The EGG school

view from the dorms towards Banja Luka

For the first two weeks of August, Katie attended the Eastern Generative Grammar (EGG) School, this year in Banja Luka (Bosnia). This was her second time at an EGG school, and she is a big fan. The school is based on some nice ideas, such as making high-level linguistics courses available to students in Central and Eastern Europe and keeping costs low for students generally. Another big goal of the school’s organisers is to promote interaction between teachers and students–a big plus for learning and for the social environment.

On the way to the opening party

While there, Katie attended courses by Patrick Elliot (ZAS Berlin), Daniele Panizza (Göttingen), Yasutada Sudo (UCL), Sarah Zobel (Tübingen), and Gillian Ramchand (Tromsø). One course, concerning the Exhaustivity Operator was even extended into the second week because there was such a lively discussion!

There was also an Open Podium during the second week, where Katie had the opportunity to present her joint work with Elena and MEAT friend Agustín Vicente. She received good feedback, including a question about the potential diachronic connection between the construction under investigation (Ethnic/Social Terms used as Insults, ESTIs) and slurs.

Social meaning in Paris

At the beginning of July, Katie went to Sociolinguistic, Psycholinguistic and Formal Perspectives on Social Meaningin Paris, organised by Heather Burnett and Judith Degen. There, Katie presented joint work with Elena and local friend Augustín Vicente with a talk entitled ‘On the social meaning of stereotypes: A comparison in the realm of expressives’. This work investigates the differences between slurs and what we call ‘ESTIs’ (Ethnic/Social Terms used as Insults) in European Spanish. ESTIs are a particular type of word which have both a neutral, denotational use, and an insulting use which capitulates on stereotypes of the respective group; interestingly, the insulting use (ESTI) can only be used for people outside of the ethnic or social group. Examples we’ve found include portera‘doorwoman’, which is used for targets perceived as lazy gossips, and gitan@ ‘gipsy’, which can be used for people perceived as scamming or liars. [Note: we do not endorse these stereotypes of the social groups.]

The workshop itself was very interesting, with lively discussion and a fun social programme. Some highlights included Elin McCready’s work on Honorification and Norms, Sunwoo Jeong’s work on the social meaning of rising declaratives, and Teresa Pratt’s discussion of the social meaning of interactional moments, where she reported on sociolinguistic data collected during her PhD. Thanks for great organisation, Heather and Judith!