Student speakers

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Friday 9 April

1. Yuliia Zaichenko (PhD) - Linguocultural Character Types in Fantasy Texts

2. Jérémy Genette (MA) - Voice Quality and Language Attitudes: An Acoustic and Articulatory Study

3. Jeroen van Ravenhorst (MA) - Korean verbs of perception

4. Erika Sajtós (BA)- Investigating short front vowel shifts in New Zealand English

5. Kambiz Nasseri (BA) - Perception of the English word-final plosive voicing contrast by native speakers of Dutch and Farsi

6. Clemens Mayer (MA) - The Language of Motion: Animacy-based semantic restrictions on movement and posture verbs in Sentani

7. Ariëlle Reitsema (BA) - The Quest to Ban All Linguistic Impurities: Ideological Reasons for North and South Korea’s Diverging Attitudes Towards Loanwords

8. Jelle Christiaans (BA) - Is Japanese “split-ergative”? On alignment typology and diagnostics

Saturday 10 April

9. Lorenzo Oechies & Suze Geuke (MA) - How Chinese is The Hague's Chinatown?

10. Maggie Mi (BA) - The Unsolved Problem of Language Identification: A GMM-based Approach

11. Nadine Bayer (MA) - Peculiarities of the two Judaeo-Arabic Varieties of Sudan

12. Shaun Tyan Gin Lim (BA) - From Pasir Ris to Pioneer: Naming Practices of Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Stations

13. Boussayer Abdelaaziz (PhD)- NP-internal Agreement: Adjectival modification in Tamazight

14. Mitchell McKee (BA) - Fight the virus, stick with the rules and reduce the peak: an analysis of the metaphors used by Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic

15. Amari Grey Johnson (BA) - Black Twitter: Semiotics of the Digital Self

16. Yingyu Su (MA) - Why-Stripping in Mandarin Chinese

Sunday 11 April

17. Tekla Gabunia (MA) - To Us!: Georgian Tradition of Toasting and its Effects

18. Matías Sanhueza (MA) - “HIV and homoerotism configure my identity”: Sociodiscursive representations of homosexuality and HIV/aids in young homoerotic guys who live with HIV in Santiago, Chile

19. Luuk Suurmeijer (MA) - Compositionality in Neural Semantics

20. Hamza R'boul (PhD) - Teaching Interculturality and the Supremacy of English in Expanding Circle Countries: Culture, Language and Identity

21. Heran Gao - Why Should People Care If a Language Goes Extinct?

22. Andrea Melina Leiva Pennesi (MA) - Word classes and word formation in LSA

Friday 9 April

1. Yuliia Zaichenko (PhD)

National Technical University of Ukraine «Igor Sikorsky Kyiv Polytechnic Institute»

Linguocultural Character Types in Fantasy Texts


The fantasy genre, which was created in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the UK and the USA as a reaction to the scientific revolution and technological progress and has become a major cultural movement since the 1960's, today attracts the attention of linguists and literary critics all over the world. The works of this genre, on the one hand, are a distinctive example of the literature of escapism, and on the other hand, they reflect in allegorical form the ethno- and sociocultural, psychological and historical processes of our being, especially modern ideals of toleration, racial, gender and ethnic equality, the freedom of personal self-expression.

Due to the popularity among readers and the development of different subgenres of fantasy, nowadays it becomes possible to distinguish some distinctive linguocultural character types, which in many respects follow the system of characters of fairy-tales, ancient myths and legends.

The linguocultural character type is defined as a special linguocultural concept generalizing the type of personality recognized by the bearer of a certain ethnic and social culture, which is endowed with special socially important parameters within the framework of a particular society and manifests certain language and behavioural features (Dmitrieva, 2016; Karasik, 2005).

Having conducted analysis on the basis of British and American fantasy texts we distinguished and described such liguocultural character types as: Hero, Companion, Great Wizard and Enemy. In our research we provide a description of the concepts mentioned, determination of the general associative features of the considered linguocultural character types on the basis of the Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA) and British National Corpus (BNC) analysis, identification of the evaluative characteristics of the character types and indication of linguistic means of realisation of these evaluative characteristics.

  • Dmytryeva, O. A., & Murzynova, Y. A. (2016). Teoryia Lingvokulturnyh Tipazhei. Uchebnoe Posobie [Theory of Linguocultural Character Types. Study Guide]. Moscow, Russia: Ridero.
  • Karasik, V. I. (2005). Aksiologicheskaia Lingvistika: Lingvokulturnye Tipazhy [Axiological Linguistics: Linguocultural Character Types]. Volgograd, Russia: Paradigma.

2. Jérémy Genette (MA)

Université Libre de Bruxelles

Voice Quality and Language Attitudes: An Acoustic and Articulatory Study


Not only can one study language in motion, but one can examine the motions which are involved in language. As a matter of fact, speech requires the movement of different articulators and the produced sound is essentially the motion of air particles. The analysis of those two kinds of motion can help explore phenomena that occur in language. Language attitudes have received much attention in the literature, but they remain a relatively underexplored field in voice studies. Therefore, this research aims to evaluate the potential effect of language attitudes on long-term voice quality. Mimicked foreign and regional accents were elicited through a reading task in French, and the subjects (seven native French-speaking Belgian people) were asked to fill in a sociolinguistic questionnaire. For this study, Long-Term Average Spectra were used to explore the acoustic properties of the performed accents, and an inter-subjective impressionistic index was created to evaluate their shifts in labial settings. Our results do not show any correlation between the acoustic realization of voice quality and language attitudes. However, one participant tended to make his voice more dissimilar when he imitated accents towards which he feels a more positive attitude. It is thought that between-individual differences might signal variability in the ability to modify one’s voice. The potential individual propensity for playing with one’s voice might be enhanced when trying to emulate an accent with a positive connotation. The articulatory observations do not exhibit a correlation with language attitudes either. Nonetheless, the subjects modified their labial settings to replicate the prototypical settings of the performed varieties. The subjects might therefore have some knowledge of the articulatory settings used in particular accents.


