Events this week (4/26 – 4/30)

This week is jam-packed with linguistic goodness! A quick synopsis:

Wednesday, 4/28

Thursday, 4/29

  • 4pm, 1512 SIPA: NYU’s David Poeppel on “The relation(s) between linguistics and neurobiology”. More information here.

Friday, 4/30

  • 1pm, 403 Kent: Oscar Lee Symposium of Undergraduate East Asian studies, featuring speakers from Columbia Linguistics Society! More information here.
  • 3:15pm, Lerner Hall C555: William Labov is coming! “Formation of Consensus in the Speech Community”. More information here.

4/30: Oscar Lee Symposium

Also on Friday the 30th:

OSCAR LEE SYMPOSIUM OF UNDERGRADUATE EAST ASIAN STUDIES: A half-day conference featuring undergraduate research and discussion on East Asia

Friday, April 30
1-4 PM
KENT 403


1:15 PM – (Mis)Communication: Media and Audience in Japan and China

  • Mia Lewis, “”Painting Worlds with Word: Ateji in CLAMP’s Manga”
  • Sayuri Shimoda, “Thought Control in the Meiji and Taisho Periods: A Methodology to Examine the Effect of the 1883 Decree and 1909 Press Law”
  • Daniel O. Kanak, “Changes in Chinese Consumer Behavior: Repercussions of Sino-Japanese Political Conflict and Negative Country Image (CI) and Japanese Business Response”

2:10 PM – Language and Identity in Central Asia

  • Christine Kwon, “Reading the Signs: Language Policy and Change in Post-PRC Tibet”
  • Arfiya Eri, “The Fourteenth Ethnicity or Disappearing Ethnicity? Bilingual Education and Uyghur Identity in 21st Century Xinjiang”
  • Grace Zhou, “Essentialist Legacies and Shifting Identities: Language in Central Asian Nation-Building”

3:05 PM – Community Narratives in Contemporary China

  • Chris Morales, “Neighborhood Change and the Social Construction of Community Identity in Weigongcun, Beijing”
  • Tania O’Conor, “Finding a Voice on the Web: A Case Study of a Naxi Online Community”
The Symposium is made possible by generous contributions from the Arts Initiative (Gatsby Charitable Foundation), Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Columbia College Student Council, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture (Hiroshi Nitta Fund), Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Study Center, Center for Korean Research, Student Government Association of Barnard.
We are co-sponsored by AAA, APAAM, CJS, CSC, SGB, SoC, and VSA.

This week: Julia Hirschberg and Trace Foundation lectures

This week is just packed with linguistics goodness: Julia Hirschberg will be speaking this Friday, 3/26, and there is a series of lectures at the Trace Foundation downtown, starting on Friday and continuing on Saturday.

First, Professor Hirschberg’s lecture:

Friday, 3/26
Hamilton 709

Knowing When to Speak: Turn Management in Spoken Dialogue Systems

Julia Hirschberg
Department of Computer Science
Columbia University

Listeners have many options in dialogue: They may interrupt the current speaker, take the turn after the speaker has finished, remain silent and wait for the speaker to continue, or backchannel, to indicate that they are still listening, while not taking the turn. Previous studies have proposed a number of possible cues that may signal to listeners that a speaker is ready to relinquish the turn or, conversely, that a speaker intends to continue to hold the floor. I will describe results of empirical studies testing some of these proposals and investigating other correlates of turn-taking behaviors, in the context of a larger study of human-human turn-taking behavior in the Columbia Games Corpus. Our goal is to discover what types of human turn-taking behavior can most usefully be modeled in Spoken Dialogue Systems, both from the perspective of recognizing the import of users’ behavior and of generating appropriate system behavior. This is joint work with Agustín Gravano (University of Buenos Aires). We also thank our collaborators, Stefan Benus, Gregory Ward, Elisa Sneed, Hector Chavez, and Michael Mulley for their help in collecting and annotating the CGC and for useful discussions.

The Trace Foundation lectures will also start that Friday (in the evening – you can make it to both!) and continue all day Saturday:

Friday, 3/26 and Saturday 3/27
2 Perry Street, Suite 2B, New York, 10014 (map)

Minority Language in Today’s Global Society: Perspectives on Language Standardization

Language standardization is often looked to by language communities as a means for language maintenance and strengthening cultural integrity, yet it may also contribute to varying degrees of linguistic discrimination and social conflict. In the case of Tibetan language, which has a diversity of spoken dialects as well as a standard written language, new challenges and opportunities presented by urbanization, economic development, resettlement, and other factors present strong incentives to switch to other dominant languages in everyday usage. Thus many Tibetans support the idea of promoting a standardized Tibetan, but disagree as to what should be the basis for the standard.

In this lecture event, we will bring together scholars who have worked extensively on language standardization issues for Kurdish, Hungarian, Tibeto-Burman languages, and the three major dialects of Tibetan to examine questions such as: What should be the role of a standard language? What are its pros and cons? What are the experiences of other language communities in implementing standardization? We hope to understand these topics for minority languages in the world in general, the Tibetan language in China in particular, and what practical steps can be taken.

IMPORTANT: Please register for this event by downloading and completing the registration form and email to or print the completed form and fax to +1 212-367-7380.



5:30 – 6:00 pm: Check in & Registration
6:00 – 7:00 pm: Opening Keynote Lecture, Q&A
7:00 – 8:00 pm: Reception


9:30 pm – 10:00 am: Check-in & Breakfast Reception
10:00 am – 12:00 pm: Morning Session
12:00 pm – 1:00 pm: Lunch Break
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Afternoon Session & Closing Keynote Lecture

For more information, including speaker biographies, visit the Trace Foundation website’s event page here.