Louise Middleton and Wendell Kimper are in the news!

Are rappers better linguists than SHAKESPEARE? Complex rhymes are ‘second nature’ to hip-hop artists

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Our undergraduate student Louise Middleton and lecturer Dr Wendell Kimper were interviewed by the Daily Mail, talking about whether rappers are better linguists than Shakespeare.

They will be on BBC Radio Manchester today (12th February, 2015) at 8:45 talking about this topic.

Posted in linguistics in the media, linguistics on the web, local events, undergraduate

Language and Linguistics Research Seminar, Edge Hill University, 12 Feb 2015

the Inaugural Lecture of the Language and Linguistics Research Seminar Series will take place on Thursday 12 February 2015, at B004 in the Business School at 6pm.

The speaker will be Professor Raymond Hickey (University of Duisburg Essen), talking about “The role of contact in the history of English”.

Posted in Uncategorized

Langwidge Sandwidge Spring 2015

Week 2 — 3 February 2015

Ellen Wilkinson A 3.6

Olga Gordeeva, Acapela Group and Queen Margaret University (Edinburgh)

Week 4 – 17 February 2015

Ellen Wilkinson A 3.6

Svenja Kranich, University of Mainz

Week 6 – 3 March 2015

Room TBC

Ayumi Miura, Kansai Gadai University

Week 8 –17 March 2015

Room TBC

Laura Arman, University of Manchester

Week 10 – 22 April 2015

Room TBC

Mareike Hamann, University of Manchester

Week 12 – 5 May 2015

Room TBC

Henri Kauhanen, University of Manchester

Posted in Uncategorized

Abstract for the coming Tuesday’s LEL seminar talk by Silke Hamann

Loanword adaptation via perception and orthography: modelling Cantonese and Italian

In this talk, I will first discuss the adaptation of English onset clusters into Hong Kong Cantonese and how the diachronic change in the perceptual adaptation strategies can account for cases of loan doublets, where the same word is borrowed at different times resulting in different forms.

In the second part, I will argue that perceptual considerations can be overridden by orthography and will provide a linguistic model that can incorporate the role of orthographic representations in loanword adaptation. Illustrations come from English words with ‘orthographic geminates’ such as tennis or killer, which are borrowed with long consonants into Italian.

Posted in Uncategorized

[Call for Papers]: Morphosyntactic Triggers of Tone: New Data and Theories (Our very own Yuni Kim is an invited speaker!)

Call for Papers

Morphosyntactic Triggers of Tone: New Data and Theories

13-14 June 2015


Whereas tone has played a central role in the evolution of phonological theory (Goldsmith 1976, Pulleyblank 1986, Yip 2002), the channels by which morphology and syntax trigger tonal reflexes or conversely restrict tonal alternations are still hardly understood. Firmly persuaded by Hyman’s (2011) dictum that `tone can do everything segmental or metrical phonology can do’ (and more), we think that it is absolutely essential for linguistics to develop a better understanding for the empirical richness and the theoretical implications of the morphosyntax of tone. The goal of this workshop is to provide a forum to this end which brings together descriptively and theoretically oriented linguists addressing questions such as:

• How does morphosyntactic structure interact with tonal phonology? Do syntactic constructions trigger specific tone patterns? Which types of morphosyntactic boundaries restrict (or are required by) general tonal alternations? Does opacity in tonal processes correlate with morphological and syntactic levels of derivation?

• How does tonal featural affixation work morphologically? how are tonal morphemes linearized? Where do they show systematic patterns of syncretism and blocking or multiple exponence? What is the distribution of tonal prefixation and suffixation? Is there a tonal equivalent to infixation, and how does tonal overwriting work in contrast to additive tonal morphology?

• What can tonal phenomena teach us about the morphology-syntax interface? Are tonal alternations at the phrasal level substantially different from word-level processes? Where do tonal alternations crosscut the boundaries between word-level morphology and phrasal syntax?

We invite abstracts for twenty-minute talks with a ten-minute discussion. We especially encourage contributions which present original fieldwork (or experimental results), but also highly welcome submissions that provide new theoretical approaches, establish new descriptive generalizations, or, simply, bring to the fore relevant data that have been published, but so far ignored in a the theoretical discussion.

Invited Speakers

• Yuni Kim (University of Manchester)
• Mary Paster (Pomona College)
• Gerrit Dimmendaal (University of Cologne)

Abstract Submission

Abstracts must be at most one page long. An optional second page is permitted for data and references. Abstracts must be anonymous.

Submissions are limited to one individual and one joint abstract per author, or two joint abstracts per author.

The abstract should be submitted as a PDF attachment and sent to the following e-mail address:


Please use `Abstract‘ as the Subject header and include the information in (1) – (4), which should constitute the body of the message. Please make sure that all fonts are embedded.

