Fall 2006

“Why Performative Verbs are not Performative but ‘Execution-Supporting’: A Parenthetical Analysis of Explicit Performative Utterances” Dr. Verena M. Mayer. Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University of Frankfurt, Germany. September 13, 2006

“In this talk I will show that the application of an analysis of parenthetical paraphrases of explicit performatives (for example, Tomorrow, I promise you this, I will free Willy.) to the proper subordination displaying Austinian explicit performatives (for example, I promise you that I will free Willy tomorrow) accounts for both the truth-conditional contribution of the performative clause and the performance of the speech act expressed by the performative verb. Moreover, according to the parenthetical analysis, performative verbs are surprisingly not performative at all, but rather, ‘execution-supporting’. Explicit performatives are used in contexts whose information about the discourse (e.g. the information about sentence mood, preparatory- and success conditions of the speech act types) does not suffice to determine the illocutionary force of their corresponding implicit speech act (for example, Tomorrow I will free Willy ) Instead of being purely performative, using an explicit performative allows the speaker to provide the additional information about the actual illocutionary force and hence about which particular speech act is intended.

“Time and Space Orientation in the Narrative of Israeli and Palestinian Women Peace Activists” Dr. Camelia Suleiman. Florida International University. October 25, 2006

This talk discusses the time and space orientation of Palestinian and Israeli women peace activists in the construction of their narratives and how they relate to one another. The linguistic strategies used by these women in their narratives are as follows:

a) the switching between the historic present and the preterite with its related tenses;

b) the intersection of the historic (calendar) and the biological (personal) events;

c) the use of direct speech as a dramaturgical effect;

d) the ties between activisim and family relationships, a feature found in the narrative of Moroccan women immigrants to Britain;

e) the explicitly defined Israeli boundary as seen by the Israeli women and the undefined Palestinian boundary as seen by the Palestinian women.

The analytical analysis draws on William Labov’s writings on narrative and on the concepts of ‘framing’ and ‘perspective’. Both framing and perspective are dialogic in nature. Framing addresses the Goffmanian question of ‘what is going on?’ at any moment of interaction; perspective assumes that every utterance has a point of view.

“On the Origins of Language: A Look from the Aphasia Perspective” Dr. Alfredo Ardila, Florida International University. November 15, 2006

The lecture argues that aphasia can contribute to the understanding of human language evolution. Language can be disturbed as a lexical/semantic system (Wernicke-type aphasia) and as a grammatical system (Broca-type aphasia). Both language systems not only depend upon different brain areas (temporal and frontal) but also upon different types of learnings (declarative and procedural) supported by different neuroanatomical circuitries. Language initially appears as a lexical/semantic system, whereas grammar is correlated with the ability to represent and use actions, depending not only on the Broca’s area but also on the ability to rapidly sequence articulatory movements (speech praxis). This ability seemingly depends on a particular autosomal-dominant gene, FOXP2, located in Chromosome 7. The last two mutations in this chromosome occurred between 10,000 and 100,000 years ago, and these mutations were critical for the development of contemporary human speech. Language as a lexical/semantic system may have appeared long before language as a syntactic system and may have existed in other hominids. Language as a grammatical system may have appeared relatively recently and seems to be specific to Homo Sapiens.

Spring 2006

“NooJ: a Tool for Linguists” by Max Silberztein/ Université de Franche Comté in Besançon, France

NooJ is a linguistic development environment used to formalize natural languages at the orthographical, morphological, lexical and syntactic levels. Linguists can build large coverage dictionaries (that process inflectional and derivational morphology), as well as morphological or syntactic "local grammars", which are reusable Finite State Transducers organized in libraries.

"Exploring text and context: Stratification and other parameters in Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL)" by J.L. Meurer /Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC) – Brazil

Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) is both a theory and a method. In its broadest perspective, SFL intends to explain how people use language and how language is structured for use (Eggins, 2004). In this talk an overview of the main theoretical parameters in SFL will be given and how they apply to textual and contextual analysis will be discussed.

“Text normalization in a text-to-speech system” by Phil Gleason/ IBM’s text to speech development team.

“Text normalization is the translation of conventional written signs into speakable words. The presentation will be a short introduction into the types of problems that exist in the conversion of text into speech.”