Linguistics Program adds festival to annual lecture event

The Linguistics Program in the Department of English will host the annual “Barbara Gordon Memorial Lecture” and “Festival – Linguistics Matters” Feb. 21—22.

filipovicLuna Filipovic, senior lecturer in the School of Language and Communication Studies in the University of Anglia in U.K., will deliver this year’s Barbara Gordon Memorial Lecture at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 21 in the Graham Center Faculty Club. She will give a talk titled “Language In The Witness Stand: Forensic Linguistic Solutions For Cross-Linguistic Problems In Witness Interviews.” Filipovic will show how the effects of language differences affect the ways in which information is obtained, translated and understood, which can make an enormous difference in the outcome of a case.

“Dr. Filipovic’s research is highly relevant to the Miami context,” said Virginia Mueller Gathercole, professor of linguistics. “Her work shows the use of English versus Spanish by witnesses in a court case can directly affect a jury’s judgment. She links facts about how language is structured with how we perceive the world around us and how we remember events that have occurred. Her work provides exciting new evidence on what it means to be a Spanish speaker or English speaker in real-life terms.”

The next day, Feb. 22, the Linguistics Program will host an all-day linguistics festival starting at 10 a.m. in Graham Center 314. Filipovic will lead the plenary talk, addressing language-specific and universal features in perception and memory for events.

The festival will continue at 1:30 p.m. in GC 243 with talks by College of Arts & Sciences faculty in the departments of English, Psychology, and Modern Languages, as well as from faculty in the College of Nursing & Health Sciences, on issues regarding language acquisition, memory, perception and bilingualism.

“The lecture series and festival expose faculty, students and the community to cutting edge research by bringing in some of the top linguists in the world,” Gathercole said. “It provides a forum for the discussion of key issues in the field and fosters an exchange between students and faculty, members of the community, and researchers from around the world.”

The events are sponsored in part by the Barbara Gordon Memorial Endowment, Linguistics Program, Department of English, Linguistics Club Graduate Student Organization, and Council for Student Organizations. The lecture series was established in 1984 by former-Senator Jack D. Gordon, in the memory of his first wife, Barbara Gordon, a linguist and educator. All events are free and open to the public.

 By Evelyn S. Perez

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