Alumnus Returns for a Series of Lectures

Sigma Delta Pi will host Grant Berry (’10) for a series of lectures April 4-7.

Making Use of Literature in Studying Language Change
April 4
7 p.m.  
Baldwin Hall 314
Berry will examine how language has changed over the last millennium. He will also present research with colleagues from Penn State on the evolution of early Spanish third-singular subject pronoun expression (él tiene vs. ø tiene ‘he has’), using literary texts from the 13th-16th centuries.

Phonetic Alignment and Style Shifting in English as a Lingua Franca

April 5
6 p.m.
Baldwin Hall 156
When two language learners converse in a lingua franca, their phonetic production is often affected by transfer of phonological categories from their native languages; this results in distinct, predictable difficulties in pronunciation for each speaker. Berry and a colleague at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics ask whether the categories transferred from the native language of each conversant can be aligned, and examine alignment in real time rather than post hoc.

How the Truman Experience Prepared Me For Grad School
April 6
7 p.m.
Student Union Building Alumni Room 2105
Success as a graduate student and scholar requires exquisite time management, high academic drive, broad intellectual curiosity, and strong critical thinking and writing skills. Berry will describe how these experiences fostered critical skills for success as he applied for graduate programs, began advanced studies, and applied for competitive grants and fellowships as a graduate student. Berry will also offer suggestions to current undergraduates for maximizing their Truman experience and their chances of success in graduate school in the liberal arts.

When Habla is Not the same as Está Hablando: Grammaticalization of the Spanish Progressive
April 7
7 p.m.
Baldwin Hall 156
Unlike present-day English, the Spanish simple present tense can be used to describe events that are ongoing at the moment of discourse (e.g., ¿Qué haces? –Hablo por teléfono. ‘What are you doing? –I’m talking on the phone’). However, the simple present tense also alternates with the Spanish progressive tense, which is constructed by a copular verb estar ‘to be’ and a gerund ending in –ndo (e.g., Estoy hablando por teléfono ‘I’m talking on the phone’). Berry describes the history of the construction and notes changes to its linguistic conditioning.

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