3. Jeroen van Ravenhorst (MA)

Leiden University

Korean verbs of perception

BA Thesis

In this talk, I describe the form, function, and meaning of Korean verbs of perception in the modalities of SIGHT, HEARING, TOUCH, FEEL, TASTE and SMELL. I categorize the perception verbs by means of Viberg’s (1983) dynamic system of perception events, distinguishing ACTIVITIES, EXPERIENCES and STATES for each of the six sensory modalities. Focusing on experiencer-based expressions, I find that Korean verbs of SIGHT, HEARING, FEEL, and SMELL do not lexically distinguish between an ACTIVITY and an EXPERIENCE. Stimulus-based verbs derive from experiencer-based basic verbs by means of middle marking. I also find that Korean obligatorily requires a perceived stimulus rather than a source in the domains of HEARING, TASTE, and SMELL. Examples were retrieved from the highly contemporary VLIVE (2020) spoken corpus as well as various non-spoken corpora, accessed through the online NAVER Korean-English Dictionary (2020).

  • NAVER Korean-English Dictionary (2020). Retrieved June 15, 2020. From
  • Viberg, Åke (1983). The verbs of perception: a typological study. Linguistics, 21(1), (pp. 123-162).
  • VLIVE (2020). Retrieved June 15, 2020. From Accessed through

4. Erika Sajtós (BA)

Pázmány Péter Catholic University

Investigating short front vowel shifts in New Zealand English

BA Thesis

New Zealand English (NZE) is distinct compared to other standard varieties of English due to the pronunciation of the NZE short front vowels. For the sake of simplicity, three words from Wells’ lexical sets are used to refer to these vowels. In modern NZE, TRAP and DRESS are raised and fronted while KIT is centralised. Besides being the most striking pronunciation features of NZE, these vowels have a crucial role in distinguishing NZE from Australian English. This BA thesis provides a comprehensive understanding of the development of the NZE short front vowels based on the results of an auditory analysis of the speech samples of ten male New Zealanders born between 1890 and 1990. Even though various periods have been examined in the history of the NZE short front vowels, this is the first time an empirical investigation has been carried out regarding this period.

The auditory analysis revealed that the realisation of these vowels is not the result of a single factor, but two competing factors have had important roles in this process. TRAP and DRESS are raised and fronted because these pronunciation features were brought from England, and became the characteristics of the newly emerging NZE. This finding supports the theory of new-dialect formation proposed by Trudgill (2004). The results also show that these vowels continued raising being the first two steps of a vowel chain shift in NZE, while in England TRAP and DRESS lowered later. Thus, the realisation of these vowels is conservative in NZE. Later, DRESS raising triggered KIT centralisation, which was a 20th-century innovation. This vowel chain shift theory is supported by Bauer (1992), who argues against new-dialect formation. The present thesis also proves that it is a push chain with three sequential steps, and DRESS is still raising. The novelty of the study is that it provides a comprehensive analysis of the evolution of the NZE short front vowels from the time a distinctive NZE emerged until today.

  • Bauer, Laurie. 1992. ″The Second Great Vowel Shift Revisited.″ English World-Wide 13: 253–268.
  • Trudgill, Peter. 2004. New-Dialect Formation: The Inevitability of Colonial Englishes. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

5. Kambiz Nasseri (BA)

Leiden University

Perception of the English word-final plosive voicing contrast by native speakers of Dutch and Farsi

BA Thesis

English and Farsi are languages that maintain a plosive voicing contrast in word-final position, unlike Dutch, a language that neutralizes this contrast in word-final position, while maintaining it in word-initial and word-medial position. With the use of an online questionnaire, I wanted to find out whether native speakers of Farsi are better at categorizing the English word-final plosive voicing contrast than native speakers of Dutch, because native speakers of Farsi have native-language experience with the same contrast in the same position. The results show that both the Dutch and the Farsi group were relatively successful in distinguishing this contrast, but the Farsi group categorized it significantly better. The results of the Dutch group are in line with previous literature that indicate that perception of an L2-contrast is supported by native-language experience with the same contrast in other positions. Additionally, the results of the Farsi group imply that perception of an L2-contrast becomes even better when there is native-language experience with the same contrast in the same position.

  • Altenberg, E. P., & Vago, R. M. (1983). Theoretical implications of an error analysis of second language phonology production. Language Learning, 33, 427–448.
  • Boersma, P., & Weenink, D. (2019). Praat: doing phonetics by computer [Computer program]. Version 6.0.46, retrieved from
  • Broersma, M. (2005). Perception of familiar contrasts in unfamiliar positions. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 117, 3890-3901.
  • Broselow, E., Chen, S. I., & Wang, C. (1998). The Emergence of the Unmarked in Second Language Phonology. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 20(2), 261-280.
  • Cebrian, J. (2000). Transferability and Productivity of L1 Rules in Catalan-English Interlanguage. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 22(1), 1-26.
  • Crowther, C. S., & Mann, V. (1992). Native language factors affecting use of vocalic cues to final consonant voicing in English. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 92, 711–722.
  • Del Prado Martín, F. M., Ernestus, M., & Baayen, R. H. (2004). Do type and token effects reflect different mechanisms? Connectionist modeling of Dutch past-tense formation and final devoicing. Brain and Language, 90(1), 287-298.
  • Eckman, F. R. (1984). Universals, typologies, and interlanguage. In W. Rutherford (Ed.), Language universals and second language acquisition: Vol. 5. Typological studies in language (pp. 79-105). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Eckman, F. R. (1985). Some Theoretical and Pedagogical Implications of the Markedness Differential Hypothesis. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 7(3), 289-307.
  • Eckman, F. R. (2008). Typological markedness and second language phonology. In J. Hansen Edwards & M. Zampini (Eds.), Phonology and Second Language Acquisition (pp. 95-115). Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company.
  • Edge, B. A. (1991). The Production of Word-Final Voiced Obstruents in English by L1 Speakers of Japanese and Cantonese. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 13(3), 377-393.
  • Flege, J. E. (1989). Chinese subjects’ perception of the word-final English /t/–/d/ contrast: Performance before and after training. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 86, 1684–1697.
  • Flege, J. E., & Wang, C. (1989). Native-language phonotactic constraints affect how well Chinese subjects perceive the word-final English /t/–/d/ contrast. Journal of Phonetics, 17, 299–315.
  • Kharlamov, V. (2014). Incomplete neutralization of the voicing contrast in word-final obstruents in Russian: Phonological, lexical, and methodological influences. Journal of Phonetics, 43, 47-56.
  • Simon, E. (2010). Phonological transfer of voicing and devoicing rules: evidence from L1 Dutch and L2 English conversational speech. Language Sciences, 32(1), 63-86.
  • Van den Berg, R. J. H. (1989). Perception of voicing in Dutch two-obstruent sequences: Covariation of voicing cues. Speech Communication, 8, 17–25.
  • Wang, C. (1995). The acquisition of English word-final obstruents by Chinese speakers. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, State University of New York at Stony Brook, NY.

