Research Activities

Below, an account of research activities that involve collaboration between CRLCC members (internal and associate) from different departments at York or outside York and which best exemplify CRLCC’s capacity to fulfill its stated goal of “ fostering new collaborative interdisciplinary research that the centre members would not be able to carry out within their respective units”.


Please click here for additional information on the research activities carried by CRLCC members.

Ongoing Projects

 Bruce Connell- Current Research

I am actively engaged in several research projects, some collaborative, others solo. Collaborative projects involve work with colleagues in the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy and Nigeria. In addition, I currently have two undergraduate students working with me as research assistants on a volunteer basis.

Proto Niger-Congo Comparison and Reconstruction As part of this international collaborative project  organized by Prof. V. Vydrine (LLACAN, Paris) and Prof. K. Babaev (Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow) I work in two separate capacities. I work on the history the Ijoid language family of N-C, and part of the East Benue-Congo team, I am responsible for Cross River and Mambiloid languages. Current work in progress in this project includes a lexical classification of each of the three language groups using an innovative statistical phylogenetic methodology adopted from the biological sciences; this allows in particular for assessment of the degree of contact influence among neighbouring. I am analysis and reconstruction of the pronominal system of proto-Mambiloid, and lexical and phonological reconstruction of Proto-Ijoid. Long term publication plans include descriptive and data presentation chapters for each of these language groupings.


Bruce Connell  – Current Research
Documentation of Defaka [afn] and Nkoroo [nkx] This project was funded by the NSF Documentation of Endangered Languages Program and is now near completion.  The documentation of Nkoroo was deposited with the Endangered Language Archive (ELAR) at SOAS in June 2013; it includes segmental and tonal contrasts, grammatical paradigms, texts, audio and video material, and a lexical database/dictionary. A parallel documentation of Defaka is nearing completion and will be deposited in the coming months.

Bruce Connell  – Current Research

I am actively engaged in several research projects, some collaborative, others solo. Collaborative projects involve work with colleagues in the United Kingdom, the United States, France, Italy and Nigeria. In addition, I currently have two undergraduate students working with me as research assistants on a volunteer basis.

The results of a sociolinguistic survey have been analyzed with the cooperation of the Institute for Social Research at York. More detailed statistical analysis is being carried out in preparation for write up.


Bruce Connell – Current Research


Mambiloid Studies
In addition to contributions to the Niger-Congo initiative described above, I have a long-standing and ongoing research collaboration with Prof. David Zeitlyn of the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford (and also an associate of CRLC), involving work on Mambila and the Mambiloid languages of Cameroon and Nigeria. Two aspects of this collaboration currently in progress are:

     Mambila Dictionary
     Studies in Tone Space


Documentation of endangered languages and cultures in the Nigeria-Cameroon Borderland (on-going)

This project is funded by the British Arts and Humanities Research Council. It is carried out by:
David Zeitlyn (University of Kent, Associate member of CRLCC) and
Bruce Connell (English, Glendon and DLLL)
with three PhD students, Sascha Griffiths, Marieke Martin and Laura Robsonat the University of Kent and supervised jointly by Connell and Zeitlyn. The project focuses three endangered languages the Nigeria-Cameroon borderland, Somyev, Njanga, and Wawa. Connell and Zeitlyn have been concentrating on the Somyev, a small group of blacksmiths whose language and culture are on the verge of disappearing; Robson is preparing a descriptive grammar of Njanga and on documenting aspects of their culture and history, with Griffiths and Martin taking a similar approach to Wawa. For each language, the approach has been to explore the connection between language endangerment and culture change and language ecology. The project is nearing completion.

 

Researching new literacies in the multicultural classroom: developing a ludic approach to linguistic challenges in elementary education (2008-2012)
This project is funded via a SSHRC standard research grant.
It is directed by: Heather Lotherington. Jennifer Jenson (Faculty of education) and
Jim Cummins (OISE, CRLC Associate Member) are respectively co-investigator and collaborator on the project.
The project asks and answers: “How can we teach socially responsive, immersive literacies in the contemporary multicultural, multilingual classroom?” The study dynamically reconceptualizes literacy as agentive, culturally and linguistically embedded, digitally playful, and socially and academically empowering for children in elementary school. Our pedagogical interventions draw on new possibilities for the construction of knowledge in a digitized word: blogging, remixing, social networking, podcasting, videocasting, vlogging, gaming, each a site of active multiliterate production for a potentially global audience, through which Canadians now and in the future will participate in a global “knowledge economy”.


