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Internationally known linguist to speak at UW-Eau Claire

February 21, 2013

EAU CLAIRE — The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire will host a lecture titled "Borders on the Land and in your Head" by linguistics expert Dr. Dennis Preston at 7 p.m. March 5 in the Ojibwe Ballroom of Davies Center.

Preston, Regents professor and co-director of the Center for Oklahoma Studies at Oklahoma State University, will consider what ordinary people (that is, non-linguists) believe about language and where the dialects of American English are located.

Preston will contrast what we know about the 'real' dialectology of some areas with popular/folk beliefs about language distribution. He also will focus on the give-and-take relationship between beliefs and stereotypes related to regional language. For example, he will address the questions: Do Southerners speak slowly because they are "slow"?; and Do Northerners sound unfriendly because they are?

A reception will follow the lecture.

Preston also will lead a workshop on methods of data collection and interpretation in the general area of folk linguistics and language regard at 5 p.m. March 4 in Room 206 of Hibbard Hall. Language regard covers both conscious and unconscious reactions to language as well as evaluative and nonevaluative beliefs.

Preston, a university distinguished professor emeritus at Michigan State University, has been a visiting scholar at numerous universities in the U.S. and abroad. In addition, he has been a Fulbright researcher in Poland and Brazil.

Preston's presentation and workshop are free and open to the public. Hosted by the UW-Eau Claire English department and English Fest, the events are supported by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation and Academic Affairs Professional Development Program.

For more information, to register for the workshop or to set up an interview,contact Dr. Erica Benson, associate professor of English, at bensonej@uwec.edu.

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OJ/DW

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