Language and Social Context

Graduate Field Methods Course History

This page summarizes the history of graduate instruction in linguistic field methods at Berkeley, with information about academic year, language(s), consultant(s), and instructor(s), when known. The information has been reconstructed from archival course catalogs, which occasionally do not reflect the ultimate instructor of record, and in consultation with Linguistics faculty, graduate students, alumni, and records in the Survey of California and Other Indian Languages. We will continue to update it as we learn more. 

Bleaman at AJS and UCL

December 10, 2020
Isaac Bleaman will be giving a talk at the Association for Jewish Studies on the topic "Attitudes toward change in a maintained language: Yiddish in New York" (Dec. 16 at 9:30am) and serving as a respondent on another panel on minority languages in Israel.
He will be giving a longer version of the talk (in Yiddish) at University College London on Jan. 12 at 10am, an event in the Ada Rapoport-Albert Seminar Series on Contemporary Hasidic Yiddish.

Nichols colloquium

October 8, 2020

The 2020-2021 colloquium series kicks off this coming Monday, October 12, with a talk by Johanna Nichols (UC Berkeley), held via Zoom. The talk is entitled Proper measurement of linguistic complexity (and why it matters), and the abstract is as follows:

Hypotheses involving linguistic complexity generate interesting research in a variety of subfields – typology, historical linguistics, sociolinguistics, language acquisition, cognition, neurolinguistics, language processing, and others. Good measures of complexity in various linguistic domains are essential, then, but we have very few and those are mostly single-feature (chiefly size of phoneme inventory and morphemes per word in text).
In other ways as well what we have is not up to the task. The kind of complexity that is favored by certain sociolinguistic factors is not what is usually surveyed in studies invoking the sociolinguistic work. Phonological and morphological complexity are very strongly inversely correlated and form opposite worldwide frequency clines, yet surveys of just one or the other, or both lumped together, are used to support cross-linguistic generalizations about the distribution of complexity writ large. Complexity of derivation, syntax, and lexicon is largely unexplored. Measuring the complexity of polysynthetic languages in the right terms has not been seriously addressed.
This paper proposes a tripartite metric---enumerative, transparency-based, and relational---using a set of different assays across different parts of the grammar and lexicon, that addresses these problems and should help increase the grammatical sophistication of complexity-based hypotheses and choice of targets for computational extraction of complexity levels from corpora. Meeting current expectations of sustainability and replicability, the set is reusable, revealing, reasonably granular, and (at least mostly) amenable to computational implementation. I demonstrate its usefulness to typology and historical linguistics with some cross-linguistic and within-family surveys.

Language, ethnicity and politics in Quebec

Monica Heller

Advisors: Charles J. Fillmore and John J. Gumperz

Bleaman to appear in Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence

April 23, 2020

Congrats to Isaac Bleaman, whose article "Implicit standardization in a minority language community: Real-time syntactic change among Hasidic Yiddish writers" has been accepted for publication at Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence. The article will appear in the section Language and Computation as part of the research topic in Computational Sociolinguistics. Read the abstract here!

Berkeley @ Hispanic Linguistics Symposium

October 31, 2019

Ernesto Gutiérrez Topete writes to share news of a number of Berkeley talks recently presented at the Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, University of Texas at El Paso, on Oct. 24-26, 2019:

  • Ben Papadopoulos: Morphological gender innovations in Spanish of non-binary speakers
  • Justin Davidson: La [v]ariebilidad sociofonética en el español de California: Social and Linguistic Underpinnings of the Labiodentalization of /b/
  • Ernesto Gutiérrez Topete: Influence from English on the production of the /tl/ cluster by Mexican Spanish-English bilinguals
  • Gabriella Licata, Annie Helms, Rachel Weiher: Merger in production and perception? Bilingual discrimination of Spanish [β] and [v]
  • Justin Davidson: Navigating the Statistical Tides: An R Tutorial for the Non-Coding-Inclined [workshop]

Congrats all!

Bleaman featured on BerkeleyNews

October 23, 2019

This week's Berkeley News features new faculty member Isaac Bleaman -- check it out!

Berkeley @ NWAV 48

September 19, 2019

Berkeley sociolinguistics will be represented at the upcoming conference New Ways of Analyzing Variation 48 by:

  • Isaac Bleaman: Linguistic prescriptivism, social conservatism, and phonetic drift in language maintenance communities
  • Justin Davidson, Joseph Roy, and Gyula Zsombok: Workshop: Creating interactive shiny dashboards to showcase sociolinguistic research: Seeing the forest and the trees

Congrats all!