Episode 3.7: When did 'explicit' become such a dirty word?


For most US university students, that pesky foreign language requirement can be the worst part of any semester. Despite strides language educators and researchers have made in communicative language teaching, some of these students feel like they cannot speak a new language because they cannot nail down its ‘sound’. Camille, a PhD Candidate in French and Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education at UIUC, has set out to study the benefits of explicit pronunciation instruction and self-reflection in the acquisition of foreign languages for these students completing the FL requirement. In what she presents as the Awareness Continuum Hypothesis, Camille looks at how students notice and become aware of their speech and pronunciation as they learn a new language.

Camille also talks with the GradLings about her experiences with researching, writing, and all the components of the ABD (All But Dead!) life. Similar to how her work examines how self-reflection aids students in their foreign language studies, Camille values the skill of taking a step back and looking at where she is and where she is headed. Being able to reflect on her work and life, Camille has conquered the obstacles of conducting a longitudinal study, successfully combatting conference snipers, dealing with stupid questions (they do exist) and, most importantly, learning how to say no. Please join us for this very wonderful GradLings Summer Special! 

Episode 3.6: Community is Key


We are so excited about this episode, we are doing backflips! Well, we are trying to anyways...

Sal is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Austin who works with language attitudes and identity among Latinx communities. For Sal, community is key not only in his research but also in his everyday life. He sits down with the GradLings to talk about bringing the focus of language research back to the people and communities that (socio)linguists work with. Our chat also touches on how to make this research accessible to these communities we explore. Among colleagues and mentors in the field, Sal talks about how community also plays a big role in the complexities of academic life, especially when you share your work among different disciplines (like most of us do!).

Episode 3.5: Collective Care


In the foreign language classroom – specifically the Spanish classroom – how do heritage speakers learn and what can instructors do to help them study language? Sara Fernández Cuenca is figuring that out in her research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Sara’s dissertation examines how explicit instruction can help heritage learners process the language and by extension how instruction can address anxieties heritage learners have in language-learning. She uses some really cool interdisciplinary tools (eye-tracking!) to gauge learners’ various skills like production and interpretation. She also discusses the specific needs of heritage speakers and how instructors can work with these students’ unique contributions to their classroom environments.

Another topic close to Sara’s heart is advocacy for mental health in graduate school. Sara shares her experiences of being an international first-generation college student and dealing with the grad school environment that glorifies “suffering in silence”. She reminds us of how important it is to reach out for help and the kinds of resources students need from their colleges and universities. Sara and the GradLings goes beyond research and touches upon some very important themes relevant to all of us who work in academia. Please take a listen to this very enlightening episode of the GradLings Podcast.

Episode 3.4: #DontSayHashtag

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At 275 million speakers and growing, French remains a global force to be reckoned with. So why is there so much fuss over 'protecting' the French language? Gyula, a PhD candidate in French Linguistics at UIUC, is working towards helping understand French prescriptivist attitudes in our globalizing world. Specifically, Gyula uses computational and statistical applications to study French in social media and news items to see what French speakers actually use to communicate. In this insightful chat, Gyula and the GradLings tackle a huge variety of topics including, but not limited to: the Prescriptivist Police, shy academics, academic fangirling, and how much do you tip Noam Chomsky. Tune in and find out what #DontSayHashtag is all about!

Episode 3.3: Time at the Table


The GradLings host a very exciting and fun episode of the program on location at this year's University of Alabama Languages Conference. In addition to returning to home roots, the GradLings host a panel of awesome grad students studying TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language), Romance Linguistics, and Old English! The ladies and the audience offer a lot of perspective on a range of topics for students at all stages of the graduate student experience: first conference jitters; "coming back for seconds"; how to process professor feedback; and standing up for yourself as a student. Take a listen to this very special episode of GradLings as we talk about our "Time at the table"!

Episode 3.2: A life of GRADitude


The GradLings got a chance to chat with Tricia, an upbeat first year PhD student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Now starting the SLATE (Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education) program within the French Linguistics track, Tricia talks about how she keeps her goals in mind as she expands her research. Tricia and the boys also tackle many questions that are unique to the US model of SLA - multilingualism vs. bilingualism; the absence of research in to language learning anxieties; Resident Evil - while Robbie continues to wow with her L1 struggle bus. Please check out our latest, very refreshing episode of GradLings!

Episode 3.1: Linguistic Rebellion

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How does language contribute to a person's identity? To the identity of a collective culture? A community? In the first episode of the third season, Charlotte talks to the GradLings about her work examining the relationship between the French language, Black feminism, identity, and sources of linguistic authority. The episode takes a radical turn when linguistic immortality comes up. If any part of that last sentence caught your attention, then please check out our latest episode!

Episode 2.3: Do superheroes dab?


