Research Colloquia Program (2019-2020)

Every academic year the CFLLC holds a Research Colloquium, at which a colleague presents current research in an informal setting, with ample opportunity for discussion, feedback, and questions. This year’s colloquia will begin with the following discussion:

Morphological meanings in the spatial expressions dentro, fuera, adentro, afuera: the case of Mexican Spanish

November 21, 2019 at 4PM, Hollander 241,
Carolina Melgarejo-Torres, Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish

Carolina Melgarejo-TorresMy research explains the functioning of spatial expressions (dentro, adentro, fuera, afuera) in contemporary Mexican Spanish. These words have been scarcely studied, and they don’t seem to behave in the way proposed by the main Pan Hispanic Books of Grammar.

The talk will focus on two morphological meanings (‘location’ / ‘orientation’) that are contained in (dentro, adentro, fuera, afuera: as it will be seen, those meanings determine the semantic-syntactic distribution and the lexical meaning of these expressions. I will devote special attention to adentro and afuera. It will be shown that, as we interpret these words in the verbal context, their morphological meaning ‘orientation’ appears and disappears from the sentence.

Explaining these words, not only contributes to the comprehension of the spatial category in Spanish, but it also contributes to a reflection on the disconnect between Hispanic linguistic studies and the “official” language Academies, whose standardization of the language fails to notice the phenomenon of a more diverse reality (of usage).


Beyond Pronouns: Teaching and Using Non-Binary Grammar in the French Classroom

Date and place: TBA
Cécile Tresfels, Assistant Professor of French

Cécile TresfelsMy research focuses on inclusive pedagogies in second-language acquisition, and explores how the way we teach grammar can implicitly create a hierarchy of values, reinforcing the norms that support different systems of oppression (racism, sexism, transphobia, homophobia, ableism, fatphobia).

In this presentation, I will focus on how to implement non-binary grammar in the French classroom in order to be more inclusive of non-binary, trans and gender non-conforming students, to increase students’ interpersonal and intercultural proficiency, and, more broadly, to contribute to the deconstruction of the gender binary that is at the root of sexism, homophobia and transphobia.

It is now common practice to mention in the syllabus that the instructor is committed to respect the students’ gender identities and to use the pronouns that match these identities. Queer francophone communities have developed several neutral pronouns such as iel, al, or ol, that instructors can introduce the students to. However, it can be a challenge in French to expand this practice beyond the use of pronouns, since it is a gendered Romance language and since the use of non-binary forms has not been institutionalized yet.

In this presentation, I would like to focus on these challenges and to introduce resources and activities that can foster the progressive implementation of non-binary grammar in the French classroom, across the curriculum. I would also like to compare our experiences in the different languages that we teach at Williams, to shed light on the challenges and the resources that would be specific to the grammatical and linguistic structures of each language. Collaboration is at the heart of inclusive pedagogy design so I am looking forward to exchanging with everyone!