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VIU Arts and Humanities Colloquium Series

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Friday, November 27th, 2020
10:00 AM to 11:30 AM

Beyond Multilingualism: How Linguists Think and Talk about Language  

“Oh, you study linguistics. How many languages do you speak?”  While many linguists are bilinguals or polyglots, the study of linguistics is much more than that. Linguists study how language works and employ a wide range of approaches taken in many different disciplines from arts and humanities to social and natural sciences. The science of language can give you a new perspective on everyday uses of language as in talking to a friend, writing a tweet, listening to a podcast, or using Siri.

In this presentation, Dr Yoichi Mukai will introduce how linguists think and talk about language and what kind of analysis they conduct to understand the pieces of language. After talking about fundamental components of linguistic analysis (i.e., sound, grammar, and meaning), it will briefly discuss two key topics of Mukai's research. First, that speech is highly variable. This variability often results from instances of phonetic reduction, as in the realization of words with approximated articulation, resulting in deletion and/or incomplete articulation of sound segments. Second, that literacy skills change the way we comprehend speech. Inconsistencies between the ways in which words are pronounced and spelled have been shown to affect the recognition of spoken words. This talk will help you to understand the underlying mechanisms of speech communication in a first language and the process of learning a second language.

This talk will be presented via Zoom. To attend the talk, please follow this link: (Password: 55555)

For more information about the Arts & Humanities Colloquium Series, please visit:


Dr Yoichi Mukai joined the Department of Modern Languages Studies at VIU in 2019. He completed his PhD in Linguistics at the University of Alberta in 2020 and his MA in Applied Linguistics and Discourse Studies at Carleton University in 2014. His primary research interest is to employ a range of experimental methods and understand how humans process spoken language using multiple sources of language information in order to cope with variability. He is particularly interested in understanding (1) how production of speech varies across different styles of speech and how listeners interact with such variability, and (2) how orthographic knowledge influences the recognition of spoken language.


Upcoming presentations:

On February 12, and in conjunction with Global Citizens Week, Dr Kelly Black, a VIU Adjunct History Professor and Executive Director of the Point Ellice House Museum and Gardens, presents The Rooms Where It Happened: Practicing Public History at Victoria’s House Museum. Black’s lecture reflects on the last 60 years of public history at Point Ellice House, one of British Columbia’s oldest residences. The visitor experience at the historic site, which featured afternoon tea on the lawn, has remained largely unchanged, but as historians and the public re-evaluate dominant narratives of historical figures and events questions arise about how a museum founded on the celebration of colonial power and privilege can challenge one of its most enduring associations. Black’s presentation will explain more recent efforts to go “beyond the tropes of tea and roses.”

On March 12, Joy Gugeler, a Professor in Creative Writing and Journalism, and Media Studies, at VIU, and Stephanie Johnson, a member of School District 68’s Syeyutsus Family, which was formed to develop reconciliation policy and framework of reconciliation across the school district, present Unsettling Fiction: Reconciling Novel Partnerships with Traditional Practices to Teach Indigenous Literature in the Classroom. Gugeler and Johnson will discuss efforts to introduce more Indigenous literature into high school and undergraduate university classrooms and develop teaching approaches that respect traditional ways of knowing and being. As well as their unique protocols, they are proposing and modeling respectful and equal partnerships between Indigenous Elders, leaders, experts, and settler instructors.

Cost: Free Event
Category: Arts | Entertainment
    Talks | Lectures
Online Events
Location: Zoom
Zoom, Nanaimo
This event is for Adults, Seniors, Student / College
More Info: Cathryn Spence
[email protected]

Event Website
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Other Dates for this event:

Friday, January 22nd, 2021

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