Northeastern University's campus in the spring.

Linguistics Program releases eighth volume of undergraduate Working Papers

The Linguistics Program in the College of Science is proud to announce the publication of the latest in their series of undergraduate working papers.

The eighth volume of the Northeastern University Working Papers in Linguistics is now online, and showcases two outstanding pieces of student writing exploring a diverse range of language-related questions.

Working Papers editor Robert Painter,  Teaching Professor of Linguistics, summarizes the newest contributions as follows:

Abigail Chung’s paper ‘Language Attitudes, Heritage Language Maintenance, & Linguistic Assimilation for East Asian Immigrant Families in the US’ presents a questionnaire based study of first-generation immigrant parents from East Asian backgrounds and their motivations for passing down their heritage language to the next generation, and how the parents cope with deeply personal questions of language, culture, and identity in the United States. Whereas there is a glut of sociolinguistic research on language maintenance across generations for other groups, notably Latinx, this work fills a gap in studies on language and identity among Asian-American communities, and presents rich qualitative data on the competing pressures which East Asian immigrant parents face: whether to help their children assimilate to the dominant language of English or to maintain their family heritage in terms of language and identity.

Eliza Rice’s paper ‘Cultural Differences in Audience Positioning within the Context of Storytelling’ uses an integrated framework of frame analysis, positioning theory, and narrative analysis, to give a corpus-based case study of audience positioning during storytelling. She argues that the roles which audience members adopt during storytelling in a North American context – including prompter, empathizer, evaluator, co-teller, self-relator, attentive listener, and affirmer – are based and interpretable largely through the lens of the culture background of the participants. By analyzing hours of audio recordings of dinnertime conversation, she evokes patterns of storytelling behaviors based on ethnicity, nationality, and cultural background of the audience.

The Working Papers are the brainchild of Shiti Malhotra, who proposed the creation of the series in 2016 and led its editorial efforts over its first three years. As with any academic journal, submissions to the Working Papers undergo a rigorous selection process involving peer review and revision, and entries must demonstrate a clear contribution to furthering our understanding and appreciation of the phenomenon of human language.

Full copies of the papers included in this latest volume of the Northeastern University Working Papers in Linguistics, as well as all papers featured in the previous seven volumes, can be found here:

– Adam I. Cooper, Director, Linguistics Program