Faculty News

Advancing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility at U-M

Natasha Abner helped organize the virtual event series Toward an Anti-Ableist Academy, which took place throughout Disability Community Awareness month in October. She was a member of the October 5th panel, Disability Studies Futures at U-M, and a faculty representative at the October 27th event on Requesting Accommodations.

Robin Queen was a member of the October 13th panel, Dismantling Ableism across Academic Spaces and Hierarchies. 

All of the events were conducted as Zoom webinars with live CART captioning and ASL-English interpreting. Recordings of the event are archived on the Toward an Anti-Ableist Academy website and available for viewing.

Teresa Satterfield Featured in November LSA Member Spotlight

Linguist Teresa Satterfield, Professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, is featured in the Linguistic Society of America’s member spotlight for November 2021. Professor Satterfield is a psycholinguist with a broad background in language development in bilingual children. See the LSA member spotlight

Emily Atkinson to Begin New Position at UTM

In January 2022, Linguistics Lecturer Emily Atkinson will join the Department of Language Studies at the University of Toronto Mississauga as Assistant Professor of Linguistics. Dr. Atkinson currently teaches two courses in the Linguistics department and is a postdoctoral research fellow for the Weinberg Institute for Cognitive Science. She has been a part of the U-M Linguistics community since 2017. Congratulations, Emily, and best of luck in your new position!

'How I Got Here and Where
I'm Going Next'

The latest article by Sarah G. (Sally) Thomason, Bernard Bloch Distinguished Professor Emerita of Linguistics, has been accepted for publication in the Annual Review of Linguistics. In the autobiographical article, “How I Got Here and Where I’m Going Next,” professor Thomason takes a spirited and often humorous approach to describing her fifty-year career as a linguist. Professor Thomason retired from U-M on May 31, 2021. 
Read an Advance Review of the article.

Graduate Student News

Andrew McInnerney Authors Paper on Parentheticals

Linguistics PhD candidate Andrew McInnerney has authored a paper titled "Parenthetical Niching: A Third-Factor Phonosyntactic Analysis." The paper is currently in press with the journal Syntax. The paper was accepted for publication in October 2020. Read the abstract.

Yourdanis Sedarous Awarded Predoctoral Fellowships

Congratulations to PhD candidate Yourdanis Sedarous, who has received an MIT Diversity Predoctoral Fellowship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences. The fellowship will enable Yourdanis to spend the 2021-22 academic year at MIT where she is working on her dissertation research.Yourdanis also received a Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship. The prestigious Rackham Predoctoral Fellowship supports outstanding doctoral candidates working on dissertations that are unusually creative, ambitious and impactful. Read more.

Kelly Wright Gives Virtual Talk
at UC Berkeley

In a hybrid event on October 18, PhD candidate Kelly E. Wright  gave a talk for the University of California, Berkeley, Linguistics Department entitled "Raciolinguistic Ideologies as Institutionaized Linguistic Racism." The talk was part of the colloquium series called TABLE (Toward a Better Linguistics Environment), which aims to give space to socially and theoretically important topics that are historically neglected within the fields of linguistics and language studies.

Graduate Student Spotlight
Justin Craft

For PhD candidate Justin Craft, attending community college had a lasting impact on his life—not only by instilling self-confidence but also by providing a foundation for his later interest in Linguistics and, specifically, phonetics.  

Justin grew up in Long Beach, California, and received his Associates degree from Long Beach City College in radio and television production. While there, he briefly managed the student radio station, KLBC. Read more

Alumni Profile

Beatrice Teodoro Oshika

Linguistics alum Beatrice Teodoro Oshika (BA 1963, MA 1964, PhD 1973), credits her U-M education with providing the foundation of her life, beginning with her mother who came to Ann Arbor in 1933 from the Philippines as a Barbour Scholar. Read more about Beatrice’s early campus activities, what it was like to be a U-M student in the 1960s, and her long career in linguistics. Read more

