Special Guest & Keynote Speakers


NACCL-30 Conference 

Date:  March 9-11, 2018
Venue:  The Blackwell Inn and Pfahl Conference Center
2110 Tuttle Park Place, Columbus, Ohio 43210

The NACCL-30 Conference is free and open to the OSU Community
Please register here to assist us with head count for planning, etc.

The NACCL-30 conference has invited a special guest of honor, Professor James H-Y. Tai (National Chung Cheng University), former OSU senior faculty member who founded the NACCL conference series at The Ohio State University in 1989. In addition, we are delighted to have three keynote speakers join our conference: Professor Emeritus Mary E. Beckman (Ohio State University), Professor Chu-Ren Huang (Hong Kong Polytechnic University), and Professor Zhuo Jing-Schmidt (University of Oregon). Further information on our invited speakers and their lectures is given below.



Professor James H-Y. Tai (戴浩一), Graduate Institute of Linguistics & Center for Innovative-Interdisciplinary Research on Aging, National Chung Cheng University
Lecture: “Neural Plasticity and Learning Chinese as a Second Language”*
Venue: Saturday, 10 March 2018, 8:45-9:45 a.m., Ballroom BC, The Blackwell Inn (2110 Tuttle Park Place, Columbus, OH 43210)
(* The talk title will be slightly modified to “Neural Plasticity and Acquisition of the Chinese Language.”)

Abstract.  “Plasticity” refers to the ability of organism to be adaptive to new environments and experiences. Neural plasticity refers to the ability of brain to modify its genetic (robust) structures and their functions. It can be defined as the changes in neural organization due to adaptation, learning, and compensatory adjustments in response to functional losses from aging or brain damage (Berlucchi and Buchtel 2009). As a lifelong ability of brain to reorganize, it is experience-dependent, and behavioral training is instrumental to brain development.

In this paper, I will summarize a certain amount of literature on language learning and neuroplasticity, with a special reference to learning Chinese as a second language. For this purpose, a simple guide to structural-functional basis of human brain will be provided, focusing on different components of our language faculty: phonology, lexicon, morphology, syntax, semantics, and prosody. I will select a set of characteristics of Chinese grammar to explore the structural and functional changes of the neural networks; for example, the development of lexical tones (Gandour et al. 2003); the monomorphic nature of words with abundance of homophones; the locations of nouns and verbs in the brain in a language lacking morphological markings, lacking of agreement (Li, Jin and Tan 2004); as well as other typological features of Chinese, such as SVO canonical order with relative clauses before head nouns (Comrie 1998).

The neuroplasticity of learning Chinese characters and reading Chinese text will be touched upon (Bolger et al. 2005), not only for young children but also for the elderly in the lifelong development of the brain, with implications for the development of other cognitive domains besides language.
[References are omitted here but will be in the NACCL-30 Program Book.]

Bio. James H-Y. Tai is Distinguished Chair Professor and Director of the Research Center for Humanities and Social Sciences of National Chung Cheng University, Taiwan. He received his doctoral degree in Linguistics from Indiana University, and taught at Southern Illinois University (1970-1986) and Ohio State University (1986-1995) before joining National Chung Cheng University as the founding chair of the Graduate Institute of Linguistics. He was Director-General of the Division of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Taiwan National Science Council (2002-2005), President of the International Association of Chinese Linguistics (2004), and recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Taiwan Linguistic Society (2010). He has, since 2010, been working with psychologists and neuroscientists on the relationship between language and aging, and has established a new Center for Innovative-Interdisciplinary Research on Aging at his institution, the first of its kind in Taiwan.


Professor Emeritus Mary E. Beckman, Department of Linguistics, The Ohio State University
Lecture: “The Sociophonetics of Gender in Three Chinese Varieties
Venue: Friday, 9 March 2018, 8:45-9:45 a.m., Ballroom BC, The Blackwell Inn (2110 Tuttle Park Place, Columbus, OH 43210)

Abstract.  Gender effects in phonetics seem to be ubiquitous and also extremely diverse and culture-specific, perhaps reflecting a multiplicity of bases. For example, effects that lower the characteristic frequencies of some sounds in men’s speech relative to women’s speech (or vice-versa) could be based in culture-specific exaggerations of the sexual dimorphism of the species. By contrast, effects that enhance some phonetic contrasts in women’s speech relative to men’s speech may be related to the typically dominant role of women in language socialization. Yet other gender effects might arise from the frequent role of women as the leading agents in sound changes in progress, including changes resulting from language contact. This talk reviews analyses in collaboration with Ohio State University alumni Ya-ting Shih (Chung Yuan Christian U) and Fangfang Li (U of Lethbridge) of men’s and women’s productions that illustrate the different possible bases for gender effects in several Chinese corpora gathered in the course of a large multi-site comparison of phonological development.

