Barbara Gordon Memorial Lecture Series

Barbara Gordon Memorial Lecture Series


MAR. 8, 6:30 p.m. CBC 232-235: Barbara Gordon Memorial Lecture

MAR. 9, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. CBC 232-235: Linguistics Festival and Expert Panel on Language Development and Disorders in Bilingual Children

Barbara Gordon Events Details

Each year, the Linguistics Program and the Barbara Gordon Memorial Endowment bring a major figure in the discipline to campus for a public lecture and a special workshop for linguistics faculty and graduate students. These events are made possible through the generosity of former Florida State Senator Jack Gordon. Past Barbara Gordon lecturers have included Derek Bickerton, Melissa Bowerman, Susanna Cumming, Susan Curtiss, Michel DeGraff, Charles Ferguson, Joshua Fishman, Susan Gass, Ian Hancock, Mark Johnson, Philip Lieberman, Suzanne Romaine, Susan Steele, Loreto Todd, Peter Trudgill, and Salikoko S. Mufwene.

Bilingualism, Sociolinguistics, and Crosslinguistic Differences are frequent topics.

Last year, our speaker was:

Shobhana Chelliah Professor, Linguistics Program University of North Texas


Thursday, Feb. 23, 7:00 p.m., CBC 232-235

Image: 2017.jpg

Image: shobfiusmall.jpg

Image: shobtalksmall.jpg

Image: audiencesmall.jpg

Image: audienceqsmall.jpg

Image: shobfacultysmall.jpg

Previous Events

Last year, the events surrounding the Barbara Gordon Memorial Lecture were expanded, into "Miami FLing 2016," combining FLYM 3 and the Linguistics Matters Festival.

Information and Abstracts can be found here:

Photos from the event can be found here:

2016 Lecture

In 2016, Dr. Lydia White, McGill University, presented



Generative second language (L2) acquisition research addresses the nature of interlanguage competence, examining the roles of Universal Grammar (UG) and the mother tongue in shaping the acquisition, representation and use of second or foreign languages. However, this does not entail that results of such research are directly relevant for the language classroom. Nevertheless, there has been a recent revival of discussion about the possible applications of linguistic theory and L2 research to language pedagogy. In this paper, I will present an overview of research, past and present, which explores potential insights for the language classroom. Pedagogical implications are considered, including the advantages offered by sophisticated linguistic descriptions, as well as how learnability considerations can highlight problem areas for second language learners. I will offer suggestions, based on this research, for language teaching, textbook descriptions of grammar, and syllabus design.

Image: white.jpg

Dr. Lydia White

Image: smalleraudience.jpg

Q & A after B. Gordon Lecture

In 2015, as in the previous two years, we combined the annual Barbara Gordon Memorial Lecture, on Thursday, Feb. 12, with an all-day Linguistics Festival, on Friday, Feb. 13.

INFORMATION, 2015 Barbara Gordon Lecture and Linguistics Festival

Map and Parking

2015 Lecture

In 2015, Dr. Silvina Montrul, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, presented



Defined by their transmission across a generation, heritage languages are spoken by the bilingual children of immigrant parents. In this talk, I challenge widely held ideas about native language proficiency. I argue that native language proficiency can be shaped by the environment, and this is particularly true for U.S. bilinguals. The language mastery of heritage speakers by early adulthood is often significantly different from that of both their immigrant parents and native speakers in the home country. Heritage speakers, like all speakers, are born with the ability to learn one or more languages fully and indeed retain native ability in selected grammatical areas due to their early exposure to the language. They are native speakers because they are exposed to their home language from birth. However, insufficient use of the language during late childhood and adolescence can profoundly affect specific aspects of their command of grammar, interrupting the full development of the language and turning their native language into a second language.

Image: silvina-montrul.jpg

Dr. Silvina Montrul

Image: dean.jpg

Dean Bill Anderson, CAS, welcoming everyone

Image: sutton.jpg

Dr. James Sutton, Chair, English Department, introducing the event

Image: speakers-1.jpg

Speakers at the 2015 Linguistics Festival

Further Photos: See Other Activities and Events pages



2014 Barbara Gordon Memorial Speaker:

Image: kempsmaller.jpg

Dr. Kemp Williams

Image: kemptomismaller.jpg

Dr. Williams and Dr. Tometro Hopkins (Director of Linguistics Program)

Image: speakers.jpg

Speakers at the Linguistics Festival

Image: yaobinsmaller.jpg

Our Timekeeper

Image: grads.jpg

Linguistics Graduate Student Volunteers


2013 Lecture

In 2013, Dr. Luna Filipović, University of East Anglia, UK, presented



The focus of this talk is the analysis of witness interviews in multilingual environments and the effects of language differences that may affect the ways in which information is obtained, translated and understood. The data come from original transcripts of police interviews obtained in the state of California in which witnesses speak Spanish and the interviews are translated into English by certified interpreters. I will show how differences in the habitual “packaging” of information between two languages may cause severe problems in understanding what had happened and potentially lead to serious further misunderstandings, such as whether something was done on purpose or not, which can make an enormous difference to the outcome of a case.

Alt text

Title Slide of Dr. Luna Filipović's presentation

Alt text

Dr. Filipović


Dr. Filipović with Dr. Hopkins and Dr. Yavas.


Dean Newman, CAS, and Dr. Jamie Sutton, Chair, English Department, at Ceremonies


In 2013, we also inaugurated the first FIU Linguistics Festival, in which the Barbara Gordon speaker and members of the Linguistics Faculty participated in a day-long series of talks. We continued this tradition in 2014, bringing in speakers from outside FIU as well. Both years the event was sponsored in part by the Linguistics Graduate Student Association, the Linguistics Program, and the English Department.

Flyer for 2013 Linguistics Matters Mini-Festival

Linguistics Festival 2014