Sarah Steele is the resident superhero at the Department of Modern Languages and Classics at the University of Alabama. Before beginning on the PhD journey in Tuscaloosa, Sarah completed her Master's in Education with an emphasis in Spanish and ESL at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her passion has carried her far in the classroom but with her new path as a PhD student, Sarah's interests have expanded, leading her to pursue more cross-disciplinary focus in research, specifically working with anthropological linguistics. Our conversation with Sarah is a special summer episode of the GradLings podcast for our listeners who may be preparing for a new adventure in academia or transitioning to graduate study.  Sarah gave us some wonderful insight into how her experiences have shaped her motivation and skills that have been key to her success so far. She also gives us a bit of a preview of the process of getting a research project off the ground while working on finding that graduate school niche, which in her case is just being a superhero. 

Episode 2.2: Getting Around an Argentine Embargo

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While Robbie is away, the boys will...learn some linguistics (of course)! Mark is a PhD candidate at THE Ohio State University who has worked with a number of research projects over the course of his career so far. Currently he is investigating the phenomenon of mood alternation in Rioplatense Spanish in certain future-framed contexts. Mark is such a fun linguist (Yes, they do exist!) and takes the GradLings through his experience collecting data using a great mix of sources. In addition to his research, Mark's take on #LessonsLearned left the guys really inspired in their own work paths as well as maybe a little worried about being on the job market at the same time. Check out more about Mark's work at https://markhoff.jimdo.com! 

Episode 2.1: Occultist Ducklings


Yes, you read that correctly. Join us as we talk with Sabine and Diane in the first episode of our second season of GradLings! Being two native German students finishing their programs here at the University of Alabama, the GradLings wanted to get their take on the American education system with respect to their experiences being students in Germany (#Bavaria!). Of course in good GradLing fashion, we diverge a little into culture clashes, the fear of the PhD, some karaoke, and the girls school Justin in movie culture. Put your feet up and start off your weekend by giving Season 2 a listen! 

Episode 1.6: The Golden Nugget of Historical Linguistics


This week, the GradLings (especially Robbie) are very excited to be welcoming their fellow grad student Tommy, a French doctoral student researching the evolution of the negation marker in the French language. Tommy has been with the the department here at UA for...quite some time. In his time first in the Master's program and now on the verge of completing his dissertation, Tommy has accumulated a lot of wisdom and has been wonderful enough to share a bit of advice with us budding linguists. Of course, Justin and Boden manage to sneak in some pedagogy shop talk with Tommy.

Episode 1.5: The End to Culture Shock (?)


Given the opportunity and the necessary resources, studying abroad comprises a very important phase in the foreign language student's relationship with the target language. As the design of the typical study abroad experience has evolved over time to the demands of modern language education, the potential obstacles have evolved along with it, particularly the shock of arriving in a new environment with its own (very) different culture. 
Giovanni has not only conducted extensive research into culture shock experienced in studying abroad, but he has produced a virtual reality program that enables students to better prepare themselves for what is awaiting them abroad. This episode is definitely one for our technology-enthusiasts! Now if only there was a virtual reality program that prepared you for the culture shock of the academic job market...

If you are interested to learn more about Giovanni's great work, check out his website: www.readysteadyspain.com

Episode 1.4: Wade in the Water


Our colleague Alyssia is finishing up her last year with us at Alabama. Her dissertation focuses on a system of her own innovation - the five A's - that addresses student motivation in the language-learning process. She gives us some excellent insight into what it's like to be in the final phases of the dissertation and getting herself ready for the job market. To no one's surprise, during Alyssia's time in the studio the GradLings get into a multitude of topics including, but not limited to: communities of practice, what "fall" means in the South, publishing, Dr. Bill VanPatten, goals, time management and a little bit of harmonizing. Interested? Check out our episode with Alyssia and let us know if the GradLings may also have a promising back-up career path in the making. 

Episode 1.3: The 'Correct' Dialect ?


GradLings here with our third episode of the season! This week, we sat down with two PhD students, Sandra and Giovani, who are in their final stages of data collection and will begin down the scary path of analysis! In their episode, they give us some insight into what their experiences have been in graduate school while raising a family and managing international research. We also get into the age-old research debate - if there is such thing - weighing the (dis)advantages of quantitative and qualitative research methods. The GradLings also have the pleasure of being joined by Sandra and Giovani's daughter, a budding linguist herself!

Episode 1.2: Life in the Hamburger Grinder

This week, the GradLings sit down with Sara Finney, a PhD candidate here at UA finishing up her dissertation on the use of role-play in language acquisition. Her incredibly interesting work focuses on implementing real-life situations - specifically, interactions along the Mexican-US border - to encourage her students to develop characters and use their character design to navigate their presentation in the target language. This curriculum design extends into the wider implications of modern world power and political dynamics in the classroom environment. During this episode, the GradLings also discover a few things about ourselves that, well, we will probably spend many nights discussing over a pint of ice cream...or six. 


Episode 1.1: Bringing the Past to Life 


Jana Thomas Coffman is a PhD student at the University of Alabama studying Spanish Applied Linguistics. Her research focuses on bringing historical linguistic knowledge into the classroom and using it to enhance the typical learning experience of the foreign language student. In the podcast, the GradLings discuss with Jana the perspective of being in the world of academia with the advantages (and pressures!) of having family in the field.