The current volume of the Annual Review of Linguistics (Vol. 6, 2020) features two articles authored by U-M Linguistics faculty and graduate students. The Annual Review of Linguistics covers significant developments in the field of linguistics, including phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and their interfaces.
In an article titled “Language and Discrimination: Generating Meaning, Perceiving Identities, and Discriminating Outcomes,” authors Justin T. Craft, Kelly E. Wright, and Rachel Elizabeth Weissler (all PhD students) and Professor and Chair Robin M. Queen focus on the ways in which questions of justice and equality are linked to people’s abilities to produce and parse socially indexed cues from the languages they encounter.
In an article titled “Fantastic Linguistics,” Professor Sarah Thomason and coauthor linguist William Poser cover a range of "wonderfully wacky pseudolinguistic notions" by surveying some of the "major areas in which fringe and crackpot claims about language thrive."
Read the abstracts below.
Justin T. Craft, Kelly E. Wright, Rachel Elizabeth Weissler, and Robin M. Queen
Vol. 6, 2020, pp. 389–407
Humans are remarkably efficient at parsing basic linguistic cues and show an equally impressive ability to produce and parse socially indexed cues from the language(s) they encounter. In this review, we focus on the ways in which questions of justice and equality are linked to these two abilities. We discuss how social and linguistic cues are theorized to become correlated with each other, describe listeners' perceptual abilities regarding linguistic and social cognition, and address how, in the context of these abilities, language mediates individuals’ negotiations with institutions and their agents—negotiations that often lead to discrimination or linguistic injustice. We review research that reports inequitable outcomes as a function of language use across education, employment, media, justice systems, housing markets, and health care institutions. Finally, we present paths forward for linguists to help fight against these discriminatory realities.
Sarah Thomason and William Poser
Vol. 6, 2020, ppp. 457–468
Many nonlinguists believe that their ability to speak at least one language provides special insight into the essence of languages and their histories. One result of this belief is a plethora of theories about language from a surprising variety of perspectives: where particular languages (or all languages) originated, which languages are related by a shared history, how undeciphered writings or pseudowritings are to be read, how language figures in paranormal claims as “evidence” for reincarnation and channeled entities, and much, much more. This review surveys some of the major areas in which fringe and crackpot claims about language thrive. Only a few topics and examples can be covered in the limited space of a single article, but these should be enough, we hope, to suggest the range of wonderfully wacky pseudolinguistic notions out there.