The LSA is delighted to announce the winners of five CEDL Travel Grants to attend the upcoming 2022 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The CEDL travel grants are supported by the Dennis R. and Carol Guagliardo Preston Fund for Diversity in Linguistics.

These Travel Grants, administered by the LSA's Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics (CEDL), are intended to increase the participation of underrepresented ethnoracial minorities in the LSA. Each grant (maximum $1000) will assist students in traveling to the Annual Meeting.

The winners for 2022 are:

  • Benardo Relampagos (Portland State University)
  • Mskwaankwad Rice (University of Minnesota)
  • Tamaya Levy (Northeastern Illinois University)
  • Mohammed Jamil Al-Ariqy (University of Utah)
  • Zachary Ty Gill (University of Kentucky)

Awardees were asked to provide a brief personal statement on their research interest in linguistics and its contributions to society, as well as what they expect to gain from the 2022 Annual Meeting. Read their responses below:

Benardo Relampagos (Portland State University)

Peter Teo and his article Racism in the News: A Critical Discourse Analysis of News Reporting in Two Australian Newspapers (2000), exemplified the application of linguistic frameworks to address explicit and implicit racism against Asians in Australian news media. As a Filipino/Taiwanese American, Teo’s use of critical linguistic frameworks to challenge racism has influenced my research interests to unpack and shift the mainstream narratives that have objectified and endangered Asian Americans.

I am utilizing critical discourse analysis frameworks with the Corona Virus Corpus of American news media (https://www.english-corpora.org/corona/) to find and analyze collocations of explicit and implicit racism regarding violence against Asian Americans in news-media-discourse. Discriminating language use, especially anti-Asian rhetoric also relates to my interests of the critical analysis of hegemony over marginalized/stigmatized language variation and practices. Currently I am working with a faculty led project at Portland State University (PSU) to describe the languages and linguistic varieties at PSU with later goals of creating educational workshops to demystify language myths about language variation; promote greater intercultural competence and understanding in the university and classroom context; and explicitly include language variation in PSU’s Global Equity and Diversity policy.

If chosen, I will contribute to LSA by helping identify unfair or discriminatory practices with discouraging effects on ethnic minority members and how such practices might be rectified. I can provide both my firsthand lived experiences with racism and discrimination and my research and academic experiences with language advocacy and addressing racial disparities in mainstream language practices. Being funded to attend LSA and CEDL meetings will help buildthe skills and experiences to progress my goals of spreading awareness of hegemonic influence on marginalized language practices; and the inclusion of language varieties as a focal aspect of diversity practices; and spread awareness and unpack the mainstream narratives that affect marginalized communities.

Mskwaankwad Rice (University of Minnesota)

I am an L2 speaker/learner of my endangered heritage language of Ojibwe and am studying linguistics for its import in supporting Indigenous language reclamation. One area I focus upon is the semantics of Ojibwe verbal order and mood, although all aspects of linguistics are of interest for their practicality in supporting reclamation. Currently I am involved in work addressing the legacy of racism in Algonquianist linguistics and in the larger field of Linguistics itself.

In my short time as a student of Linguistics, I have encountered challenges that are common to the experiences of Indigenous peoples in academia and to those who study Linguistics specifically. These challenges arise from the fact that Indigenous peoples have been and remain excluded from academic spaces. This has created an unwelcoming environment for Indigenous peoples and the acknowledgement of this situation and steps towards reconciling it are necessary to carry out the mission of the LSA’s Committee on Ethnic Diversity in Linguistics.

My presentation at the LSA 2022 Annual Meeting is a discussion of the problematic relationship that Linguistics as a discipline has with Indigenous peoples and presents a case study of linguistics and the Ojibwe people and language.  Linguistic theory has been employed for example in justifying acts of genocide committed upon Native Americans, and to the present the discipline maintains an exploitative position of power over Indigenous peoples for its own gain. Linguistics itself has not addressed its history nor its present complicity in upholding white supremacist power structures though recent discussion spurred by Charity Hudley et al (2018) highlights the need for addressing the legacy of racism in Linguistics, and this has resulted in the LSA statement on race.  My talk offers recommendations to the individual linguist, editors, and institutions alike for actions to be taken to dismantle barriers to ethnoracial diversity in the discipline. 

Tamaya Levy (Northeastern Illinois University)

My commitment to social and sociolinguistic justice issues are evident in my dedication to recognize how curricula and schools are sources of disparities for students. I’d like to work in educational policy to influence decisions about language varieties other than ‘Standard English’ outside of a ‘deficit’ model. I want to promote the comprehension of linguistic variation, advance the field of raciolinguistics and highlight how collaboration across fields will enhance our competencies. Together we can push forth the efforts towards prioritizing broader policy issues relating to education and linguistic advocacy work. Both of which would impact teaching methods and students’ school experiences.