Bio. Mary Beckman is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics at The Ohio State University who works on phonetics and laboratory phonology. She received an M.A. in East Asian Languages from University of California, Berkeley, in 1979, and a Ph.D. in Linguistics from Cornell University in 1984. Her research has addressed a broad range of topics in phonetics and phonology, ranging from formally explicit models of the ways in which tone and other features articulate with prosodic organization above the syllable to cross-language differences in the spectral properties of sibilant fricatives that might be related to language-specific phonotactic probabilities. Her current research focuses primarily on phonological acquisition.

Professor Chu-Ren Huang (黄居仁), Department of Chinese and Bilingual Studies, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Lecture (to be presented jointly as an ICS/OPACA lecture):  “Chinese Perspectives on Synaesthesia: From Sense to Sense, from Cognition to Culture, from Embodiment to Universality”
Venue: Saturday, 10 March 2018, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Ballroom BC, The Blackwell Inn (2110 Tuttle Park Place, Columbus, OH 43210)

Abstract. Synaesthesia (通感/联觉), with its Greek etymology, is a linguistic device that offers a unique window into our neuro-cognitive mechanisms as well as culturally grounded conceptualization. Linguistic synaesthesia in Chinese offers interesting facts that were not accounted for previously. 闻 ‘to smell’, with its auditory etymology for instance, is an instance of sub-lexical synaesthesia marked by orthography with auditory-to-olfactory direction, which contradicts the embodiment based prediction. More recently, synaesthesia has been a showcase phenomenon for neuro-cognitive studies (e.g. Cytowic’s (2003) The Man Who Tasted Shapes), yet linguistic synaesthesia hasn’t received the attention it deserves until a few recent papers (Srik Lievers and Winter 2018, Zhao, Huang and Long 2018). In this talk, I will introduce a series of recent studies by our group focusing on new perspectives on synaesthesia driven by Chinese data. Topics addressed include the relation between synaesthesia and metaphor, the universality of mapping direction, the embodiment theory and/or neuro-cognitive basis of linguistic synaesthesia, and possible cultural influence on linguistic synaesthesia.
[References are omitted here but will be in the NACCL-30 Program Book.]

Bio. Chu-Ren Huang (PhD, Cornell 1987; DHC, Aix-Marseille 2013) is a chair professor at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He is a Fellow as well as past president of the Hong Kong Academy of the Humanities; and a permanent member of the International Committee on Computational Linguistics. He has published 25 books or edited volumes, more than 25 online or licensable language resources, over 190 journal articles or book chapters, and over 450 refereed conference papers. His recent and upcoming books include A Reference Grammar of Chinese, Computational Processing of the Chinese Language, and Cambridge Handbook of Chinese Linguistics (Cambridge); Mandarin Chinese Words and Parts of Speech: A corpus-based study, and Routledge Handbook in Chinese Applied Linguistics (Routledge); Digital Humanities: Bridging the Divide (Springer), and Generative Lexicon Studies in Chinese (Commercial Press). He is Editor in Chief of the journal Lingua Sinica and the book series SNLP (Cambridge), SEAL, THIA (Springer) and FiCL (PKU Press/Springer).

Professor Zhuo Jing-Schmidt (井茁), Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures, University of Oregon
Lecture: “Counterfactual Emotions and Language: Cautionary Implications for Linguistic Relativity”
Venue: Saturday, 10 March 2018, 5:00-6:00 p.m., Ballroom BC, The Blackwell Inn (2110 Tuttle Park Place, Columbus, OH 43210)

Abstract. Drawing on converging insights from decision research, social psychology, neuropsychology of counterfactual reasoning, this talk begins with an overview of the ubiquity of counterfactual thought as a universal experience. It then discusses corpus data from Chinese that show the affective and evaluative forces of counterfactual language in ordinary communication, and the personal and interpersonal functions it accomplishes. The talk concludes with cautionary implications for theory and methodology in research on the linguistic relativity of counterfactual thinking, a topic central to the relativity debate in the psychology of language, and addresses the cognitive and affective constraints on linguistic relativity in general.
[References are omitted here but will be in the NACCL-30 Program Book.]

Bio.  Zhuo Jing-Schmidt is Associate Professor of Chinese Linguistics and PI and Director of the Oregon Chinese Flagship Program at University of Oregon. She is interested in languages as a window into cognition, emotion and culture and as a barometer of social discourse and societal change. Therefore, her research focus is not linguistic structure and meaning per se, but the conceptual significance, psychological grounding and sociocultural ramifications of language as a tool of communication and a transmitter of culture. Her published work on grammatical constructions, lexical semantics, and pragmatics arises from this central concern. She is committed to empirical research and her data are largely drawn from Chinese. She has also been conducting corpus-based SLA research that is informed by linguistic typology as well as cognitively oriented linguistic research.