2014 Buckeye East Asian Linguistics Forum

On a gorgeous sunny day on 24 October 2014, over 70 people gathered at the Mershon Center on The Ohio State University campus in Columbus, Ohio, to attend and participate in a very successful inaugural event, the 2014 Buckeye East Asian Linguistics (BEAL) Forum. Throughout this one-day event, the attendees engaged in lively discussions with presenters on a wide range of topics related to East Asian Linguistics.

Four main activities were scheduled in the BEAL Forum Program: two keynote lectures and two poster sessions. The Forum kicked off at 10:20 a.m. with welcoming remarks from Professor Etsuyo Yuasa, Director of OSU’s East Asian Studies Center.

Professor Ik-sang Eom from Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea, delivered the first keynote speech entitled, “Why are some Korean words similar to Japanese and Old Chinese?” Professor Eom’s lecture covered different aspects of the phonological and lexical similarities among these languages, and explored possible reasons for the similarities. The lecture was followed by a catered lunch in the lounge, thus enabling attendees many opportunities to network and to exchange ideas throughout the lunch hour.

The afternoon Forum activities opened with one poster session, consisting of seven poster presentations by young East Asian linguists, and closed with the another poster session, which featured nine posters by young scholars. Research presented in the two poster sessions covered all major areas of East Asian linguistics.

Scheduled between the two poster sessions was the second keynote speech. Professor J. Marshall Unger, from OSU’s Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, delivered his keynote lecture entitled, “How many syllables are reflected in Early Middle Japanese yo?  From one end of Japanese language history to the other,” Professor Unger put under scrutiny the history of the Japanese word for ‘sulfur’ and presented new evidence against positing two distinct syllables yo1 and yo2 in Old Japanese.

The Buckeye East Asian Linguistics Forum’s aim is to provide a platform primarily for graduate students to articulate and exchange ideas on their research findings with forum participants. In its planning stage, the BEAL Forum had modest goals, namely, to showcase research activities in East Asian linguistics in the Buckeye state, with welcoming contributions from those at institutions in neighboring states. Nonetheless, in addition to participants from the local host institution and from Ohio University in the Buckeye State, this year’s presenters and attendees also came from institutions much further away, including Purdue University, University of Louisiana (Lafayette), University of Minnesota (Twin Cities), University of Wisconsin (Madison), and Georgetown University, and some even further away still, from institutions overseas in China, Korea, Sweden, and Taiwan.

The Buckeye East Asian Linguistics (BEAL) Forum was spearheaded by three OSU faculty members in the East Asian Linguistics program, Mineharu Nakayama, Marjorie Chan and Zhiguo Xie. This inaugural event was organized by faculty co-chairs, Zhiguo Xie and Mineharu Nakayama, and graduate co-chairs, Tsz-Him Tsui and Yutian Tan, together with many dedicated members of the 2014 BEAL Forum Organizing Committee.

The 2014 BEAL Forum was made possible with logistic support from many OSU faculty members, staff, and graduate students, together with generous financial support from Institute for Chinese Studies, Institute for Japanese Studies, Institute for Korean Studies, East Asian Studies Center, Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Department of Linguistics, College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate Association of Chinese Linguistics, Graduate Students of East Asian Languages and Literatures, Council on Student Affairs. and U.S. Department of Education (Title VI Grant).

The BEAL Forum will be a regular event, to be hosted at The Ohio State University and elsewhere in the Buckeye State.