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Standard Language Ideology Statement

Linguistics students, faculty collaborate to create Standard Language Ideology Statement to inform teaching and mentoring

The Linguistics Department recently developed and adopted a Standard Language Ideology Statement. The statement came about as the result of the deep commitment of many of our students and faculty, who took part in the collaborative process to bring the statement together. The statement will inform our own teaching and mentoring in the Linguistics Department, and we hope it can serve as a relevant resource for other units and instructors.
Read the full statement.

Faculty News

Congratulations, Sally Thomason

Congratulations to Sarah (Sally) G. Thomason, Bernard Bloch Distintuished Professor Emerita of Linguistics, who officially retired at the end of May.

Professor Sally Thomason joined the University of Michigan faculty in 1999, where she was named the William J. Gedney Collegiate Professor of Linguistics in 2001, and the Bernard Bloch Distinguished Professor of Linguistics in 2015. Sally chaired the Department of Linguistics from 2010 to 2013.

Professor Thomason is the world’s authority on language contact. Her books Language Contact, Creolization, and Genetic Linguistics (1988, with Terrence Kaufman) and Language Contact: An Introduction (2001) transformed the field of language contact through their theoretical and methodological rigor and insights. Her field-defining research has turned language contact today into a fertile area of linguistic inquiry. Sally Thomason’s contributions also draw on her deep expertise in the Native languages of the United States, especially Séliš-Ql'ispé (Montana Salish), on which she conducted field work for 40 years.

Read about Sally’s many accomplishments and vast contributions to the field of linguistics in her retirement memoir approved by the U-M regents.

Sally will remain actively involved in the department and will continue to lead the historical linguistics discussion group this year.

Congratulations, Nick Ellis

Congratulations to Nick Ellis, Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Linguistics, who retired from U-M on May 31. 
Professor Ellis joined the University of Michigan faculty as a professor of psychology and research scientist in the English Language Institute (ELI) in 2004. He received an additional appointment as professor of linguistics in 2009.

Professor Ellis led an extremely productive and distinguished career, making seminal contributions to the scientific understanding of language acquisition and helping to establish psycholinguistics, cognitive psychology, and applied linguistics as vibrant contributors to language pedagogy. Read more in Nick’s retirement memoir approved by the U-M regents.

Welcome, Iman and Charlie

Dr. Iman Sheydaei Baghdadeh is our new Language Learning Visiting Research Assistant Professor. He finished his PhD in English Language and Linguistics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2021. His research explores the intersection between linguistic behavior and ethnic identities. His interests include sociolinguistics, language and identity, language contact, sociophonetics, and dialectology.

Dr.Charlie O’Hara has been a lecturer in the department since the Winter term. He received his PhD in linguistics from the University of Southern California in 2021. His research focuses on phonological theory and computational linguistics, particularly how the learnability of phonological patterns impacts their typological frequency. His interests include birdwatching, biking, and wildlife photography. This semester Charlie O’Hara is teaching LING 192, Sounds in Our Changing World, and LING 193, Human Language and Computers. 

Graduate Student News

Welcome, New Graduate Students!

The Department of Linguistics extends a warm welcome to our new graduate student colleagues, Cal Callister, Sovoya Davis, Emma Santelmann, Jungyun Seo, and Anna Whitney. We look forward to getting to know each of you better in the coming months!

Sovoya Davis is interested in pursuing research on African American English and Black American Sign Language. She’s interested in the sociopolitical aspects of language, language attitudes and linguistic discrimination.

Emma Santelmann is interested in language contact and bilingualism and hopes to research interactions between Armenian and neighboring languages. 

Anna Whitney is interested in Ojibwe language revitalization projects and the ways that sociolinguistics can help us understand the media, policy, and ideology that play a role in those projects.

Cal Callister is interested in computational linguistics, natural language processing, and language digitization. 

Jungyun Seo. Jungyun’s interests lie in exploring the relation/interaction between the linguistic structure and the sound system within and across languages, which will include examining how language-specific and speaker-specific patterns may be accounted for within the Articulatory Phonology framework.

Graduate Student Spotlight: Rawan Bonais

Born and raised in Saudi Arabia, linguistics PhD candidate Rawan Bonais has always been fascinated by languages. She chose to major in English translation as an undergraduate student at King Saud University. But it wasn’t until Rawan took an introductory course in linguistics that she discovered her true passion. Read the full article.

In the News

Kelly Wright Featured in LSA Member Spotlight

PhD candidate Kelly Wright was featured by the Linguistic Society of America in their August member spotlight. 
Read the full article.