6. Clemens Mayer (MA)

Leiden University

The Language of Motion: Animacy-based semantic restrictions on movement and posture verbs in Sentani

Subchapter of ResMA thesis

It is not a surprise to say that some things have agency over their actions, whereas others do not: Humans can walk, talk, and even think as they please, but a boulder has little to say over where the world takes it. In many languages, this agency or volition is grammatically encoded through grammatical gender or noun class distinctions based on animacy, and some of these categories may be more restricted in available verbs. Sentani, an endangered and severely underdocumented Papuan language spoken around the Sentani Lakes in western New Guinea, takes this a step further: where for example in Dutch non-human animals are considered to have quite a lot of agency, in Sentani they do not even have enough to məke ‘come’, let alone ərej ‘see’. Furthermore, the semantic distinctions of animacy is more fine-grained than in many languages that encode it grammatically, as, for example, the inanimate o ‘tree’ can həbə ‘stand’ and falə ‘fall’, but practically the only verb available to pu ‘water’ is hono ‘lie’. This does not only leads to interesting constructions such as pu faləm ‘waterfall (lit. water head)’ and alu məle ‘storm (lit. waves come)’, but also shows us that non-grammatical categorization of nouns can give in-depth information about the conceptualization of animacy, volition, and agentivity. New data collected by the speaker highlights some of these fine-grained animacy distinctions in an endangered and understudied Papuan language.

7. Ariëlle Reitsema (BA)

Leiden University

The Quest to Ban All Linguistic Impurities: Ideological Reasons for North and South Korea’s Diverging Attitudes Towards Loanwords


What would happen to a language if a country would be split into two, contact would be cut down to a bare minimum, and diametrically opposed ideologies would influence the respective linguistic policies? On the Korean peninsula, this has been played out over the past 75 years. The language varieties spoken on the opposite sides of the border have diverged lexically to such an extent that defectors from the North have difficulty adapting to the speech of South Koreans. Can this be merely the result of prolonged isolation? What seems to be more important are the governments’ diverging views on language in motion. North Korea knew stringent purist policies that were geared at putting a halt to external influences and even turning back time to erase old loanwords. These purist policies were spearheaded by leader Kim Il-Sung in during his talks with linguists in the 1960s, and did not exist in a vacuum. Rather, it can be argued that Kim employed language as a tool to communicate his ideology of autonomy, self-reliance and superiority. By banning loanwords, the communist North could prove its superiority to capitalist South Korea, that had embraced the flush of loanwords that came along with globalisation. In the South, purist sentiments had largely been outweighed by a drive towards modernisation and internationalisation. Although the North eventually also gave up on many of the proposed changes due to their impracticality, lexical diversion between the North and South remains. Thus, in the two Koreas, diverging ideologies have led to an increased linguistic divergence.


8. Jelle Christiaans (BA)

Leiden University

Is Japanese “split-ergative”? On alignment typology and diagnostics

BA Thesis

It is safe to say that Japanese is generally considered a nominative-accusative language. However, since Kuno (1973) proposed that a limited set of hitherto considered intransitive, but newly analyzed as transitive verbs and adjectives (so-called Non-Canonical Constructions, a.k.a. NCCs) mark their “object” with the nominative case -ga (as in 1), the nominative-accusative nature of Japanese has been questioned.

(1) watashi=wa sushí=ga sukí
1=TOPIC sushi=NOM like
“I like sushi.”

Two authors in particular (Shibatani 1977, 2001, 2018 and Kishimoto 2004, 2016) have pointed to conflicting results that so-called diagnostics have produced: the core arguments of NCCs appear to exhibit both “subject” and “object” properties and Kishimoto (2004:1) has even gone as far as to label these NCCs “ergative predicates”. The basic question is: how to resolve this paradox? How to deal with this conflicting evidence and what is the status the arguments of these (in)transitive verbs and adjectives – concretely: is sushí=ga “subject” or “object”?

The answer to this paradox must be found in defining what we even mean by “subject”, “object” and “transitive”, which is something that none of the authors above have done in their works. Drawing from two important distinctions: comparative concepts vs. descriptive categories (Haspelmath 2010) and diagnostic tests vs. defining criteria (2015), I argue that either interpretation is good, so long as “subject”, “object” and “transitive” are well-defined. However, it turns out that not making a decision and simply describing the various properties reveals an interesting pattern that closely follows the Promotion To Subject Hierarchy as proposed by Keenan (1976).

  • Keenan, E. L. (1976). Towards A Universal Definition Of ‘Subject’. In C. N. Li (Ed.), Subject And Topic (pp. 303–334). Academia Press.
  • Kishimoto, H. (2004). Transitivity of ergative case-marking predicates in Japanese. Studies in Language, 28(1), 105–136.
  • Kishimoto, H. (2016). Valency and case alternations in Japanese. In T. Kageyama & W. M. Jacobsen (Eds.), Transitivity and Valency Alternations : Studies on Japanese and Beyond (pp. 125–154). DeGruyter Mouton.
  • Kuno, S. (1973). The Structure of the Japanese Language. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT.
  • Shibatani, M. (2001). Non-canonical Marking of Subjects and Objects. In A. Y. Aikhenvald, R. M. W. Dixon, & M. Onishi (Eds.), Non-canonical Marking of Subjects and Objects (pp. 181–218). John Benjamins Publishing Co.
  • Shibatani, M., & Pardeshi, P. (2018). Non-canonical constructions in Japanese: A crosslinguistic perspective. In T. Kageyama & P. Pardeshi (Eds.), Handbook of Japanese Contrastive Linguistics (pp. 57–107). DeGruyter Mouton.

