The Ohio University Linguistics Department is celebrating 50 years of language teaching this school year. In a festive spirit, the the department welcomes 10 virtual lectures this semester that students and faculty can attend.
Colloquia feature current professors, program graduates, and former professors giving a lecture on a research topic related to language studies. The first colloquium took place on January 28 and the last of the semester will take place on April 22.
This week The 50th Anniversary Language Symposium will take place on Friday, February 4, from 12:55 p.m. to 1:50 p.m. Alumnus Tetiana Tytko will discuss one of her research proposals which investigates the effect of subtitles on language acquisition. of L2 vocabulary in music-based language learning. platform, “Rockalingua”.
Tytko holds an MA in English Languages and Literature. She graduated from OU after earning a master’s degree in Applied Linguistics in 2020. Now Tytko holds a Ph.D. student at the University of Maryland studying second language acquisition.
Because of her extensive knowledge of the field, Tytko, originally from Ukraine, said she has always had an interest in language studies.
“All my life I’ve loved learning languages,” Tytko said. “I speak Ukrainian, Russian and I speak English fluently.”
Tytko is also fluent in German, French and Spanish.
She started this project last semester and will present her most recent findings on Friday, February 4.
“It’s about how young Spanish learners pick up vocabulary,” Tytko said. “Specifically, I want to examine the effect of subtitles in this regard. I have access to young Spanish learners and the instructor they have uses this platform called ‘Rockalingua. [Rockalingua] invited a few people from the University of Maryland to do some research.
Tytko studies subtitles, specifically comparing dynamic subtitles to static subtitles. She studies the benefits of having visual material in addition to auditory material when it comes to consuming media in another language.
“For example, if a teacher shows a video with dynamic captions, the students listen to the songs and they also have visual input,” Tytko said. “But sometimes the teacher may present the exact same song but with the lyrics and the worksheet which I will treat as static captions. I will design an experiment and compare these different modalities.
Oli Arambula, a freshman studying History and Spanish, has experienced first-hand the benefits of language acquisition through auditory and visual media.
“My parents watched telenovelas a lot and it helped me learn new vocabulary,” Arambula said.
The chief organizer of the 50th anniversary language colloquia is David Bell, chair of the UO linguistics department and associate professor of applied linguistics. As chief organizer, Bell is responsible for coordinating weekly events and contacting potential speakers.
Although the pandemic has changed the language department’s approach to colloquia, including delaying the 50th anniversary by a year, the virtual setup of events has proven advantageous.
“The move to online platforms has also been beneficial in some ways because we’ve found that we can have a really comprehensive colloquium and we don’t have to think about funding people to come to campus,” Bell said. “Our symposium has grown and it’s great.
Bell and the ministry had three motivations for hosting the colloquia.
“First, we want to hear from our former alumni because it’s a big inspiration to my current students,” Bell said. “The second motivation is that it helps us connect better with our alumni. Then the third motivation is to help them in their careers.
Tytko’s research aligns perfectly with a specific class Bell teaches Introduction to Research Methods in Applied Linguistics. He is thrilled to give his students an example of what field research looks like.
“Tetiana is going to demonstrate one of these particular research methods,” Bell said. “Because she is a [alumna], that means it’s much easier for my students to look at Tetiana and say, “She took the same class as me and now she’s doing all these fantastic things.” Those are all kinds of things that Tetiana will bring and Tetiana is a wonderful person, so it will be great to see her.
After the 50th Anniversary Linguistics Colloquium is over, Bell and the department hope to end the year of celebration with a party. The department even commissioned Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery to make a special beer for Linguistics’ anniversary.
“It’s not really the time to think about parties, but we desperately want to throw a party, so hopefully in April we can get together to celebrate the 50th anniversary together,” Bell said.