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Presented By: Department of Linguistics

Linguistics Graduate Student Colloquium

Jian Zhu and Yourdanis Sedarous

Linguistics graduate students Jian Zhu and Yourdanis Sedarous will present their research.

Jian Zhu will present "The structure of online social networks modulates the rate of lexical change"

New words are regularly introduced to communities, yet not all of these words persist in a community's lexicon. Among all factors contributing to lexical change, we focus on the understudied effect of social networks. We conduct a large-scale analysis of over 80k neologisms in 4420 online communities across a decade. Using Poisson regression and survival analysis, our study demonstrates that the community's network structure plays a significant role in lexical change. Apart from overall size, properties including dense connections, the lack of local clusters, and more external contacts promote lexical innovation and retention. Unlike offline communities, these topic-based communities do not experience strong lexical leveling despite increased contact but accommodate more niche words. Our work provides support for a sociolinguistic hypothesis that the lexical change is partially shaped by the structure of the underlying network but also uncovers findings specific to online communities.

Yourdanis will present "Investigating the extent of shared syntactic structures in the grammar of bilinguals"

The present study investigates to what extent syntactic and semantic representations are shared between a bilingual’s languages, specifically when these structures overlap in varying degrees across those languages. In this talk, I focus on the bilingual knowledge and use of long-distance dependencies (e.g constituent questions) in Egyptian Arabic-English bilinguals. The results of a bilingual corpus analysis suggest that some structures of English trigger repetition of the same structure in the switch to Egyptian Arabic, while the results of an acceptability judgement task investigating code-switched LDDs suggest that speakers’ dominance of their two or more languages affects their sensitivity to illicit sentences in partially convergent structures. A third experiment is proposed to further test to what extent structures are shared.

Livestream Information

April 9, 2021 (Friday) 4:00pm
Meeting ID: 97705649003

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