Saturday 10 April

9. Lorenzo Oechies & Suze Geuke (MA)

Leiden University

How Chinese is The Hague's Chinatown?


The Hague's Chinatown is located right in the city centre. The neighbourhood clearly communicates a Chinese identity, visible from the two Chinese archways at both ends of the Wagenstraat, Dutch-Mandarin street name signs, Chinese lanterns, and an abundance of Chinese or otherwise Asian establishments.In November 2019, Suze Geuke and Lorenzo Oechies conducted fieldwork in the neighbourhood, focusing on its linguistic landscape. We made a list of all of Chinatown's establishments and labeled these according to several characteristics from Landry and Bourhis (1997), Reh (2004), and Gaiser and Matras (2016), including informational or symbolic function, type of multilingualism, and visual dominance. Because many signs featured Chinese characters, we also distinguished between traditional and simplified Chinese characters (Wiedenhof 2015: 359-401).We found a total of 100 establishments, ranging from restaurants to churches, nearly half of which communicated a Chinese orientation. The often creative language choices in the neighbourhood can be regarded as a form of translanguaging, as described by Gorter and Cenoz (2015). Informational Dutch occured most frequently in all signs. Strangely enough, we found only 38 establishments showing Chinese characters, indicating a discrepancy between the identities that the owners of establishments communicate and the languages they display. As for the use of Chinese characters, we found an association between the functions of signs and whether they featured traditional or simplified characters: most informational signs featured traditional characters and most symbolic signs features simplified characters. This difference can be linked to the different waves of Chinese immigrants in The Hague (Willems et al. 2010).

The research has resulted in an article by Tieken-Boon van Ostade, Oechies and Geuke:

  • Gaiser, Leoni, and Yaron Matras. 2016. “The Spatial Construction of Civic Identities: A Study of Manchester’s Linguistic Landscapes.” Accessed February 18, 2020.
  • uploads/2016/12/ManchesterLinguisticLandscapes.pdf.
  • Gorter, D., & Cenoz, J. (2015). Translanguaging and linguistic landscapes. Linguistic landscape, 1(1-2), 54-74.
  • Landry, Rodrigue, and Richard Y. Bourhis. 1997. “Linguistic Landscape and Ethnolinguistic Vitality: An Empirical
  • Study.” Journal of Language and Social Psychology 16(1): 23–49.
  • Reh, Mechthild. 2004. “Multilingual Writing: A Reader-Oriented Typology – With Examples From Lira Municipality
  • (Uganda).” International Journal of the Sociology of Language 170: 1–41.
  • Wiedenhof, Jeroen. 2015. A Grammar of Mandarin. Amsterdam: John Benjamins
  • Willems, Wim, Annemarie Cottaar, and Kai Yin Or. 2010. Een Draak met Vele Gezichten. Chinatown Den Haag 1920–
  • 2010. Den Haag: De Nieuwe Haagsche.

10. Maggie Mi (BA)

Lancaster University, UK

The Unsolved Problem of Language Identification: A GMM-based Approach

Second year BA Independent Study Project with Dr. Georgina Brown

In our current world that is inundated by the abundance of data, the ability to systematically, and, accurately, classify large bodies of natural language datasets is invaluable for natural language processing (NLP) and speech technology applications. Such an application is language identification (LID), which attempts to identify a language from a series of randomly spoken utterances (Das & Roy, 2019). LID systems provide the foundations of multimedia mining systems, spoken-document retrieval, as well as multilingual spoken dialogue systems (Navratil, 2006). Although, presently, the LID task is still very much an unsolved problem, often with increasing equal error rate (EER) as the duration and quality of the test dataset decreases (Ambikairajah, Li, Wang, Yin, & Sethu, 2011). The idiosyncratic nature of natural languages means “rule-based” systems are insufficient approaches to model languages. The use of probability is significant in natural language processing, as quantitative techniques can account for such idiosyncrasies. Previous research in this field have trained and tested LID systems extensively on telephone speech datasets (e.g., Manchala, Prasad, & Janaki, 2014; Torres-Carrasquillo et al., 2002) and television broadcasts (Madhu, George, & Mary, 2017). However, little research has been done on the effect of other data groupings on the systems’ performance, including alterations of experimental parameters such as the distance of the speaker from the microphone. The approach taken in this paper involves building an acoustic model that uses probabilistic representations of the speech datasets across 10 languages (Dutch, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, German, English, French, Turkish, and Greek). Each language is probabilistically modelled using Gaussian Mixture Models (GMMs). Through the exploration of the performance of such GMMs on different groupings of datasets, areas of weakness and corresponding means of improvements are therefore revealed.

  • Ambikairajah, E., Li, H., Wang, L., Yin, B., & Sethu, V. (2011). Language identification: A tutorial. IEEE Circuits and Systems Magazine, 11(2), 82-108.
  • Das, H. S., & Roy, P. (2019). Chapter 5 - A Deep Dive Into Deep Learning Techniques for Solving Spoken Language Identification Problems. In N. Dey (Ed.), Intelligent Speech Signal Processing (pp. 81-100): Academic Press.
  • Madhu, C., George, A., & Mary, L. (2017). Automatic language identification for seven Indian languages using higher level features. Paper presented at the 2017 IEEE International Conference on Signal Processing, Informatics, Communication and Energy Systems (SPICES).
  • Manchala, S., Prasad, V. K., & Janaki, V. (2014). GMM based language identification system using robust features. International journal of speech technology, 17(2), 99-105.
  • Navratil, J. (2006). Automatic Language Identification. In (pp. 233-272).
  • Torres-Carrasquillo, P. A., Singer, E., Kohler, M. A., Greene, R. J., Reynolds, D. A., & Deller Jr, J. R. (2002). Approaches to language identification using Gaussian mixture models and shifted delta cepstral features. Paper presented at the Seventh international conference on spoken language processing.

