August 24, 2019 at 9:20 am

Chair’s Message | Linguistics Welcomes Alumni, Applauds Faculty, Plans for 50th

Michelle O’Malley, Beverly Flanigan, Dawn Bikowski, David Bell

From left, Michelle O’Malley, Beverly Flanigan, Dawn Bikowski, David Bell

By David Bell
Associate Professor and Chair of Linguistics

As the summer heat begins to recede, life in Gordy Hall begins to buzz again, it’s time to welcome you to the academic year 2019-20. We have had our usual comings and goings and some notable visitors, a big promotion, an alumni award, and a surprise donor. We also have a big birthday coming up.

As you can see from the photos, Associate Professor Emerita Beverly Flanigan stopped by to see us. Beverly is very active in the community—the League of Women Voters, the Historical Society, and local neighborhood associations—and regularly updates us about upcoming conferences and new books in the fields of sociolinguistics, dialectology, and Appalachian Englishes. You can find her posts on OHIO University Linguistics Department Alumni Facebook page.

Liang Tao and Marmo Soemarmo

Liang Tao and Marmo Soemarmo

Dr. Marmo Soemarmo, in his unmistakable hat, also popped in to see us. Dr. Soemarmo was truly one of the founders of what we now know as CALL (Computer Assisted Language Learning). Marmo still lives in Athens with his wife, Suharni Soemarmo, who was a professor in the Indonesian program.

Dr. Liang Tao was promoted to Full Professor this year. She is the third Linguistics faculty member to be promoted to the rank of Professor, after Dr. Zinny Bond and Dr. Scott Jarvis. Dr. Tao has produced more than 25 articles since her promotion and tenure in 2004—a remarkable record of productivity! Dr. Tao’s research output has been described by reviewers as substantial, rigorous, original, and brilliant, and they further noted her positive influence upon cohorts of students, inspiring them to further their education and to never give up hope learning Chinese. Well done, Liang. We are very proud of your accomplishments.

Leaving the department this summer is Dr. Soomin Jwa, who was with us this last year as a Visiting Professor. Dr. Jwa is returning to Korea to continue her professional career. She taught Sociolinguistics and Second Language Acquisition. We will remember Soomin for her tireless work with students, and one collaboration that has led to a published paper!

Coming back to the department is Dr. Ludmila Marchenkova, who will be teaching her old class—Language and Gender. This is one of the most popular classes that the department offers, not least because of the passion and scholarship that Dr. Marchenkova brings to it. Welcome back, Ludmila.

J. Elliott Casal and Magdalyne Oguti Akiding, Colloquia Presenters

J. Elliott Casal and Magdalyne Oguti Akiding, Colloquia Presenters

We continue to have visits from our alumni. J. Elliot Casal -08, ’14M came back to Gordy in April. Elliott is a Ph.D. candidate at Pennsylvania State University. He presented his research here in the Linguistics Colloquium Series on “Complex Noun Phrases and Holistic Syntactic Complexity in Niche-Building Moves: Addressing the ‘Function-Form Gap’ with Corpus-Based Genre Analysis.”

Also presenting in the upcoming Colloquium Series this fall is Magdalyne Oguti Akiding ’17M.  Magdalyne was a TA in the Swahili Program. Now she is a PhD candidate at Michigan State University. The title of her presentation is “L2 Motivation, Anxiety and Intended Effort Among Learners of African Languages in the United States.” We are looking forward to hearing from Magdalyne. As well, we would love to see our other alumni back in Gordy and hear the research they are doing. Please let us know if you can come.

One other special visitor we are expecting this fall is Dr. James Stratman ’73, who will be here on campus on Oct. 25 as recipient of our Notable Alumni Award. Dr. Stratman has made a generous donation to the department in connection with the development of the Forensics Certificate. As well as, receiving his award at the College of Arts & Science’s Notable Alumni reception, earlier in the day on Friday Oct. 25, Dr. Stratman has kindly agreed to talk about Forensic Linguistics in the Linguistics Colloquium Series at 12:55 p.m. in Gordy Hall 301.

Our generous donors, Dr. James Stratman and Ruth Yenling Ting

Our generous donors, Dr. James Stratman and Ruth Yenling Ting

In July, we got news of a $3,000 one-time donation to the Linguistics Department from alumna Ruth Yenling Ting ’80M.  Ruth remembered that when she was at OHIO, someone donated a large amount of money to help those students from Taiwan and she wanted to return the favor, allowing the Linguistics Department to help Taiwanese students once again. When we contacted Ruth, it turned out that her remarkable story was worth a lot more.

We sincerely appreciate donations, and we also love to hear from our alumni. Write to us and tell us your story since you graduated from OHIO. And tell us what memories you have of your time in Athens.

Finally, there is that matter of a big birthday. In academic year 2020-21, the Linguistics Department will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary! We are planning lots of fun events during our anniversary year, and it would sure help us if you sent us your ideas about how we can celebrate our half-century. One unique way of celebrating will be with a commemorative beer that faculty member and alumnus Art Oestrike ’01, ’08M, owner of the Jackie O’s Craft Brewery in Athens, has agreed to make. Look out for competitions to name that beer and design the label.

What will make it a real celebration is if we see as many of our alumni back in Athens during the anniversary year. You’ve got a year to plan before the festivities commence. Let us know what you may be interested in doing: giving a colloquium talk, joining us for Career & Networking Week at the end of January, partaking of a tour of campus, sitting in on classes, or having a group dinner uptown. These are only a few of the opportunities that will be available. You are welcome to visit at any time. And for those of you already here, have a great semester!

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