Researching New Literacies in the Multicultural Classroom: Developing a Ludic Approach to Linguistic Challenges in Elementary Education


Brazil-­Canada Knowledge Exchange: Developing Transnational Literacies

This interdisciplinary research partnership builds on an evolving network linking universities and local teachers groups in Brazil and Canada in collaborative research designed to foster the co-creation of new knowledge developing transnational literacy. Transnational literacy encompasses the growing list of literacies necessary for successful innovation in the global knowledge economy. They combine global consciousness with the development of skill sets or competencies suitable for full participation in the knowledge society, including multilingualism and cross-cultural understanding, the capacity to make informed choices and to create new ways of working in a rapidly changing world. These literacies encompass the digital, multimodal, informational, and critical literacies associated with both traditional reading and writing skills and the range of new literacies required by evolving information technologies and an increasingly integrated world.

We have selected transformational practices in the teaching of global English in universities and schools in Canada and Brazil as our key site of intervention. This is where English studies, cultural and globalization studies, applied linguistics and sociolinguistics, new media education and institutional restructuring in global higher education meet. Both Brazil and Canada face challenges in their educational systems that we believe can be addressed through sharing best practices and research expertise. Global English, bilingualism, and multilingualism play different roles in each country, and the challenges they pose for the next generation are different.  By working together, we hope to involve students, teachers and researchers in both countries in closer and more intensive trans-hemispheric exchange.

Project on Bonobo Human Discourse (BHD) and French Twins (FTP)

This project is carried out by Professor Benson (English Studies, Glendon) and a team of students who together form the Systemic Functional Linguistics Discourse Research Group.‘Language contact occurs when two or more languages are varieties interact. The study of language contact is called contact linguistics’. – Wikepedia.How broadly can we interpret ‘language contact’? The Bonobo-Human Discourse (BHD) and French Twins (FTP) projects offer a provocative perspective on this question by using the same methodology – the fluid organization of conversation – to investigate a particular kind of interspecies communication and a unique instance of human language development.BHD has access to a corpus of hundreds of hours of conversations between bonobos now located at the Great Ape Trust and human caregivers/researchers. Bonobo-bonobo communication is not the focus of study. Instead, we investigate the co-creation of dialogue between English-speaking humans and second-‘languaged’ bonobos. The bonobo colony, which now spans three generations, includes the well-known Kanzi and Panbanisha. The development of the bonobos’ capacity for language has ecological validity because dialogic interaction is the context in which human children’s language capacities develop. BHD is also collaborating with Automatic Speech Recognition experts at Carnegie-Mellon University on the function of bonobo vocalizations in conversation with humans.FTP also has a corpus of hundreds of hours of conversations, between the twins and their parents. In this case, the contact is not between different languages, but between different varieties, as negotiations among the adults and children create an ever-widening circle of meaning-making.Funded through the RAY program, the students used PRAAT and ELAN software to identify relevant discourse segments from a large video archive made available by Dr. Sue Savage-Rumbaugh of the Great Ape Trust of Iowa.Research Opportunities for Glendon Students with the Bonobo-Human Discourse (BHD) & French Twins Projects (FTP)

Le français à la mesure d’un continent Un Patrimoine en Partage

Ce grand projet de recherche concertée du Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada porte sur les communautés francophones d’Amérique du Nord sur plus de 400 ans. Il interroge le passé, le présent et l’avenir des communautés francophones et place l’individu et sa langue au cœur du changement des sociétés francophones. Ce projet a pour objectif d’évaluer l’impact réel des contacts linguistiques et culturels dans les communautés multiculturelles et d’examiner les conditions de maintien du français et des autres langues en situation de contact. Il alimente la réflexion sur les enjeux contemporains du Canada et de la Francophonie en matière de diversité culturelle et d’épanouissement des minorités linguistiques.Pour en savoir plus : Le français à la mesure d’un continent

”Linguascaping” Toronto

This project is about the agentive role that language plays in place-making — here referred to as linguascaping — of one of Canada’s most diverse cities, through the eyes, ears and minds of seven Torontonians, graduate students, and their course director, who have embarked on psychogeographic walking tours or flaneries.


