. Multilingual Matters is a top tier academic publisher with strict review standards, whose author friendly procedures make it an ideal place for both experienced and novice authors to publish their work.

Watch Tommi Grover’s talk here!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 3:30 pm, Kiva Auditorium

Dr. Angela Reyes, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Title: Imagined Racial Figures: Performances of Korean Language and Accents by Korean American Youth

Abstract: This paper makes two central arguments. First, I argue that language can only be understood with respect to “figures of personhood” (Agha 2005), namely racial figures. That is, to understand what a language is and means is to understand how it is linked to identifiable figures that circulate among some set of individuals. Second, I argue that imagination is central to such racial figures (Inoue 2006). That is, to speak of figures is not to speak of “real people” but to speak of a semiotic process that propels images of people into circulation and thus into realms of social life where such figures can be emulated, parodied, admired, criticized, and so on.

I illustrate these arguments by exploring performances of Korean language and accents by Korean American youth in New York City. Drawing on data from a yearlong ethnographic study at an Asian American supplementary school or “cram school,” I examine how social meanings are mediated through indexical and ideological processes that link stances and styles to circulating figures of imagined racial personae: the subversive bilingual student; the pleading Korean child; the authoritative Korean adult; and the recently arrived Korean immigrant or “fob” (fresh off the boat). The analysis illustrates three main effects: a separation of bilingual students from monolingual teachers; a solidification of Korean group identity through mutual evaluation of recognizable Korean figures; and a division among Korean ethnic types based on small-scale interactional distinctions, such as affective stance and speech act, and large-scale categorical distinctions, such as generation and linguistic proficiency. While the use of Korean is certainly used to carve out an unofficial student space that monolingual English teachers cannot access, Korean use can be less about teachers and more about evaluating the various ways to be recognizably Korean. Drawing on imagined racial figures allows youth to sort out the available ways to be identifiably Korean, to locate themselves in this complex milieu, and to contribute to circulating ideologies about race and ethnicity.

Bio: Angela Reyes is Associate Professor of Linguistics in the Department of English at Hunter College and Doctoral Faculty in Anthropology at The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She works on theories of semiotics, discourse, indexicality, and racialization. Combining ethnographic fieldwork and discourse analysis of video-recorded interaction, her research examines how ideologies of race and ethnicity are formulated through spatiotemporal scales of communicative context, particularly in informal educational sites for Asian American urban youth. Her books include Beyond Yellow English: Toward a Linguistic Anthropology of Asian Pacific America (Oxford University Press, 2009), and Language, Identity, and Stereotype Among Southeast Asian American Youth: The Other Asian (Lawrence Erlbaum, 2007).

Watch Dr. Angela Reyes’s talk (TUcapture) here!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013, 3:30 pm, Walk Auditorium

Dr. Sebastian Muth, Greifswald University, Germany

Title: Linguistic landscapes: From methodology to sociolinguistic theory?

Abstract: In my talk I will outline the development of the field of linguistic landscape research from the perspective of different methodological approaches in the study of language use on signs. How do we define the field and its scope and how can we develop adequate methodologies or even a single valid approach to study written language in the public sphere? Why is it actually relevant and what sociolinguistic phenomena can we study? Aside from an ever-broadening scope pointing towards multimodality and the inclusion of a broad range of related fields such as anthropology, visual semiotics and discourse studies, a plethora of views and definitions exist on how scholars ought to study and interpret linguistic landscapes. Within this broad understanding of the field, the crucial task for sociolinguists lies in developing a critical perspective towards different scholarly approaches to understand the paradigm as a tool to study multilingual communities in context and contribute to the development of sociolinguistic theory.

At the beginning of my talk I will outline the main goals and approaches in linguistic landscape research, focusing on its relevance, theoretical foundations and seminal studies that contributed to our understanding of the field. This is followed by an overview on how to define the scope of an analysis, how to establish a sound methodological foundation, sample your data and analyze and contextualize your findings. Here I will lay a specific focus on various analytical and conceptual frameworks, their implementation in various contexts and share insights from my own research. Eventually this will lead us back to the initial question of relevance and a refined perspective on the possibilities linguistic landscapes offer to study language in the social world.