11. Nadine Bayer (MA)

Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

Peculiarities of the two Judaeo-Arabic Varieties of Sudan


It is only relatively recently that research has emerged on the two Judaeo-Arabic varieties of the Sudan. Geva-Kleinberger did pioneering work on this topic by recording speakers of each variety and publishing a few articles, but his analysis also contains some inaccuracies. This concerns the transcription and translation, but most importantly he does not relate to the current sociolinguistic setting of the speakers. While he does write about the history of the Jews in Sudan and explains how the two different varieties came into being, he only mentions in passing that both speakers of his recordings have been living in Israel for a long time. He does not relate to contact phenomena, such as code-switching and borrowings from Hebrew, which are observable in the recordings. He rather gives the impression of tracing the Hebrew elements in the speech of his interviewees back to their Jewish origin. This also holds for features that obviously stem from other Arabic varieties, which he attributes to the Sudanese Jews’ immigrant origin, while the speakers surely have been in contact with other Arabs in Israel as well.

While peculiarities of some Arabic forms would need further comprehensive investigation to make a decision about their origin, one case has to be mentioned. One speaker uses the uncommon form ʾana štaġalna “I worked”, where the verb form corresponds to, but the pronoun and the meaning refers to Geva-Kleinberger describes it as a „peculiar -a ending analogous to the independent personal pronoun ana”. However, I argue that it is rather formed analogously to the imperfect of the Western Arabic dialect group, whose imperfect form corresponds to the impf. form of the Eastern group. This is supported by the fact that both Eastern and Western imperfect forms occur in the transcript.

  • Abdel Massih, Ernest (1970): A Course in Morrocan Arabic, Ann Arbor.
  • Abu Manga, Al Amin (2011): „Sudan“, in: Edzard, Lutz/ de Jong, Rudolf (ed.): Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Accessed: <> (31.01.2021).
  • Bergman, Elisabeth (2002): Spoken Sudanese Arabic: Grammar, Dialogues and Glossary, Springfield.
  • Blanc, Haim (1964): Communal Dialects in Baghdad, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Crewe, William (1973): The Place of Sudanese Arabic: A Study in Comparative Arabic Dialectology, Khartoum.
  • Dickins, James (2011): „Khartoum Arabic“, in: Edzard, Lutz/ de Jong, Rudolf (ed.): Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Accessed: <> (31.01.2021).
  • Geva-Kleinberger, Aharon (2002a): „Judaeo-Arabic Dialects of Sudan. Preliminary Findings“, in: Arnold, Werner (ed.): Sprich doch mit deinen Knechten Aramäisch – wir verstehen es!, Wiesbaden, p.181-192.
  • Geva-Kleinberger, Aharon (2002b): „The Emergence of Two Rivalling Arabic Dialects among the Jews of Sudan“, in: Ferrando, Ignacio/ Sánchez Sandoval, Juan José (ed.): Association Internationale de Dialectologie Arabe (AIDA) 5th Conference Proceedings, Cádiz, p. 493-500.
  • Malka, Eli (1997): Jacob's Children in the Land of the Mahdi. Jews of the Sudan, New York.
  • Palva, Heikki (2011): „Dialects: Classification“, in: Edzard, Lutz/ de Jong, Rudolf (ed.):, Abgerufen: <> (31.01.2021).
  • Persson, Andrew/ Persson, Janet (1984): Sudanese Colloquial Arabic for Beginners, Horsleys Green.
  • Wilmsen, David (2011): „Egypt“, in: Edzard, Lutz/ de Jong, Rudolf (ed.): Encyclopedia of Arabic Language and Linguistics, Accessed: <> (31.01.2021).
  • Worsley, Allan (1925): Sudanese Grammar, London.

12. Shaun Tyan Gin Lim (BA)

Nanyang Technological University

From Pasir Ris to Pioneer: Naming Practices of Singapore's Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Stations

BA Thesis

Current toponymic research in Singapore studies naming trends of Singapore’s streets. There remains scant coverage on Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) station names, which are regarded as place names in their own right, and are part of the MRT system that moves millions of commuters daily. This study analyses 142 MRT station names across five MRT lines in Singapore and seeks to answer two questions: what are the languages used in naming these toponyms, and what are the naming practices that these station names exhibit? This study adopts a historical toponomastics and sociolinguistics mixed methods approach. It analyses MRT station names, using a variety of primary and secondary sources, to determine the languages and historical meanings of these toponyms. Ultimately, this work aims to be a starting point for further research on other Singaporean toponyms, particularly those in the public transport system, that might not have been fully studied.

13. Boussayer Abdelaaziz (PhD)

Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis

NP-internal Agreement: Adjectival modification in Tamazight


My paper addresses the issue of Noun-Adjective interaction inside NP in Amazigh language. The aim is to gain new insights regarding the categorial status of A in Amazigh language, its distribution within NP, and specific functional properties. The study combines theoretical and empirical perspectives. It compares NP internal elements across Amazigh languages and varieties, and some well-studied languages. The language, unlike other languages, does not have a specific class of adjectives and distinguishes between ‘verbal’ and ‘nominal’ adjectives.

The claims of the paper are: Ait Atta variety of Amazigh language does not have a separate category A. I posit that adjectives are syntactically, semantically and morphologically non-distinct from nouns. Interestingly, in Amazigh language, the inflection material is characterized by the adjective suffix –an of adjectives that are derived from stative verbs. I claim that adjectives in Ait Atta variety, and in most Amazigh languages, have changed their categorial status from A to N. The paper argues that definiteness is expressed by ‘nominal’ adjectives, while indefiniteness is expressed by ‘verbal’ adjectives. The language also employs the morphemes bu ‘that of. MS’; mu ‘that of. Fem’; war ‘without.MS’; tar ‘without. Fem’ that are dependent on the presence of an adjective. These morphemes are not ‘regular’ since they are associated with adjectival constituent not with the whole NP. Interestingly, adjectives with these morphemes may be modified by a degree adverb, but are not when preceded by the indefinite article yan ‘a’. I posit that non-gradable adjectives do not allow degree adverbials modification, unlike gradable ones. The section highlights some morphological and syntactic properties of A in Amazigh language.