Sociolinguistic research on Welland’s French speaking community (1974-1975 vs 2012-2014)

In 1974 and 1975, Raymond Mougeon and Pierre Hébrard conducted two surveys among the French-speaking minority of Welland, Ontario. The first survey focused on the social and economic institutions controlled by the community (e.g., the local French-medium schools, the Francophone Catholic parish) and those which Francophones shared with Welland’s other linguistic communities (e.g., the municipal library, the municipal council). The survey collected data on the linguistic policies of such institutions and on the patterns of language use of Francophones within them. The second survey intended to examine sociolinguistic variation in the local spoken French. It was based on a corpus collected via one on one semi-directed interviews among a cross-sectional of 70 community members.
As of 2012, two surveys similar to the ones mentioned above are underway in the French-speaking community of Welland. These new surveys will bring to light the many changes that have taken place within the community over the last 38 years. The surveys are conducted under the supervision of  Raymond Mougeon in collaboration with Yves Frenette. They are part of a Major Collaborative Research Initiative: Le français à la mesure d’un continent, funded by the SSHRC (2011-2018) and carried out by a multidisciplinary team of twelve researchers from Canada, the US and France.


The Nature of Dialect: Exploring Dialect Relationships with an Expanded Online Dialect Atlas.

Exploring Dialect Relationships with an Expanded Online Dialect Atlas. SSHRCC insight Grant, 2012-2015; $128,605.
Sheila Embleton (DLLL), Dorin Uritescu (Glendon), Eric S. Wheeler (DLLL)

“The Nature of Dialect: Exploring Dialect Relationships with an Expanded Online Dialect Atlas” is a four-year project, funded by SSHRCC,  to discover more about the nature of dialects using the Romanian Online Dialect Atlas (RODA; see http://pi.library.yorku.ca/dspace/handle/10315/2803), an innovative, online system for accessing information about dialects, based on an extensive language atlas of the Crisana region in North-West Romania elaborated by Dorin Uritescu et al. (for vol. III, see http://www.inst-puscariu.ro/biblioteca%20digitala%20NALR_Crisana.html).

In this project, we digitize additional data from vol. III-IV of the language atlas and data of a type not yet digitized, expand the technical functions of the system to permit more flexible searching, and use the system to examine important questions about the nature of dialects, dialect variation, and language change such as:

  • what distinguishes one dialect from another?
  • why are the boundaries sometimes not distinct?
  • what characterizes the most important features that distinguish dialect areas?
  • what is the relationship between language continua and distinct dialect structures?

Additionally, we are adapting our digitized interpretive data to the publicly available Gabmap system (an excellent online system at the University of Groningen for analyzing linguistic data sets using different approaches: see www.gabmap.nl). We will use their existing routines for “discrete” and “fuzzy clustering (maps and dendrograms)” and for MDS, to compare with our techniques as to the significance of the results for understanding language variation.


A webography illustrating Language Contact

Project: A webography Illustrating Language Contact (graduate students’ editorial initiative)

The project consists in creating a multimedia database on the theme of Language Contact. The data collected on the internet and classified by themes is the base for lead group discussions on topics unveiled by the webography.

The webography provides short descriptions of the mini-clips (video and audio) classified under the following sub-themes:

Language diversity
Bilingualism
Bilingual education
Linguistic variation
Language change
Language domination
Politics and language contact
Languages, dialects, pidgins and creoles
Language and Immigration
Language endangerment

 


Diversity in language contact

Group discussions illustrating diversity in language contact (graduate students’ editorial initiative)The project consists in creating a concrete illustration of what is language contact means through the representations of speakers. It provides lead group discussions where the participants are asked to react to documents, and to questions prepared by the moderator in order to help the group reflection progress. These discussions will be filmed and recorded to produce, as a final product, mini clips and short audio recordings.
Enseignement du français et bilinguisme au Canada
Future of endangered languages

Research on Sociolinguistic Variation in the Spoken French of Glendon’s Students Formerly Enrolled in Immersion or Core French Program: Do University Studies Make a Difference?

