Call for papers

Multimodality in Language Research

University of Leeds

24th – 26th June 2014

Language@Leeds in conjunction with the British Academy is holding a three-day FREE event at the University of Leeds. The event is aimed at Early Career Researchers (up to 5 years post-PhD) and Post-Graduate Researchers working on multimodal approaches to language study from universities in and around Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and the North-West. The aims are to explore the purpose and application of multimodal approaches to language research – textual, visual-gestural, audio, instrumental, computational – and to establish a regional network of scholars to share practice, expertise and resources.

Language use is fundamentally multimodal. The technological advancements of recent years have provided the tools to record, document, and analyse language in its fullest instantiation and to build up and analyse huge databases of language data in all its forms. This allows us to finally pay justice to the multimodal nature of communication. The orchestration of the modalities allows us to understand how language is produced, comprehended and also learned. The study of multimodal communication not only applies to in-person communication but also to other forms of communication like film, theatre, Skype, websites and social media. The availability of cheap digital technology has had the additional effect of increasing multimodal communication across the globe.

Whether we are trying to document an endangered language or to understand how children learn meanings or investigate emerging forms of digital communication we need to understand the nature of multimodality and master the technology available to further our research.

The event will include two workshops and a conference (participants may sign up for all or parts of the event):

Practical workshop on analysing multimodal data (24-25 June) – This workshop aims to provide an introduction to multimodal language use focusing on manual gesture. It includes a hands-on workshop on video recording and annotation with ELAN. It will be led by Mandana Seyfeddinipur, Programme Director, Endangered Languages Documentation Programme, SOAS (http://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff63793.php).

Practical workshop on eye-tracking (25 June) – This workshop will give an insight into how to design eye-tracking experiments for language research, record eye-tracking data, and analyse data using R.

Conference on Multimodality in language research (26 June) – The conference keynote speakers will be Sotaro Kita, Professor of Psychology, University of Warwick (http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/psych/people/skita/) and Mandana Seyfeddinipur, SOAS.

Please submit abstracts for oral presentations of maximum 200 words (excluding references) for the conference to Jack Wilson at language@leeds.ac.uk by 31st March 2014. We will respond by 25th April, and anticipate making the conference programme available in May.

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