Michael Sayle Conference Summary
Second Language Acquisition and Teaching GIDP
American Association of Applied Linguistics 2016 Conference
April 9-12, 2016
With the assistance of the Carter Travel Award, I was able to attend the annual conference of the American Association of Applied Linguistics and present the preliminary findings from my doctoral research. Because this is one of the larger conferences in my field, my hope was that I would be able to get critical, scholarly feedback from experts in my specific sub-discipline outside the University of Arizona. The paper I presented argues that in some utterances figurative language processes are used at an argument structure level in order to resolve the interpretation of non-canonical objects; the study uses experimental data from native and non-native speakers of Mandarin, though the presentation focused on the findings from the non-native speakers and some implications for language acquisition.
Though my research is in figurative language processing, it was exciting to hear research being done in areas that I teach – Second Language Writing – and in areas that I’ve held strong interest. In particular, the presentation and private discussions afterwards on discipline-specific guidebooks on academic writing gave me additional directions for both research and application as well as professional contacts. It was also exciting to hear translation – a less-common, interdisciplinary crossover for applied linguistics – represented in a plenary session; though the originally invited speaker was unable to present, the replacement was well chosen to be able to address the original subject matter.
Attending this conference has strengthened my love for Applied Linguistics and my enthusiasm for my own research. As much as the feedback on my research will be beneficial in completing my dissertation, the new and renewed contacts established there made the Carter Travel Award that much more appreciated.