The Romanian Online Dialect Atlas (RODA)

The Romanian Online Dialect Atlas is an experimental online presentation of dialect information about Romanian.

You can read about the goals of the project, the people who run it, and the project’s sponsors under “Project”.

As working papers, bibliographies and published papers are prepared, we list them under “Papers”. Where feasible, we also make copies of the papers available.

For more information on the Romanian Online Dialect Atlas (RODA) please click here: http://www.yorku.ca/embleton/research/romanian/


The New Romaniona Linguistic Atlas, Crisana, Vol IV

Principal Investigator and Coordinator: Dorin Uritescu, York University, Glendon College
Co-Investigators and Collaborators: Ionel Stan, Timisoara, and Gabriela Violeta Adam, Veronica Ana Vlasin (‘Sextil Puscariu’ Linguistics and Literary History Institute of the Romanian Academy in Cluj-Napoca, Romania), Lacramioara Oprea, TorontoPublications :Uritescu, D. Forthcoming. “Graiul din Tara Oasului în perspective informatica” / The Dialect of Oas in a Computational Approach/. To appear in Festschrift I. Coteanu, Bucuresti: Editura Academiei.Uritescu, D. 2013. “Le conditionnement morphologique dans le changement phonologique et l’évolution historique du roumain populaire”. In Casanova Herrero, Emili / Calvo Rigual, Cesáreo (eds.), Actes del 26é Congrés de Lingüística i Filologia Romàniques,  Berlin: W. de Gruyter, vol. VIII, pp. 813-824.Participation aux colloques : Uritescu, D. “Linguitic variation in North-Western Daco-Romanian and the historical evolution of Romanian”. 19th Biennial Conference on Balkan and South Slavic Linguistics, Literature and Folklore, The University of Chicago, April 25-27, 2014.II. The nature of dialect: Exploring dialect relationships with an expanded online dialect atlas
Investigators (in alphabetical order): Sheila Embleton, Dorin Uritescu and Eric Wheeler, York University

Publications : 

Embleton, Sheila, Dorin Uritescu, and Eric Wheeler. 2013a. “Continuum et fragmentation géolinguistique d’après l’Atlas linguistique de la Crişana en ligne”. In Casanova Herrero, Emili / Calvo Rigual, Cesáreo (eds.), Actes del 26é Congrés de Lingüística i Filologia Romàniques,  Berlin: W. de Gruyter, vol. VI, pp. 116-126.

Embleton, Sheila, Dorin Uritescu, and Eric Wheeler. 2013b. “Defining Dialect Regions with Interpretations. Advancing the Multidimensional Scaling Approach”. In Literary and Linguistic Computing 28(1), pp. 13-22. (Special Issue ‘Dialectometry’, ed. by John Nerbonne & William A. Kretzschmar Jr;
http://llc.oxfordjournals.org/) 

Participation aux colloques : 

Embleton, Sheila, Dorin Uritescu, Eric Wheeler, “The Advantages of Quantitative Studies for Dialectology”, The International Quantitative Linguistics Conference, May 29-June 1st 2014, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic.

Embleton, Sheila, Dorin Uritescu, Eric Wheeler, “A comparison of Three Digital Systems for Dialect Geography”, International Conference on Methods in Dialectology 15, University of Groningen, The Netherlands, August 11-15 2014.