Author Information

• Name(s) of author(s)
• Title of talk
• Affiliation(s)
• E-mail address(es)

Deadline for Submission: March 31, 2015

Notification of Acceptance: April 15, 2015

Posted in conferences, department news | Tagged

Natasha Hirata-Smith: “Making the Most of Montreal”

This is Natasha’s second guest post on Manchet. Let’s read about all the exciting things she has done in the past month since she moved to Montreal!

As I sit here writing my second blog post for Manchet, there’s something on my mind that I can’t quite accept; apparently I have been in the North American continent for just over a month now, and yet it feels like only yesterday I was putting my suitcase in the back of the car to begin my journey to Canada.

There are only 12 weeks to go and already I have been thrown into the continuously assessed academic system of McGill with the first assignments graded and midterm exams in a matter of weeks. Unfortunately, my birthday is bombarded with assessments, but on the other hand I have been fortunate enough to have all my midterms before reading week, which gives me some free time to visit Niagara Falls.

There is plenty for me to say about academic life, and it is true that it has been challenging, inspiring and thought-provoking, but I want to devote this particular blog post to what’s been happening beyond the lecture hall.

Since my arrival I have had plenty of visits to the underground city, hot drinks at Tim Horton’s and Second Cup (whilst avoiding Starbucks!) and have even had my first poutine – a dish consisting of chips, gravy and cheese curds. McGill has been very good at organising events for international students and I spend a lot of time with friends from many parts of the world.

One of my most memorable days involves visiting Old Montreal with friends from England and Australia. Despite the snow it wasn’t too difficult to access the cobbled streets and visit the many historical sites. If my updates are not quite frequent enough, you can catch up with the adventures of my Australian friend, Roger, on his personal blog here: http://theguywhorambles.blogspot.ca/ . I’m sure we’ll be off to visit many other parts of Canada in the near future!

Another benefit of making friends whilst studying abroad – whether they be international or relatively local – is that they are very useful for postcard writing inspiration. I never quite realised how difficult writing a postcard home to friends and family could be. Fortunately, many people were happy to give me advice from what interesting facts to tell (I had no idea, for example, that Montreal is twinned with Hiroshima, Japan), to drawings, jokes and poems (involving maple syrup apocalypse).

Within the university, I have signed up to volunteer to raise awareness for students with disabilities and I am currently preparing to compete for the McGill Iron Chef competition – if I make it, my team will represent McGill against other university teams in Boston. These are things that I often think about doing, but never really would go out and do back in Manchester.

I’m looking forward to sending future updates, and I especially enjoy receiving your comments and suggestions. Stay safe in the snow and have a great second semester!

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Posted in undergraduate | Tagged

Katherine Miller Writes about Her First Impressions of Montreal and McGill University

Katherine Miller is currently studying abroad in Montreal, Canada, at McGill University. Below is her first impressions of Montreal and McGill University!

It is just about to be a month since I have arrived in Montreal and it has been a whirlwind of an adventure so far! Arriving on the same weekend as an ice storm was a shock to the system but once wrapped up warm the city is amazing. Luckily McGill University is situated right in the middle of the downtown area so it is great to get out and explore a little after classes.

There is a great system here of ‘shopping’ for courses before confirming during the add/drop period. This has been a great way to sample the different modules offered here at McGill. The modules I am taking are Phonology, Linguistic Aspects of Bilingualism and Dialectology for Linguistics whilst in Anthropology I am studying Anthropology of Religion and Legal Anthropology. It has been great to jump straight into term and get involved. The school system is very different here so far and assessment is always continuous. I have deadlines nearly every week and midterm exams in two weeks’ time, so there is lots to do.

The way of studying here is far more research based. I’m interested to see how the results are from the research based modules. Especially in phonology as the number of international students that come to McGill should produce an interesting set of results in comparison. Most of my lectures have around 100 students, but as a higher level class, Dialectology has only 27 students, which is such a different way of learning. In the smaller class environment, it is much more interactive. Though it was surprising for me how much the students speak out in lectures as there is always time for discussions which can become really interesting.

The wind-chill factor has been a little menacing, but when you actually look up from the icy paths, it is so beautiful here. Everyone I have met so far is so friendly. It is great that the weather acts as an icebreaker here as well! We all get excited when it’s -2 because it’s so warm! I’m making the most of the winter activities — ice-skating at Vieux Port which is outside by the river and skiing in the mountains nearby. Also there are so many festivals in Montreal. At the moment it is Igloofest which is a big outdoor music event every weekend. Then next week we’re going to Fete des Neiges whilst I’ve also heard there is a whole week devoted to Poutine! This is essentially chips, cheese curds and gravy which becomes the base for every variation of food you could imagine. It is great.


Posted in undergraduate | Tagged