One Weird Consequence Of The Pandemic? Forgetting Words

Kelly was quoted in Bustle, where she says it’s fairly common to suddenly forget words, a phenomenon exacerbated by the pandemic.
Read the full article.

Submit a News Story

Upcoming Events

Fri., Sept 17
LingAMod Disccussion Group

9:00 a.m.; virtual

Phondi Discussion Group
1:00 p.m.; virtual

Prosody Discussion Group
2:00 p.m.; virtual

SoConDi Discussion Group
3:00 p.m.; virtual

Thurs., Sept. 23
Psycholinguistics Group
4:00 p.m.; virtual

Fri., Sept. 24
HistLing Discussion Group
2 p.m.; virtual

SynSem Discussion Group
3:00 p.m.; virtual
Fri., Oct. 1
LingAMod Discussion Group
9 a.m.; virtual

Phondi Discussion Group
1:00 p.m.; virtual 

Prosody Discussion Group
2:00 p.m.; virtual

SoConDi Discussion Group
3:00 p.m.; virtual

Linguistics Virtual Colloquium
Jonathan Henner (UNC Greensboro)
4:00 p.m. 

Staff News

Welcome, Carl

Carl Abrego joined the Linguistics Depart-ment in June as interim Chief Administrator. Carl, who is the current Chief Administrator for the U-M Residential College and the interim Chief Administrator for the Weinberg Institute for Cognitive Science, is coordinating departmental administrative functions, supervising staff, managing finance and human resource services, and overseeing projects and facilities for the Department of Linguistics. Carl has almost 20 years of administrative experience at the University of Michigan, 10 of which has been with LSA.  

Congratulations, Talisha

Talisha Reviere-Winston, who was Chief Administrator for the Department of Linguistics for the past nine years, accepted a position as the Director of Human Resources and Finance for U-M Michigan Radio. We wish Talisha all the best, as she will be greatly missed!

Congratulations, Sarah

Congratulations to Student Services Coordinator Sarah Heineken, who is among the winners of this year’s LSA Staff Achievement Awards, announced in July by the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA). Sarah received the Rising Star Award for LSA’s social sciences division. The award is presented (by division) to an individual staff member with no more than three years of service in LSA, who has made outstanding contributions that go beyond the ordinary fulfillment of the position’s duties.

Welcome Back, Emily

We welcome Dr. Emily Atkinson back as a visiting faculty in the department for the Fall. She is teaching LING 106, Start Talking: Introduction to First Language Acquisition, and LING 394, Research Methods in Development, Language, and Cognition. Dr. Atkinson is a postdoctoral research fellow for the Weinberg Institute for Cognitive Science. She investigates how various cognitive factors affect sentence comprehension in real time in both adults and children. She also coordinates the biweekly Cognitive Science Seminar Series.

Rachel Weissler Successfully Defends Dissertation

Congratulations to Rachel Elizabeth Weissler, who successfully defended her dissertation, “Leveraging African American English Knowledge: Cognition and Multidialectal Processing" in June. Committee co-chairs are Jon Brennan and Robin Queen.

This fall, Rachel began a new position
as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oregon.

Congratulations, Rachel!

Undergraduate Student Writing

From the Holler: An introduction to Appalachian English

By Gus Boyer

“Could y’all pass the corn puddin’?” my grandmother asked as she reached across the lacy, white tablecloth. The slight southern twang in her voice revealed a memento of her Kentucky roots. 

I am a native of Kentucky, known for horse races, basketball, and bourbon. What is also a part of the state is the Appalachian dialect.

Read the full essay.

Gus Boyer is a Freshman at the University of Michigan from Kentucky. Studying Linguistics and Spanish, he hopes to live abroad and pursue his love for language learning. In his spare time, he enjoys being in the fresh air, learning useless talents, and playing soccer. 

COVID-19 Information for 2021-22
The Campus Maize and Blueprint website shares up-to-date information on the university's response to COVID-19 and how the U-M community can stay safe and reduce the spread of the virus on campus. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

As the largest college in the university, LSA celebrates its role in Michigan's deeply rooted commitment to diversity

Career Opportunity

The Linguistics Department has an open tenure-track position (assistant or associate professor) whose scholarship contributes to social justice and anti-racisim.

Read the job description in the Linguist List

Save the date!


Parallel Pandemics

Addressing Structural Racism in the Age of COVID-19

Monday, October 11
10-11:30 AM

Join us for speakers, a roundtable discussion and performances. For updates and ways to engage, visit Additional Summit events will take place throughout October. More information here

Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan
611 Tappan Street, 440 Lorch Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
phone: 734.764.0353     email:

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University of Michigan Linguistics · University of Michigan · Department of Linguistics · Ann Arbor, MI 48109 · USA

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