Recherches sur les relations entre dialectes à partir d’un atlas linguistique en ligne élargi
Sheila Embleton (DLLL), Dorin Uritescu (Glendon), Eric S. Wheeler (DLLL)

 “La nature du dialecte…” est un projet de recherche subventionné par CRSH pendant une période de quatre ans qui se propose de découvrir des aspects nouveaux concernant la nature des dialectes et de la variation dialectale. Il s’appuie sur les données de l’Atlas linguistique roumain en ligne (RODA ; see http://pi.library.yorku.ca/dspace/handle/10315/2803), qui représente  à son tour un système innovateur d’accès en ligne aux informations dialectales basé sur un riche atlas linguistique de la Crisana, dans le nord-ouest de la Roumanie, élaboré par Dorin Uritescu et alii    (pour vol. III, voir http://www.inst-puscariu.ro/biblioteca%20digitala%20NALR_Crisana.html).

Dans le cadre de ce projet, nous numérisons des données incluses dans les volumes III et IV de l’atlas linguistique de la Crisana, ainsi que des données d’un type nouveau (morphologique et syntaxique), nous élargissons les fonctions techniques du système pour permettre des recherches plus flexibles, et utilisons ce système pour examiner des aspects importants concernant la nature des dialectes, de la variation et du changement linguistique, afin de pouvoir répondre à des questions telles que:

  • qu’est-ce qui distingue un dialecte d’un autre?
  • pourquoi les frontières entre les dialectes sont-elles parfois floues?
  • qu’est-ce qui caractérise les traits les plus importants pour la distinction des aires dialectales?
  • quelle est la relation entre le continuum linguistique et la fragmentation dialectale?

En outre, nous adaptons nos données interprétatives numérisées au système Gabmap (un excellent système en ligne proposé par l’Université de Groningen pour l’analyse des données linguistiques en utilisant différentes approches : voir  www.gabmap.nl). Nous utiliserons les approches que les auteurs proposent pour « la classification floue et discrète (cartes et dendrogrammes) » et pour l’analyse par graduation multidimensionnelle (MDS), et les comparerons avec nos techniques en ce qui concerne la signification des résultats pour la compréhension de la variation linguistique.

Enfin, nous nous intéressons à l’extension de notre système à d’autres ensembles de données dialectales. Présentement, nous collaborons avec des collègues de Nouvelle-Zélande et de Chine sur l’extension de notre système aux données dialectales chinoises extrêmement riches publiées dans l’Atlas linguistique de la Chine. Le résultat de cette application constituera un système avec de nouvelles fonctions et données.

Activities of the Research Group on Translation and Transcultural Contact

Research Group on Translation and Transcultural Contact

The Research Group on Translation and Transcultural Contact is a space of collective inquiry into language and translation as they pertain to larger questions of culture. We investigate translation at the crossings and intersections between traditions, languages, and fields of knowledge and discourse. We understand translation as a complex process of negotiation of meanings, knowledges, and subjectivities ingrained in the relationships between subjects and communities and that, as such, constitutes a site to understand and experience contact in contemporary society.

The group was originally created by Daniel Simeoni. Simeoni, a translation scholar particularly committed to thinking critically about Translation Studies as a field in formation and in flux, framed this reflection within a larger critique about the boundaries among disciplines. The group is currently based in Toronto, at Glendon College (York University), within the Center for Research on Language Contact (CRLC).

The members of the RGTTC include both regular and adjunct faculty from the MA program in Translation Studies and students doing graduate work in Translation Studies at York University. Researchers from across Canada, as well as academics from other countries who are interested in the relationship between translation and culture, are also members of the group.

The Research Group on Translation and Transcultural Contact (RGTTC) is presently directed by María- Constanza Guzmán. It includes: Marie-Christine AubinAndrew Clifford, María- Constanza Guzmán, Lise Hebert, Theresa Hyun, Susan Ingram, Aurelia Klimkiewicz, Ian Martin and Candace Séguinot,all internal members of CRLC and Salah Basalamah, Hélène Buzelin, Adrian Serban and Sherry Simon, all Associate Members of CRLC. Thanks to CFI funding, RGTTC developed a website and the infrastructure for an online journal. The RGTTC runs a series of lectures which are part of the general CRLC lecture program and which reflect the specialized interests of the group. Through its research activities, the RGTTC provides an interdisciplinary forum for both faculty and student researchers in the area of translation and culture both within York and between York and other institutions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







Documentation of Endangered Languages and Cultures in the Nigeria-Cameroon Borderland