  • Catherine, Taine-Cheikh. (2018). Qualification and comparison in Berber. The verb-noun distinction and its fluctuations.STUF, Akademie Verlag, 2014, Berber in typological perspective, 67 (1), pp.63-79.
  • Ewa, Willim. (2001). On NP-internal agreement. A study of some adjectival and nominal modifiers in Polish. Appeared in G. Zybatow, U. Junghanns, G. Mehlhorn and L. Szucsich (eds.) (2001) Current Issues in Formal Slavic Linguistics, 80-95. Frankfurt: Peter Lang GmbH.
  • John , Alderete. et al. Tashlhiyt Berber grammar synopsis.

14. Mitchell McKee (BA)

University of Glasgow

Fight the virus, stick with the rules and reduce the peak: an analysis of the metaphors used by Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic

BA Thesis

The COVID-19 pandemic has been, and continues to be, one of the most cataclysmic events of the 21st century. Researchers have been examining the metaphors used during the crisis as previous cognitive linguistic research suggests that metaphor can shape thought (Lakoff and Johnson 1980) and affect reasoning (Thibodeau and Boroditsky 2011), emotions (Hendricks et al. 2018 ) and behaviour (Hauser and Schwarz 2015). This power of metaphor becomes increasingly relevant when they are used by politicians (Charteris-Black 2011: 32). In the COVID-19 pandemic, much of daily discourse was dominated by politicians which makes their choice of metaphor important. For example, the pandemic is often described as a ‘war’ which is being ‘fought’ (Heffernan 2020). There have been few studies conducted so far on the metaphors used by UK politicians during the crisis, but such a study is significant as metaphors ‘move’ through society and discourse and also ‘move’ through time as the pandemic progresses. As a result, they also ‘move’ us due to their considerable psychological and sociological effects. Therefore, I aim to study the language Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon and ask what metaphors they used to discuss the pandemic and if these metaphors differed in any way.

I will extract the metaphors used in a sample of their daily press conferences between March and October 2020 using the renowned Metaphor Identification Procedure (Pragglejaz Group 2007). Results suggest that the speakers discuss aspects of the pandemic, such as the virus, how it spreads and its infection rates, differently. The implications of these results are significant as the different metaphors used by these politicians reveal different understandings of the pandemic, which could have influenced the public’s reasoning and behaviour during the crisis. This data can be used in future research comparing pandemic rhetoric across different countries and speakers.

  • Charteris-Black, Jonathan. 2011. Politicians and Rhetoric: The Persuasive Power of Metaphor 2nd edn. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Hauser, David J. and Norbert Schwarz. 2015. The War on Prevention: Bellicose Cancer Metaphors Hurt (Some) Prevention Intentions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 41(1). 66-77.
  • Heffernan, Virginia. 2020. Metaphors Matter in a Time of Pandemic. (15 January 2020).
  • Hendricks, Rose K., Zsófia Demjén, Elena Semino and Lera Boroditsky. 2018. Emotional Implications of Metaphor: Consequences of Metaphor Framing for Mindset about Cancer, Metaphor and Symbol 33(4). 267-279.
  • Lakoff, George and Mark Johnson. 1980. Metaphors we Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Pragglejaz Group. 2007. MIP: A Method for Identifying Metaphorically Used Words in Discourse. Metaphor and Symbol 22(1). 1-39.
  • Thibodeau, Paul H. and Lera Boroditsky. 2011. Metaphors We Think With: The Role of Metaphor in Reasoning. PLoS ONE 6(2). e16782.

15. Amari Grey Johnson (BA)

Harvard University

Black Twitter: Semiotics of the Digital Self


Intersecting digital racialization and metalinguistic discourse, I focus on manifestations of personhood online in “conversation” with racial dynamics of self, performance, and authenticity through digital signage. Krystal Smalls coins “digital emphatic blackness”, emphasized performance of recognized Black signs which indicate meaning racial and gender indices; emphatically Black language becomes a space of Black fugitivity. The application of Black fugitivity to digital signage implies a flight to digital space as an attempt to find “unapologetic” blackness. Smalls disfavors the term “unapologetic” as it prioritizes the receiver of performance and assumes negativity to the performed gesture, yet resting her work in black fugitivity, the necessity of iconology and signs in digital space recognizes the persecution of those signs beyond and assumes the nonexistence of a black sense of place past the digital; likewise, the creation of a black digital space refuses to defend the performance of semiotic blackness against the racialized violence of the “physical” world, nevertheless presuming an underlying unapologetic nature to the practice of emphatic blackness. Here, black signs and signers make themselves and others through metalinguistic socialities which form a distinct chronotopic figuration, re-understanding Black time and space; digital space, by expanding linguistic capabilities for the racialized other, becomes a discourse for re-inscribing legibility onto the Black self. Social media, specifically Twitter, offers rhetorical functions unavailable in speech or analog writing by incorporating real-time image, sound, and visuality that augments indexicality. Racialized digital space, then, expands the emphatically Black formations of speech into a new grammar with its own potentialities, structures, and requirements for authenticity. Transformative linguistic capabilities speculate with afropessimism, linguistic futurism, and radical praxis as realms of meaning.

  • André Brock (2012) From the Blackhand Side: Twitter as a Cultural Conversation, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 56:4, 529-549, DOI: 10.1080/08838151.2012.732147
  • Lewis Ellison, T. (2014). Digital ontologies of self: Two African American adolescents co- construct and negotiate identities through The Sims 2. Digital Culture & Education,6:4, 334-357.
  • Smalls, Krystal A. "Fighting Words: Antiblackness and Discursive Violence in an American High School." Journal of Linguistic Anthropology 28, no. 3 (2018): 356-83.
  • Smalls, Krystal A. "Languages of Liberation." In Language and Social Justice in Practice, 52-60. 1st ed. Routledge, 2019.
  • Smalls, Krystal A. "Race, SIGNS, and the Body." In The Oxford Handbook of Language and Race, The Oxford Handbook of Language and Race, 2020-10-29. 1st ed. OXFORD HANDBOOKS SERIES. Oxford University Press, 2020.
  • Smalls, Krystal A. (2018). Racialized Masculinity in Digital Space. In A. M. Cox (Ed.), Gender: Space (pp. 301-316). (Macmillan Interdisciplinary Handbooks). Macmillan Reference USA.

