Barbara Gordon Lecture Series

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.

2020 Lecture - Postponed

Almeida Jacqueline Toribio, professor of Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin, will synthesize her research on the interrelatedness of linguistic behaviors and self- and other-ascribed racial/ethnic/national identity among Dominicans in national and diasporic settings. 

The presentation aims to elucidate the linguistic practices of Dominicans in local and immigrant contexts as they navigate the social classifications that circulate in local ecologies, embracing or eschewing fixed categories, among these, the binaries of European vs. African, Spanish-speaker vs. Creole/English-speaker, black vs. white, and Dominican/American vs. Dominican-/African-American.

Past Lectures

  • 2019 Lecture

    March 7: Barbara Gordon Memorial Lecture 

    Lisa Green, University of Massachusetts Amherst: "Over Fifty Years of Research on African American English: What Happened to the Children"

    Download the 2019 flyer

  • 2018 Lecture

    March 8: Barbara Gordon Memorial Lecture

    Laurence B. Leonard, Purdue University: "Word Learning and Retention in Typically Developing Preschoolers and Children with Language Impairments"

    March 9: Linguistics Festival and Expert Panel on Language Development and Disorders in Bilingual Children

    Laurence B. Leonard, Purdue University: "The Input as a Source of Grammatical Inconsistency in Children with Specific Language Impairment"

    Lisa M. Bedore, University of Texas at Austin: "Dual Language Profiles of Spanish-English Bilinguals with and without Language Impairment"

    Barbara Conboy, University of Redlands: "Building a Bilingual Brain: Some Insights from Neuroscientific Methods with Infants and Toddlers"

    Download the 2018 flyer

  • 2017 Lecture

    Shobhana Chelliah Professor, Linguistics Program University of North Texas
    What Endangered Languages Teach Us About Human Cognition
    Thursday, Feb. 23, 7:00 p.m., CBC 232-235

  • 2016 Lecture

    In 2015, the events surrounding the Barbara Gordon Memorial Lecture were expanded, into "Miami FLing 2016," combining FLYM 3 and the Linguistics Matters Festival.

    Miami FLing 2016 program.

    In 2016, Dr. Lydia White, McGill University, presented "How Applied Should Linguistics Be?"

    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.

  • 2015 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.

    Dr. Silvina Montrul, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, presented "Native Speakers, Interrupted"

    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.

    Download 2015 Lecture Flyer

  • 2014 Lecture

    Speakers Included:

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

    Linguistics Festival 2014

  • 2013 Lecture

    In 2013, Dr. Luna Filipović, University of East Anglia, UK, presented "Language in the Witness Stand: Forensic Linguistic Solutions for Cross-Linguistic Problems in Witness Interviews"

    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.

    Flyer for 2013 Linguistics Matters Mini-Festival