Sources: ScienceDaily, UMass Amherst, arXiv.org. Lisa Green and Brendan O’Connor collaborated with doctoral student Su Lin Blodgett on a case study of African American English in on-line Twitter conversations. The authors have created what they believe to be the largest data set of African American English to date, examining 59 million tweets from 2.8 million users. Their goal is to characterize and identify dialects, and to ultimately create language technology that is adapted to African American English.
From UCONN Magazine: “Marie Coppola and a number of other researchers at UConn want to understand the science behind how early access to language affects learning in deaf and hearing children. Deaf children are just as intellectually capable as hearing children— but if they do not have early access to language and communication, that intellectual capacity can quickly erode.”
The Oxford Handbook of Information Structure (edited by Caroline Féry and Shinichiro Ishihara) will come out in the US on September 28. It has been available in the UK and online since last Spring. This book is an editorial masterpiece that brings clarity into an area that can be very confusing at times. The editors performed a miracle in getting the authors of individual articles to converge on a unified theoretical perspective while still documenting all major current approaches to information structure.
Another invaluable resource on information structure has just come out in the US: Daniel Büring’s survey of Intonation and Meaning. The book gives a state-of-the art introduction to the discourse-related notions of focus and givenness and their impact on prosodic structure. It also has a chapter on the meaning of tones.