Tuesday, June 26, 2007

And now, Second Language Phonology in the news!

A pair of UW-Milwaukee linguists, Fred Eckman and Greg Iverson, are getting big press in Cream City*, here, for their work on second language phonology. The article nicely gets across connections up and down the speech chain and how the brain works all the way to practical applications. Check out this quote from Eckman, starting from the the cognitive side of phonology:
there are underlying abstract concepts at play. We're trying to identify these and test them and see just what is it about how the mind is organized for language that makes producing some of these sounds so difficult for some people and not so much for others. After all, we all have the same anatomical structure — lips and tongues and so on. So what's going on there?
This kind of vital research is precisely what our Wisconsin universities should be doing, and the work is laid out clearly in the piece. As state support for our universities collapses, we've got faculty bringing in a massive grant to our state's 'other' doctoral institution (but one which has long been a presence in the field of linguistics). I hope that their deans accompany these guys around campus, spreading rose petals in their path and offering them refreshing beverages.

*Traditional nickname for Milwaukee, according to legend, because of the cream-colored brick used in so many buildings there.

1 comment:

Joe said...

Hey, how come this isn't in your google news feed yet?