Bio: Sebastian Muth is a lecturer in English linguistics at Greifswald University in Germany and holds a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from Greifswald University. His dissertation under the supervision of Dr. Aneta Pavlenko investigates the representation of minority languages in the linguistic landscapes of post-Soviet Moldova and Lithuania. Dr. Muth teaches classes in sociolinguistics and general linguistics at Greifswald University and has been a visiting scholar at universities in Moldova, Transnistria and the United States. His current research focuses on the linguistic landscapes of language removal and nation-building in Nagorno-Karabakh and on the role of national languages in the construction of cultural identities in the post-Soviet sphere and Belarus in particular.

Watch Dr. Sebastian Muth’s talk here!

Thursday, March 28, 2013, 3:30 pm, Kiva Auditorium

Dr. Barbara Malt, Department of Psychology, Lehigh University

Title: From Thoughts to Words: Cross-language Differences and Bilingual Word Use

Abstract: Bilinguals receive input from two different languages giving different ways of grouping the same objects, actions, properties, or relations by name. Bi-directional connections in the architecture of the lexical stores may yield influences on word acquisition and use not only from the first language (L1) to the second (L2), but also from L2 to L1, and between two languages acquired in parallel. I will document manifestations of cross-language lexical interactions under different language-learning conditions and investigate the mechanisms by which they may come about.

Bio: Barbara Malt (Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology, Stanford University, USA, 1982) is Professor of Psychology at Lehigh University, United States. She is interested in how people understand the world, how they talk about the world, and what the relation is between the two. She has published on concepts, word meaning and word use, the interface of language and thought, and implications for bilingualism. She is co-editor with Phillip Wolff of Words and the Mind: How Words Capture Human Experience (Oxford University Press, 2010). She has served as associate editor for Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition and as Chair of the Psychology Department at Lehigh.

Watch Dr. Barbara Malt’s talk (TUcapture) here!

Thursday, April 4, 2013, 2:00pm, Kiva Auditorium, 

Dr. Carmen Silva-Corvalán, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Southern California

Title: Early Spanish-English bilingualism: Theoretical issues, empirical analyses

Abstract: The question I pursue in this lecture is how children acquire their heritage language together with a socially dominant one. I examine some of the questions raised by this type of dual language situation in a corpus of longitudinal data obtained during the first six years of life of two developing English-Spanish bilingual children. The children have learned Spanish mainly through the input of parents and grandparents at home, and have used it mainly at home. By contrast, they have learned English from a multiplicity of sources and have used it within the family and in public domains. The children differ with respect to the amount of Spanish language input they have been exposed to and their opportunities for use of this language, which have been typically more reduced for the younger sibling. I discuss the linguistic consequences of these ecological differences on the grammar of subjects and the development of tense morphology.

Bio: Carmen Silva-Corvalán is a Professor of Spanish Linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Southern California. She is interested in functional approaches to syntax, in sociolinguistics, and in bilingual language acquisition from birth. She has published extensively in these areas of linguistics.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013, 3:30 pm, Walk Auditorium

Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Department of Psychology, Temple University

Title: Language for reading: Lessons from the crib to the classroom

Abstract: Twelve state governments have already passed laws mandating that all children must read at grade level if they are to progress through school. Since third grade is the age at which one shifts from learning to read to reading to learn, the new laws are often referred to as the Third Grade Reading Guarantee.  In this talk, I argue that the best way to ensure strong reading skills is not necessarily with a laser focus on reading, but rather will be best achieved by turning our attention to building strong language skills.  We have learned much in the past 30 years about how children learn and process language. In this talk, we look not only at what children say, but at what they don’t say but clearly understand – remarkable findings in language development that are still below the radar screen. Distilling from the language literature, I then present 6 principles of language learning that can help build a strong foundation for language learning and for later reading success.  Throughout, I review the literature on language development and  add newer research generated in our labs to bridge the gap between the what we know  from our science of learning and what we do in our homes and classrooms.

Dr. Hirsh-Pasek’ s Bio

Watch Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek’s talk here!