Language Sciences congratulates our award-winning members!

August 30, 2019

The Language Sciences Initiative would like to congratulate our members who have won a number of awards in recent months. 

Department of Psychology senior instructor Steven Barnes won a 3M National Teaching Fellow award. According to the sponsors, the Fellowship recognizes university and college teachers who have demonstrated leadership in enhancing post-secondary teaching excellence locally, nationally, and often internationally; and superlative undergraduate teaching, sustained over several years. Read more in this Department of Psychology story.

Department of Anthropology associate professor Mark Turin was awarded a 2018-2019 UBC Killam Faculty Research Fellowship, which enables faculty to pursue full-time research during a recognized study leave, according to the Office of the Vice-President Research + Innovation.

Turin was also named a 2019 Wall Scholar and will work to complete a collection of 60 case studies that showcase success in language revitalization through the mobilization of collections held at the British Library and British Museum, and will start on a second book, an emerging project provisionally entitled Relational Lexicography: New Frameworks for Community-Informed Dictionary Work, the Peter Wall Institute reported. Read more in this Peter Wall Institute profile.



Department of Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies assistant professor Katherine Bowers was also named a 2019 Wall Scholar. Bowers will finish a book on Russian realism’s engagement with European gothic fiction and embark on a new project about the way Russians imagined Arctic space from the time of Peter the Great until the 1917 Revolution.

Bowers said the most valuable aspect of the Wall Scholar Award was the opportunity to be part of a small cohort of engaged scholars from disciplines outside her own and having the time and space for a year of informal dialogue and discussion. “I’m looking forward to an energizing year!” Read more via her Peter Wall Institute profile here.

Canada Research Chair in Large-Scale Machine Learning and Computer Science associate professor Mark Schmidt was appointed a Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) Artificial Intelligence Chair at Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii). According to UBC Science, the program provides researchers with long-term, dedicated funding to support their research programs and help them train the next generation of Canadian AI leaders. Read more in this Faculty of Science story.

Department of Asian Studies associate professor Anne Murphy received funding through the Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE) for the project ‘Punjabi Studies Oral History Research Project and Program Development’, which provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to get involved in a SSHRC-funded faculty research project, and will develop curricular materials in support of the class-based Punjabi Studies Oral History Program at UBC. Read more in this Department of Asian Studies story.

Department of Linguistics assistant professor Márton Sóskuthy was awarded best paper by an early career researcher at the 2019 International Congress of Phonetic Sciences for ‘Horizontal Diphthong Shift in New Zealand English’. Sóskuthy said it was an honour to receive the award, given 130 delegates were eligible. “And I'm pleased that it was given in recognition of work that I'm especially excited about – we used novel statistical methods to look at how speech dynamics have evolved over more than 130 years in New Zealand English, and the results are super cool!"

Many members received funding through Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) competitions. 

Members who were awarded 2018-19 Insight Grants included: 

  • Philosophy professor Eric Margolis for the project ‘A Theory of Concepts’. The grant will support the writing of a book that examines similarities and differences in human and animal cognition, with a special focus on the role that language plays in human conceptual development, Margolis said.
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    Philosophy professor Michael Griffin for the project ‘Translating, Interpreting, and Publicizing the Philosophy and Science of the Roman Empire: New Translations in the Ancient Commentators Series’.  The Ancient Commentators on Aristotle project publishes volumes of translations of late ancient philosophical texts into English, and the grant would allow the publication of seven new volumes in the series, covering ancient languages and logic, science, medicine, and ethics, Griffin said.
  • English Language & Literatures professor Barbara Dancygier for the project ‘Emotional dissonance and the post-truth crisis’. Dancygier said the project built off an observation that in public discourse, non-true statements are often produced in contexts where telling the truth would conflict with the speaker’s emotional attitude to the situation, and that various media outlets often discuss contemporary discourse by looking primarily at its emotional implications. “I will study contemporary media from the perspective of how politicians, journalists, TV commentators, and users of memes and social media use stance-rich expressions to respond to media events.” The project would gather and interpret data from contemporary media to provide a better understanding of ‘stance’ and to evaluate the role of stance and emotions in the concept of post-truth discourse, she said.
  • Classical, Near Eastern, & Religious Studies assistant professor Florence Yoon for the project ‘The character-object spectrum in Greek Tragedy’. This project aims to define the middle ground between 'object' and 'character' in Greek tragedy, challenging the assumed binary distinction between the two, Yoon said. Work would involve contextualizing the role of speech as a way of creating and demonstrating agency, looking at the extent to which silent figures are constructed as characters and how far they function like inanimate objects. The grant would help Yoon access relevant theoretical frameworks that lay outside her disciplinary boundaries, she said.
  • Bowers, who is a co-applicant on the project ‘Digital Dostoevsky.’ The grant will fund the creation of an open access Dostoevsky resource that will facilitate digital humanities methodology-based research into Dostoevsky’s corpus, according to this Department of Central, Eastern, and Northern European Studies story.
  • Psychology professors Janet Werker and co-applicant Geoffrey Hall for the project ‘Bilingualism as a lens for understanding lexical development in infancy'. Hall said he was excited that the grant would allow the team to investigate young bilingual infants' word-meaning understanding, and in particular, whether bilingual infants reach certain milestones in this understanding at the same time as monolingual infants.  “The work should allow us to shed new light on how linguistic experience shapes early lexical comprehension.”

Members who were awarded 2019-2020 Insight Development Grants included:

  • Turin, Community, Culture & Global Studies Anthropology associate professor Christine Schreyer, and Anthropology doctoral student Vicki Sear for the project ‘Relational Lexicography: New Approaches to Community-Informed Dictionary Work’. This project aims to explore how dictionaries for under-resourced and Indigenous languages are made by the communities that use them, and to create a framework of good practices that everyone involved in such projects can use, as well as a publicly available toolkit.

Congratulations again to all our award-winning members!

Are you a Language Sciences member who has recently won an award? Please let us know via

 Main image credit: Pexels from Pixabay 


First Nations land acknowledegement

We acknowledge that UBC’s campuses are situated within the traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh, and in the traditional, ancestral, unceded territory of the Syilx Okanagan Nation and their peoples.

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