16. Yingyu Su (MA)

Leiden University

Why-Stripping in Mandarin Chinese


Why-stripping is a clausal ellipsis construction that involves a focus-introducing why that is base-generated in Spec-CP, and a focused remnant that is moved before clausal ellipsis (Yoshida et al., 2015). In light of the proposal by Yoshida et al. (2015), the paper investigates why-stripping in Mandarin Chinese (Chinese why-stripping, henceforth CWS). The paper shows that: (i) CWS exhibits sensitivity to the structure of its antecedent; (ii) subject CWS is subject to the exclusiveness condition while object CWS is not; and (iii) CWS involves clausal deletion (cf. Weir, 2014). I argue that the properties of CWS can be accounted for with an underlying bare shi construction (Cheng, 2008).

  • Cheng, L. L. (2008). Deconstructing the shì…de construction. Linguistic Review, 25(3-4), 235-266.
  • Weir, A. (2014). Why-stripping targets Voice Phrase. In H.-L. Huang, E. Poole, & A. Rysling (Eds.), NELS 43: Proceedings of the 43rd Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society (Vol. 2, pp. 235-248).
  • Yoshida, M., Nakao, C., & Ortega-Santos, I. (2015). The syntax of Why-Stripping. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory, 33, 323–370.

Saturday 10 April

17. Tekla Gabunia (MA)

Leiden University

To Us!: Georgian Tradition of Toasting and its Effects


Georgian word “supra”, in literal translation, means “tablecloth” in English. However, in the mind of standard Georgian, this word is associated with traditions, ritualised feast, toasting and “tamada” (toastmaster).

Kevkhishvili (n.d.) (1) defines “supra” in the following way:

"A ritualized social institution, where through the use of alcohol and food mediums, as well as through the institutions of tamada (toast-maker) and toasts, various social functions are performed, including entertainment, socialisation, communication, and strengthening of connections between people" (p. 1).

Generally, rituals play an important role in constructing culture. Numerous researchers and theorists emphasise the social functions of rituals (2), (3). They have a social function of bringing a group together and structuring social realities (4).

Toasting in Georgia can be seen as a communicative genre. The notion of communicative genre is linked to the theoretical model of Social Constructivism in the relevant studies (5). Thus, communicative genres play an important role in the construction of social realities.

The aim of this study is to analyse the patterns of toasting connected to gender, religion, and socialisation. In addition to this, the paper discusses the relevant literature and corpus linguistics analysis to highlight the role of toasting in preserving the specific grammatical structure in the Georgian language: conjunctive perfect form of a verb.

Toasting can be seen as a ritual and a powerful tool in constructing the social realities, establishing certain norms, and giving symbolic power to certain things, favouring male gender over female and Orthodox-Christianity over other religions. However, the results also show its importance in building positive social practices and preserving the grammatical function of Conjunctive Perfect.

  • Kevkhishvili, A. (n.d.). Georgian Supra in the process of transformation. [Unpublished master’s thesis]. Ilia State University.
  • Leach, E. R. (1961). Rethinking anthropology. London: University of London.
  • Werlen, I. (2001). Rituelle Muster in Gesprächen. In Text- und Gesprächslinguistik. 1263–1278. Berlin: de Gruyter.
  • Kotthoff, H. (2007). "Ritual and style across cultures". In Handbook of Intercultural Communication. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. doi:
  • Berger, P., & Luckmann, T. (1966). A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge. New York: Anchor Books

18. Matías Sanhueza (MA)

Universidad de Chile

“HIV and homoerotism configure my identity”: Sociodiscursive representations of homosexuality and HIV/aids in young homoerotic guys who live with HIV in Santiago, Chile

BA Thesis

The following broach is an investigation of sociodiscursive representations (Marchese, 2012; 2017) of homosexuality and HIV/aids that young HIV positive queers (colas) of Santiago, Chile. This broach is based upon Critical Discourse Analysis (van Dijk, 1999, Wodak, 2000; Wodak & Meyer, 2003 and Fairclough, 2008a) along with its Latin-American perspective (Pardo Abril, 2007; Montecinos, 2010; Pardo, 2011; Marchese, 2011; Ramalho & Resende, 2011). Also, the social theory is queer (cola/marica) based on Butler (1990; 1993), Llamas (1995; 1998) and its particularity in Chile with Rivas (2011) and Blanco (2013). To develop this investigation, the story-lives of four young queer guys who live with HIV is utilized to allude to their experience about homosexuality and HIV/aids. The methodology was based on the Synchronic-Diachronic Method of Linguistic Text Analysis (Pardo, 2011) to analyze their story-lives, in which will reveal the linguistic strategies that the interviewers utilize to create sociodiscursive representations.

In conclusion, the representations of young HIV positive queers about homosexuality and HIV/aids are, on one side, related with strategies that emphasize an autoreferential speech with linguistic resources as performative language and conceptual metaphor including the objective to fight against homophobia and stigma of the sickness. On the other side, other strategies reveal how the national and personal context configures their own speech, which is pierced by the violence of enunciation of themselves as queers and HIV positives, as well as the big stigma between homosexuality and HIV. Being categorized as doubly ill subjects, this forms their first great socio-discursive representation: fighting against the homophobic and stigmatizing construction.


