Papers on minority language dialects presented at dialectology conference

(August 2008) SIL scholars are presenting several papers at a dialectology conference in Leeds, England, 4–8 August. Geolinguistics is the theme of the Thirteenth International Conference on Methods in Dialectology, which is hosted jointly by the University of Leeds and the University of Sheffield.

Geolinguistics is addressed in papers by keynote speakers William Labov (University of Pennsylvania) and David Britain (University of Essex). Other keynote speakers are Anthony Lodge (University of St. Andrews) and Sali Tagliamonte (University of Toronto). Papers are on geolinguistics and other specializations within dialectology, including regional, historical and social variations.

While most dialectologists focus on English or a few other major world languages, SIL researchers tend to study minority languages. An important component of language development—a distinctive focus of SIL—is an understanding of minority language dialects.

Papers presented by SIL personnel

  • Leoni Bouwer, International Language Assessment Consultant: "The meaning of understanding and intelligibility in Madagascar"
  • Ken Decker, International Language Assessment Coordinator" "Rapid appraisal of language variation"
  • Angela Kluge, International Language Assessment Consultant: "Measuring linguistic relations between the Gbe language varieties: A synchronic typological approach to the analysis of grammatical features"
  • Angela Kluge: "RTT retelling method: An alternative approach to interdialectal comprehension testing"
  • Angela Kluge: "Using multi-faceted linguistic analysis to inform focused in-depth sociolinguistic research: The Gbe language continuum of West Africa"
  • Cathryn Yang and Andy Castro: "Representing tone in Levenshtein distance"

Methods is a series of dialectology conferences that have taken place every three years since 1972—at venues generally alternating between Europe and Canada. What began as a forum for the discussion of methods in dialect research has steadily expanded in scope to include the entire range of regional, historical and social language variation.

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