On the weekend of April 20-22nd (one-week before graduation), three second-year Applied Linguistics M.A. students including Mr. Selikem Gotah, Mr. Akmal Ibragimov (together), and Ms. Natalia Kavun (individually) made presentations at the 70th Annual Kentucky Foreign Languages Conference (KFLC) held at the University of Kentucky in Lexington. Their presentation date caused them to be physically unable to attend the department’s year-end picnic. But they managed to participate and give parting advice to their junior classmates by participating via Skype.
Gotah and Ibragimov presented a paper entitled, “Corpus Analysis of Non-Restrictive Relative Clauses in Live Text Soccer Commentaries,” The paper was written as part of the Semantics and Pragmatics course taught by Dr. David Bell during Spring semester of the previous year. Drawing on a corpus built from live text soccer commentaries on soccernet.com and theguardian.com, the two second-year students analyzed heavy modifiers, in the form of non-restrictive relative clauses. Specifically, they investigated the main purpose for the employment of such clauses in real time play-by-play commentaries. The audience, which included many linguists who are sports fans including soccer players, seemed to enjoy the presentation very much.
Kavun’s paper, entitled, “The Portrayal of Russian Character in SNL: Ideologies of Mock Russian,” examined the speech of actress Kate McKinnon in her performance of a Russian character named “Olya Povlatsky,” in the TV show Saturday Night Live (SNL). By identifying salient linguistic features as well as other devices employed in performing, the study highlights some of the features stereotypically associated with speakers whose first language is Russian. The study also addressed the process by which these particular skits from SNL contribute to the circulation of a stereotypical image of a Russian. Specific features and elements that were considered in the study included verbal and nonverbal features such as phonological characteristics, voice quality, topics for discussion, body language, and overall style of the character. The paper was received well.
Gotah, Ibragimov, and Kavun all reported that their conference presentation experience was a highlight of their M.A. experience. They cited the number of M.A. students from the program who presented at a variety of conferences this academic year, and urge all first-year students to work this professional experience into the second year of the program. Department Chair, Dr. Christopher Thompson noted that the department tries to provide modest funding on a competitive basis for any student interested in traveling to a conference to make an accepted presentation.