Saturday, October 30, 2010

Presentations available from “Investigating immigrant languages in America”

Many of the presentations from the “Investigating immigrant languages in America” workshop are now available for download here.  We'll post more if they become available.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

“Investigating immigrant languages in America”

Please join us for a conference on “Investigating immigrant languages in America”, September 16-17 of 2010, in the Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin – Madison campus. This event will bring together a set of scholars with the aim of creating new collaborations in linguistics and related areas. The program is free and open to the public — everyone is invited.

Wisconsin has a long tradition of research into immigrant languages in the North America, led by luminaries like Einar Haugen (Scandinavian Studies), and others including Frederic Cassidy (English / Dictionary of American Regional English) and Lester W.J. Seifert (German). Haugen, a Norwegian-American bilingual from the Upper Midwest, was one of the creators of modern sociolinguistics, and made great contributions to our understanding of language structure, bilingualism, language contact and language history. This conference builds very directly on that tradition, presenting new research on all the just-mentioned areas. Indeed, the program includes a presentation on Haugen’s work, and research founded on insights in his Bilingualism in America.

The conference aims to reach two distinct audiences. The first day focuses on linguistics, more directly intended for linguists faculty and students. Particular attention is going to syntax, an area long ignored in the study of immigrant languages.  The second day aims to attract and engage a broader public, including language learners, members of heritage communities and those interested in American dialects.

Program: “Investigating immigrant languages in America”

Thursday, Sept. 16

9:00 Introduction, Janne Bondi Johannessen and Joe Salmons, UiO and UW 

9:15 Two dialects, one syntax: Wisconsin High German as relexified Pomeranian, Mark Louden, UW 

10:00 Wisconsin West Frisian morphophonology, Joshua Bousquette and Todd Ehresmann, UW 

10:45 Break  

11:15  Einar Haugen’s study of Norwegian in America, within a Matrix Language-Frame-model adapted to Principles and Parameters, Tor A. Åfarli, NTNU 

12:00  Lunch 

1:30 Intricacies of interrogative morphosyntax across Norwegian dialects, Øystein Alexander Vangsnes and Marit Westergaard, UiT 

2:15 The distribution of verb particles in some Norwegian dialects, Leiv Inge Aa, NTNU 

3:00 Break 

3:30  Syntactic stability and change in American German, Dan Nützel, IUPUI,  and Joe Salmons, UW

4:15 Preliminary investigations into immigrant Norwegian dialects in 2010,  Janne Bondi Johannessen, and Signe Laake, UiO  

Friday, Sept. 17

9:30  The Nordic Dialect Corpus and Database,  Janne Bondi Johannessen, UiO, and Kristin Hagen, UiO  

10:15 Some features of Scandinavian and Germanic influence on the English language in the Midwest, Bert Vaux, Cambridge University 

11:00  Break  

11:45  Immigrant language in Norway: Social network analysis, multilingualism and identity, Elizabeth Lanza  

12:30 Lunch 

2:00 Code Switching as Literary Device in Norwegian-American Writings: Examples from O.E. Rølvaag and Johs. B. Whist,  Ingeborg Kongslien

2:45  The language of Gudbrandsdal immigrants in the 1980s, Arnstein Hjelde, HiØ 

3:30 Break 

4:00 What remains of Norwegian in Minnesota and Wisconsin, Louis Janus, University of Minnesota 

4:45  Closing discussion

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Language as Homeland, Feb. 13

Click to enlarge, or for more details, go here.

This should be a great event.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Wisconsin Englishes continues: MKI/CSUMC wins Baldwin grant for Language Matters for Wisconsin

By Eric Raimy, English

Language Matters for Wisconsin: A community based initiative is a project funded by a Baldwin-Wisconsin Idea Grant led by Thomas C. Purnell (Linguistics), Eric Raimy (English) and Joe Salmons (CSUMC) in cooperation with four Wisconsin communities to explore what aspects of language impact every day life in our state. We are currently working together with community collaborators in southeastern Wisconsin (Milwaukee and the Kenosha-Racine area), Mineral Point, Rhinelander and Wausau. All of these communities have unique aspects of where language issues impact the lives of their residents but there is a commonality to the situations which will allow us to learn about our own experiences with language from each community.

Some of the topics that are being developed across these communities are: how history and identity can be explored through language, how heritage languages can be maintained and why they matter to different communities, how home languages affect educational opportunities, how community specific languages can be a source of pride and identity and how we should understand both historical and contemporary immigration with respect to language. As part of developing these topics, different community specific materials will be developed to address particular local concerns. A map of the distribution of different languages spoken in Wisconsin has already been produced and can be seen on our project website, here.

This project is in its beginning stages and it is currently developing individual relationships with each community that focus on the particular language matters in each community. Language Matters for Wisconsin will culminate in 2012 with a public town hall meeting in Madison aimed at demonstrating how linguistic diversity enriches our culture through the materials and ideas developed with our community partners.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A big move, literally

When CSUMC was born a decade ago, we squeezed into the quarters of the Max Kade Institute. As our two units grew, things very quickly went from being a squeeze to being dramatically too small.

Over the years, we’ve had regular discussions with the College of Letters & Science about possible new locations. Then, over the last year or so, we have worked out a place in the University Club (see image). It’s about the best location we could imagine — we’re literally next to Memorial Library and the Historical Society, and across from the Memorial Union. The official address is 432 East Campus Mall, by the way, part of the new corridor running from Lake Mendota down through the new buildings along Johnson and southward.

Back in August, CSUMC moved into a just-renovated suite of offices on the third floor, along with part of the Max Kade Institute. We’ll immediately have meeting and lecture space. In a year and half, the plan is for the Center and the Institute to take the fourth floor of the building. That increase in space will be mind-boggling for us.

For the first time, there is an office for the Director of CSUMC — I’m in 331 University Club. Associate Director Ruth Olson is in 332. Drop by to see us.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


Welcome to the new CSUMC website. It may look like a minor redesign on the surface, but in fact, it's the beginning of a real shift in our web presence. This column will contain steadily updated news from all of us at the Center.