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Upcoming Events

Thursday, Nov. 11
Psycholinguistics Discussion Group
4:00 pm | virtual

Friday, Nov. 12
LingAMod Discussion Group
9:00 am | virtual

Linguistics Virtual
Open House

1:30-2:30 pm

Prosody Discussion Group
2:00 pm | virtual

SoConDi Discussion Group
3:00 pm | virtual 

Thursday, Nov. 18
Psycholinguistics Discussion Group
4:00 pm | virtual

Friday, Nov. 19
HistLing Discussion Group
2:00 pm |virtual 

SynSem Discussion Group
3:00 pm | virtual 

Nov. 24-26
Thanksgiving recess

Friday, Dec. 3
HistLing Discussion Group
2:00 pm | virtual

SoConDi Discussion Group
3:00 pm | virtual

Friday, December 10
9:00 am | virtual
LingAMod Discussion Group
Jenny Lu

Prosody Discussion Group
2:00 pm | virtual 

SynSem Discussion Group
3:00 pm | virtual 

Linguistics Graduate Student Colloquium
4:00-5:30 PM
Danielle Burgess and Justin Craft

Staff News

Congratulations, Jennifer!

Congratulations to Jen Nguyen, who was recently promoted to Academic Services Manager. Jen is a Linguistics alum (PhD ‘06). She joined the department in 2014 as Student Services Coordinator and also joined the Weinberg Institute for Cognitive Science in 2018. 

A seasoned academic advisor and leader with an immense departmental knowledge, Jen supervises the student services teams in both Linguistics and Cognitive Science, and provides administrative partnership with the Chief Administrator.

Congratulations, Jen, on this well-deserved recognition!

Online Learning Opportunities

For U-M Students, Alumni, Staff, and Faculty

Michigan Online is a major destination for learning—join a global network of problem solvers and gain the knowledge and skills to make a difference in your communities and across the world. Discover more than 200 online learning opportunities taught by U-M faculty that allow you to explore new topics, develop relevant skills and advance your career. Please visit this page for additional resource links and information

Undergraduate Student Writing

What's So Funny About Dad Jokes?

By Claire Kowalec 

Many of us are familiar with “dad jokes” on the Internet and the memes that circulate about them. But what in particular makes dad jokes so popular? According to Generation Z and millennials, dad jokes refer to dry, off-beat jokes told by older generations, including dads. One famous example is:

     Hi Dad, I’m hungry. 

     Hi Hungry, I’m Dad. 

What makes something that is so un-funny at first glance become a viral hit on the Internet? The answer may lie in the ways dad jokes inadvertently follow and experiment with the structure of language, creating humor by tapping into our everyday capacity for communicating. 

Read the essay.

Claire Kowalec is studying History and Education and plans to teach Social Studies, History, and ESL in middle and high school contexts. 

I An Apple Ate:

BA- and BEI- Constructions in Mandarin Chinese and Second Language Acquisition 

By Pengliang He

My roommate is a Chinese American who grew up in Chinatown in New York City. Although he has been exposed to Chinese since he was a child, he only speaks limited Chinese and his mother tongue is English. In order to practice Chinese, he tries to speak Chinese in our apartment because I am a native Chinese speaker, but he often makes grammatical mistakes. One day, he told me:

     Wo yige pingguo chi le 

     I an apple ate. 

In Chinese, this is ungrammatical. You see, if a noun phrase (yige pingguo ‘an apple’) goes before the verb (chi ‘ate’), then the word BA (把) has to be inserted between subject and object. In this case, the sentence should be:

    Wo BA yige pingguo chi le. 

Like English, Chinese is pretty strict about word order. 

Read the essay.

Pengliang He majored in Computer Science with a minor in Linguistics.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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


Accepting applications to the Diversity Scholars Network

The National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID) invites all faculty (across all ranks, tracks, and appointment types), research staff, and postdoctoral fellows who conduct diversity research and scholarship to apply to the Diversity Scholars Network (DSN)!

The DSN is an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional community of scholars committed to advancing understandings of historical and contemporary social issues related to identity, difference, culture, representation, power, oppression, and inequality — as they occur and affect individuals, groups, communities, and institutions. You can read more about our Framework for Diversity Scholarship here

Click here to sign up for the DSN by November 19.

If you have any questions, please email Keenan Colquitt, PhD at
Department of Linguistics
University of Michigan
611 Tappan Street, 440 Lorch Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
phone: 734.764.0353     email:

© 2016 University of Michigan

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

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