I want students to feel welcomed, valued, and supported in the classroom and the community. Language diversity should be seen as an asset, and ill-conceived policies, which are somewhat indicative of current language attitudes, have harmful political implications. I personally have witnessed the forced assimilation and cultural disinheritance in students when the curriculum does not accommodate their identities. Outside of education, this work will have positive effects in the courtroom and the community.

I hope to bridge first-gen students and the CEDL as a member of the First Gen Access & Equity subcommittee (FGAES). First-generation students struggle with accessing spaces because of social and cultural capital, distinct in part from the normative one. First-gen linguists must take the lead in linguistic analysis and policies within their respective linguistic, cultural, or heritage groups, functioning as bridges thanks to our intersectionality.

Mohammed Jamil Al-Ariqy (University of Utah)

I am a phonologist with a focus on Optimality Theory and other related theories. My research interest lies in the morpho-phonology of Ta’izzi Yemeni Arabic. Much of the research on Arabic phonology has been descriptively done by old Arab and non-Arab grammarians between the 8th and 12th century. Since then, there hasn’t been enough and extensive work on the phonology of Arabic and its modern dialects, especially its morpho-phonological interface, especially by native speakers of these dialects. So, much still can be done in the linguistics of Arabic dialects today in the light of recent developments in linguistic theory. The significance of the work I do as a phonologist is that it enriches the body of linguistic literature with the data and analyses of the linguistic variation between the many dialects of Arabic today. Arabic dialectology needs Arab and non-Arab linguists.

My research brings attention to a neglected dialect of Arabic, and the lack of support for this research from the Yemeni government makes it imperative that I find other sources of funding such as the CEDL travel grant for example. Going to the LSA 96th annual meeting is a chance for me to present my work to many other linguists, especially those interested in Semitic linguistics and draw attention to neglected Yemeni dialects which have them a lot of remnants from the dead South Arabian language. As a presenter, I will be able to share my analyses of some data from my dialect; Ta’izzi Yemeni Arabic. I will also be able to build a network with other linguists who share similar research interest in phonology of Arabic dialects. I am also applying for the CEDL Travel Grant because I think that Yemeni researchers have not had enough a chance to be part of the research society in the USA due to many reasons; such as the civil war in Yemen which makes it hard for them to get anywhere abroad besides the travel ban that had been imposed by the previous government which made it even harder for them to come to the USA, in particular, and be involved in the recent research on linguistics and other fields. Yemeni linguists are underrepresented in the US and since the CEDL mission is to diversify the linguistic society in the US, I am sure I qualify to get this grant and open a channel for future Yemeni linguists into such a society.

I am presenting a paper in the LSA. My project is on the variation in the realization of the glottal stop phoneme in Classical Arabic, which is prevalent in Standard Arabic and Arabic dialects too. For now, my analysis is using data from Classical Arabic with an ongoing work on Yemeni dialects in this respect. The paper analyzes optional [ʔ] deletion in Classical Arabic. This deletion is typically accompanied by compensatory lengthening and can be blocked when this lengthening is not possible, and when deletion would create homophony. This paper assesses the ability of various OT-based theories of optionality to account for [ʔ] deletion

Zachary Ty Gill (University of Kentucky)

Growing up French in Mississippi, I realized that my community was misunderstood. For us, being French is a way to distinguish ourselves from the Anglophones. A Creole is a person of mixed French (sometimes Spanish), Indigenous and African ancestry. My research lies in the sociohistorical development of the French identity, how it has changed overtime, and how Creoles have accommodated Louisiana Creole to either Cajun French or English. My current research is based in folk linguistics; I have adapted an anthropological methodology in which participants pile-sort communities based on where they think people speak differently, removing the spatial limitations of the draw-a-map task. I have found that the perception of French-accented English is stigmatized as the speech of “inbreds” and “uneducated.”  I find that it is important to have insiders working with the community. I was shocked to learn that many of the scholars that study the region are not Creole themselves. Only one study has been conducted on my family’s language, although few speakers speak it today. In the future, I am interested in documenting the English of French Mississippi, as well as the Pascagoula Indian Tribe, which I am affiliated with. I also plan to extend my perceptual dialectology investigations to the rest of the state to study the label ‘Coast Trash.’ As many do not have the opportunity to leave the community for an education, I want to be the person that helps reduce stigmatization. At the LSA, I hope to network with other scholars in my field. In the future, I would like to serve on a committee and advocate for ethnoracical representation in all fields of linguistics. Due to current financial reasons, I would greatly benefit from the travel grant. I am already volunteering to help offset costs and network. I would use the grant for travel, lodging and food, so my first LSA experience will be memorable and not a financial burden.