Sunday, January 14, 2007

Upper Midwestern highlights from ADS/LSA

Finally stealing a minute from other obligations to note at least a couple of highlights from the American Dialect Society and Linguistic Society of America last week, things I haven't seen noted elsewhere and that relate to this region.

First off, the Upper Midwest was very well represented – even in high-profile places: ADS President
Joan H. Hall, from UW-Madison's own Dictionary of American Regional English, gave a luncheon address on “Why bother studying American dialects?” Word on the street was very positive, although I haven't gotten more detail.

Marquette's Steve Hartman Keiser gave a very nice paper on "The disappearing past and futures of Pennsylvania German dialectology" with lots on that language in the Midwest. This continues work that he's been doing for a while, but it was a welcome overview for those of us who aren't up on that growing community. Rika Ito of St. Olaf gave a fine overview on Hmong in the Twins Cities with some detail on accommodation to Upper Midwestern norms in the vowel systems of a set of speakers. That seems to be a new project and I certainly look forward to seeing how it develops.

The most-discussed LSA event among folks I talked to was probably “Phonology: An Appraisal of the Field in 2007", featuring lots of big names. Phonoloblog's Eric Baković has promised some comments on that, and a few comments are already up. Of course blogging the LSA and ADS is now a highly developed sport. Tenser, said the Tensor has a few pics and lots of prose and links here.

Next year things will be in Chicago and I'm already hoping for lots on language and dialect in this region.

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