19. Luuk Suurmeijer (MA)

Universität des Saarlandes

Compositionality in Neural Semantics

MA Thesis

Distributional and formal semantics (DS/FS) are two strains of modeling meaning with different strengths. FS models rely on symbolic truth-conditional systems. This allows for great expressive power over sentence meaning and its construction (compositonality). However, it struggles to account for graded phenomena, such as probabilistic inference. DS on the other hand has proven successful in modeling graded lexical semantics, but it is not compositional and fails to model logical phenomena.The qualities of both systems are desirable for modeling human meaning construction. The human system must allow for the incremental, compositional construction of meaningand at the same time retain the abilities of expectation-based inference.Venhuizen et al., 2020 propose a unification of the two strains of thought: Distributional Formal Semantics (DFS). Meaning repres-entations in DFS are vectors of truth values of propositions observed from different models representing the state of the world. A collection of these vectors (a matrix) comprises the meaning space, which represents world-knowledge. Venhuizen et al., 2020 show that 1. DFS is compositional on propositions, 2. can model probabilistic phenomena and 3. DFS representationscan be learned using a Neural Network (RNN). Moreover, DFS representations have been shown todirectly give rise to information theoretical concepts which are related to human processing difficulty (Venhuizen et al., 2019). Although subpropositional word/phrase representations can be implicitly constructed by the RNN, DFS lacks an explicit compositional mechanism for constructing subpropositional meaning. This mechanism would allow DFS to increase the scale of its predictions by a large margin. The aim of my thesis is to define and implement such a mechanism, by defining set-theoretic operations on DFS representations. Once this machinery is there, I can investigate human meaning construction by direct comparison to the RNN/empirical data.

  • Venhuizen, N. J., Hendriks, P., Crocker, M. W. & Brouwer, H. (2020). Distributional formal semantics. Information and Computation (submitted).
  • Venhuizen, N. J., Crocker, M. W. & Brouwer, H. (2019). Semantic entropy in language comprehension.Entropy,21(12), 1159.

20. Hamza R'boul (PhD)

I-COMMUNITAS - Institute for Advanced Social Research, Public University of Navarre

Teaching Interculturality and the Supremacy of English in Expanding Circle Countries: Culture, Language and Identity

PhD Thesis

Morocco is a multilingual country that can be situated within the Global South and the expanding-circle of English-speaking countries since English does not have special administrative status in the country but it is widely studied as a foreign language. Morocco is characterized by linguistic hybridity due to the presence of local languages which are Arabic and Tamazight in addition to several foreign languages including French, English and Spanish. The country has been struggling with linguistic dependency on the French after the end of the colonial policy in the 20th century. French has been dominating domains of higher education, business and diplomacy although local languages have the status of official languages of the country as indicated in the constitution. However, with the increasing spread of English, it seems important to examine how English influences local culture, language and identity from the perspectives of students and teachers, especially multiple scholars have argued that English is likely to replace French in the future. My ongoing doctoral research has sought to develop a nuanced analysis of the implications of the increasing spread of English in Morocco. Other research aims have been to (a) explore how university students come to imagine their process of learning and speaking English and (b) investigate university professors as well as pre and in-service teachers’ beliefs and practices regarding the greater status of English and teaching interculturality, and (c) analyze local textbooks and English teaching guidelines determined by the Ministry of Education. This proposed presentation will present the findings of my doctoral research that I have been able to develop so far by discussing four of mu publications. This presentation will also discuss teachers’ beliefs and practices in relation to interculturality teaching.

21. Heran Gao

YK Pao School

Why Should People Care If a Language Goes Extinct?


This essay aims to address the topic of language extinction. The main thesis addresses whether people should care if a language goes extinct, the evaluation of which involves three key components. In part one, I introduce the topic by discussing the definition, causes, and parameters of language extinction.

In part two, I discuss the significance for language preservation by illustrating the case study of the Nüshu language, an endangered Chinese dialect. I analyze the development of Nüshu and its status as an endangered language. Furthermore, I evaluate the outcomes of government conservation efforts to rescue Nüshu from its endangered status. Following the discussion of Nüshu, this section explains the benefits of maintaining language diversity.

In part three, I conclude that people should pay more attention to endangered languages. Yet, I also mention an alternative perspective from Ladefoged, which acknowledges the inevitability of language extinction and criticizes that it is paternalistic of linguists to think that they are obliged to preserve languages. The outcomes of this investigation may serve as the basis for further research in language extinction and the development of Nüshu.


22. Andrea Melina Leiva Pennesi (MA)

Universidad Nacional de San Juan

Word classes and word formation in LSA


The Argentine Sign Language (LSA, by its acronym in Spanish) is a visual spatial language that is spoken throughout the Argentine territory. Like the rest of sign languages, LSA is articulated in space through the body, being, consequently, visually perceived. This feature, called modality difference (Crasborn 2012: 5) distinguishes sign languages from spoken languages and has a crucial impact on their linguistic structure.

This work deals with three aspects of words in LSA: (i) the special nature of the sub-lexical elements of signed words and the consequences for the relationship between words; (ii) the classification of words into word classes; and (iii) the morphological means for creating new words in the signed modality. Two central morphological operations are discussed: compounding and reduplication. Like most sign languages, LSA endows these operations with flavors that are available only to manual-spatial languages: the existence of two major articulators, and their ability to move in various spatial and temporal patterns (Liddell, 2003), resulting in strong preference for simultaneous morphological structures in both inflectional and derivational processes.

  • Berenz, Norine (2002) Insights into Person Deixis. In: Sign Language & Linguistics 5(2), 203227. Bhat, D. N. S.
  • Crasborn, O. (2012). “Phonetics, phonology and prosody”. Sign Language: An International Handbook.4-19 Alemania. De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Fischer, Susan D. (1996) The Role of Agreement and Auxiliaries in Sign Language. In: Lingua 98, 103-119.
  • Klima, Edward/Bellugi, Ursula (1979) The Signs of Language. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Liddell, S. K. (2003). Grammar, Gesture, and meaning in American Sign Language. Cambridge: Cambridge UniversityPress
  • Manrique, E. (2017) Achieving mutual understanding in Argentine Sign Language (LSA). Amsterdam. Ipskamp Printing, Enschede
  • Massone, M. Ignacia, Machado, Emilia Margarita. (1994) Lengua de Señas Argentinas; Análisis y vocabulario bilingüe. Buenos Aires. Edicial.
  • Pfau, Roland; Steinbach, Markus y Woll, Bencie. (2012).Sign Language: An International Handbook. Alemania. De Gruyter Mouton