Dr. Jennifer Nycz and Dr. Victor Fernandez-Mallat Awarded NSF Grant

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Dr. Victor Fernandez,
Department of Spanish and Portuguese

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese would like to congratulate Associate Professor Victor Fernandez (Department of Spanish and Portuguese) and Associate Professor Jennifer Nycz (Department of Linguistics) on being awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Grant by the Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS) for their project “Georgetown University Round Table 2021 on Dialect Contact“. Congratulations on this prestigious award!

The abstract for this project can be found below:

“This project consists of a roundtable on language and linguistics on the theme of “Dialect Contact”. Dialect contact occurs whenever speakers of mutually intelligible language varieties interact, and the outcomes of such contact are important for many topics in linguistics and other areas of language sciences. Scholars who examine the behavior of individual speakers find that people change their speech to become more similar to those they interact with, both in laboratory contexts and as a result of long-term mobility, and that these adjustments are mediated by various linguistic and social-attitudinal factors. Scholars who focus on community-level dialect change show how contact alters the structure of dialects and how factors like language complexity influence which features persist and which do not. Dialect contact can thus be approached as an individual-level or a community-level phenomenon; a cognitive process or a social one. But these two levels of analysis are inseparable: any individual?s language system is shaped by their social context, and community dialects are, ultimately, spoken by individual speakers. To fully understand the mechanisms and outcomes of dialect contact, scholars with different orientations need to come together and share methodologies, empirical findings, theoretical approaches, and avenues for future research.

This conference will provide a unique opportunity for the wide range of scholars working on some aspect of dialect contact to come together and share methodologies, empirical findings, theoretical approaches, and avenues for future research and collaborations. The aim is to bring together researchers from across a broad range of subdisciplines – phoneticians, laboratory phonologists, psycholinguists, sociolinguists, and theoretical linguists – as well as those who examine dialect contact using agent-based modelling or neurolinguistic methodologies. This interaction will help to provide fruitful cross-pollinations across disciplinary approaches and potentially foster new collaborations. The conference will include plenary speakers, individual presentations, and panel proposals from a range of perspectives. In order to support a long-term impact on the field, graduate student and early-career scholar participation will be supported.

This award reflects NSF’s statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation’s intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.”

Please visit this website (new window) for more information on the award.