The Inaugural Virginia Area Undergraduate Linguistics Colloquium
College of William & Mary, April 13, 2019


About | Speakers | Program |  Registration | Information for PresentersTravel | Dates | Contact


VALING is an undergraduate research conference dedicated to promoting the study of linguistics by undergraduates in Virginia and the greater Mid-Atlantic area by sharing exemplary undergraduate research and fostering a dialogue between students of linguistics and other language-related topics across various institutions. Research across any linguistic discipline is welcome, including: phonetics, phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, field work, sociolinguistics, psycholinguistics, language acquisition, etc. We hope to have a wide range of different linguistics topics represented.

Invited speakers

Abby Walker (Virginia Tech)
Matthew Lowder (University of Richmond)

Registration: 9:15 - 10:00 AM
Opening remarks: 10:00 - 10:15 AM
Poster session: 10:15 - 11:15M (see below for list of posters)
Break: 11:15 - 11:30 AM
Keynote talk (Abby Walker): 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Lunch (boxed lunches):12:30 - 2:00 PM
Talks: 2:00 - 4:30 PM (see below for the schedule of talks)
Break: 4:30 - 5:00 PM
Keynote talk (Matthew Lowder): 5:00 - 6:00 PM
Closing remarks: 6:00 PM
Dinner (on your own): 6:30 PM @ Peter Chang 1203 Richmond Rd, Williamsburg

List of Talks:

  • 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Keynote talk Abby Walker
    • The role of experience and expectations in cross-dialectal listening tasks. There are two typical findings in cross-dialectal studies: listeners perform better with familiar dialects over unfamiliar dialects (first dialect advantage), and listeners do better with standard vs. non-standard dialects (standard dialect advantage). These two findings can be in conflict - a listener could be a native speaker of a non-standard dialect - and in these cases, researchers have found that the standard dialect advantage holds. In this talk I will first establish the behavioral and neurological evidence for cross-dialectal processing difficulties, showing for example, that listeners in Virginia tend to do worse with speakers from Southwest VA than Northern VA, even when they are from Southwest VA themselves. I will then talk about factors that improve cross-dialect communication. First, using data collected from expatriates and transatlantic sports fans in the US and the UK, I will show that that listeners' first dialect advantage weakens with long term exposure to a second dialect, even if that exposure is mostly via media. Second, I will show that when we introduce speakers to listeners with a combination of video and audio, we see that listeners' form expectations about the speakers' dialect and performance improves with Southwest VA accents. These results suggest that part of the standard dialect advantage may be driven by participants' dialectal expectations when they do experiments, which are typically run at standard-dialect promoting institutions: universities. 
  • 2:00 - 2:30 PM: Persuasion in Discourse: Evaluation Strategies of Vegans (Kate Sandberg, William & Mary)
  • 2:30 - 3:00 PM: Infants’ use of the verb-event link to learn verb meaning (Lillianna Righter and Jeffrey Lidz University of Maryland, College Park)
  • 3:00 - 3:30 PM: Synthetic Speech and its Effects on Human Trust (Nicole Defoor, Virginia Tech)
  • 3:30 - 4:00 PM: Documentation of Eynuin Xinjiang, China (Siyu Liang, Georgetown University)
  • 4:00 - 4:30 PM: The status of the word-final domain and categorical language learning cues (Megan Rouch, William & Mary)
  • 5:00 - 6:00 PM Keynote talk Matthew Lowder
    • Prediction in the processing of repair disfluencies. I will present a series of experiments aimed at understanding how listeners process repair disfluencies in real time (e.g., “The woman went to the animal shelter and brought home a dog uh I mean a rabbit.”). Using a visual-world eye-tracking paradigm, we have shown that listeners actively predict the upcoming repair during the “uh I mean” portion of the utterance (i.e., there is a strong tendency for listeners to look at a picture of a cat in this example, before hearing the word “rabbit”). This pattern is much stronger than the tendency to generate similar predictions in the context of noun phrase coordination (e.g., “…a dog and also a rabbit”), but is similar to the tendency to generate predictions in the context of contrastive focus (e.g., “…not a dog but rather a rabbit”). I will also present work showing that the tendency to generate predictions during the processing of repair disfluencies is disrupted when the speaker has a stutter, as well as work showing that listeners can exploit linguistic cues of plausibility and speaker certainty to rapidly anticipate a speech error even before the speaker becomes disfluent. This work is interpreted within a noisy channel framework of language comprehension, according to which listeners actively model the communicative intentions of the speaker, combining the linguistic input with assumptions about the speaker’s meaning and mentally correcting any perceived errors.

List of posters:

  • Crazy De-Accented Singaporeans: Linguistic Representation in Crazy Rich Asians (Linh Buckley Virginia Tech)
  • A problem for the frequency code? A perceptual study of the relationship between pitch and politeness in Korean (Esther Sung Ryan Cho, Virginia Tech)
  • Effects of lexical predictability and syntactic structure on fixation times during reading (Gwynna Ryan, Jaclyn Opie, Emily Kaminsky, and Matthew W. Lowder, University of Richmond)
  • On the Place of Constructed Languages in Linguistic Typology (Will Norton, University of Virginia)
  • Perceptions and Ideologies Surrounding Cardi B's Stigmatized Speech (Brittany Russell, Virginia Tech)
  • A Political Discourse Analysis of Power and Solidarity Displays by American Senators on the Issue of Healthcare (Irene Williams, William & Mart)
  • The Semantics of Koasati Verbal Agreement (Johnny Willing, William & Mary)

Registration is currently open. Click here to register!

Registration Fees:

Early Registration (before 5pm, April 6, 2019):

  • Student: $25
  • Faculty: $35

Late Registration:

  • Student: $30
  • Faculty: $40

Both registration types include admission to all sessions, morning and afternoon refreshments, boxed lunch, and a copy of conference materials. Students can also indicate whether they would like crash space (if available) on the registration site. 

Information for Presenters

Talks will be 30 minutes long (20 minutes for the presentation + 10 minutes for questions). Posters will be mounted on standing boards, which are 30 inches tall feet tall and 40 inches wide.

Travel and Accommodation

The conference will be held in Blow Hall, room 201 on the campus of College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA. Click here for a map. Williamsburg offers plenty of hotels if you would like to arrive early/leave late. Click here for an overview of hotels available in the area. There is also the option of Airbnb. We are currently working on obtaining crash space for students attending the conference from out of town. Students can indicate whether they would like crash space (if available) on the registration site. Parking on campus is free on weekends.

Important dates
  • Abstract submission deadline: February 18, 2019
  • Notification of acceptance: March 1, 2019
  • Registration opens: March 1, 2019
  • Registration deadline: April 6, 2019
  • Colloquium: April 13, 2019
Contact information

For more information, please contact conference organizers Dan Parker ( or Kate Harrigan (