"Methods in English Linguistics"

ISLE Summer School - 2016


  • Prof. Rens Bod (University of Amsterdam)
  • Prof Paul Boersma (University of Amsterdam)
  • Dr Martin Hilpert (University of Lausanne)
  • Dr Florian Jaeger (University of Rochester)
  • Dr Sible Andringa (University of Amsterdam)
  • Prof. Alison Wray (University of Cardiff)


University of Amsterdam, 13 - 16 June 2016


English Department, University of Amsterdam, ACLC (Amsterdam Centre for Language and Communication) and ILLC (Institute for Logic and Communication)

Aim and scope of the school: "Methods in linguistics: workshops on corpus-based and experimental approaches and phonetic analysis"

In virtually all its subfields ranging from historical linguistics to sociolinguistics to psycholinguistics, the study of English linguistics has been drawing increasingly on quantitative empirical methods. As a consequence of this development, the acquisition of solid methodological skills is of key importance for the next generation of researchers in the field. Recognizing the growing demand in expertise in both corpus-based and experimental designs and the visualization and statistical analysis of linguistic data, the 2016 ISLE summer school is specifically geared to cater to the needs of young researchers (research master-level, PhD-level), whose training often does not comprise a sufficient number of method-oriented components. In particular, the 2016 ISLE summer school provides participants with an excellent opportunity to further develop their methodological skills in three key areas in the study of English (corpus-based analysis, experimental design, phonetic analysis with state-of-the art software PRAAT). By keeping learner groups small (Nparticipants = 10-15), training in the summer school can also be fine-tuned to meet the specific needs of participants and to allow for effective practice. Furthermore, the modular structure of all courses – each proceeding from a basic level component on day 1, through two advanced levels at days two and three – permits participants to combine course elements from all three topic areas, enabling the selection of contents so as to fit the background and needs of individual participants. For example, participants who primarily seek to further develop their skills in corpus analysis but who have some basic experience in this area may choose to skip the introduction to this topic on day 1 and may in its place attend the introduction to any other method they are less familiar with, say phonetic analysis with PRAAT. In sponsoring the summer school, the International Society for the Linguistics of English (ISLE) aims at providing a forum for MA and PhD students and early career researchers to familiarize themselves with developments in the field and to strengthen their international networks of cooperation.

Format of the Summer School:

Thematically-defined workshops plus keynote addresses.

Workshops & teaching Faculty

The summer school will run in three parallel workshops that differ in their respective topic areas, covering topics in corpus-based analysis, experimental design, and phonetic analysis with PRAAT:

  1. Corpus-based approaches to the study of language (Martin Hilpert)
  2. Experimental approaches to the study of language (Sible Andringa)
  3. Phonetic analysis with PRAAT (Paul Boersma/Team)

All workshops have a modular structure: Each topic proceeds from fundamental issues (day 1) to more advanced issues (days 2 and 3).

Keynote lectures

In addition to the workshops, the summer school will also comprise three keynote lectures from internationally renowned researchers.

T. Florian Jaeger: "Progress in the study of language universals"

T. Florian Jaeger is Associate Professor and Director of Center of Language Sciences at the University of Rochester.

His work revolves around questions of how production and comprehension complexity (due to locality; expectation) influences speakers' choice in language variation. Florian and his team use psycholinguistic experimentation and corpus-based statistical modeling to investigate whether/to what extent speakers use prosodic and syntactic cues to make unexpected information easier to process, and to which extend this is done for their addressees.

Alison Wray: "Can Linguists Predict who will get Alzheimer’s Disease?"

Alison Wray is Research Professor and Director of Research for the School of English, Communication and Philosophy at the University of Cardiff.

Her major research contribution in the past few years has been in developing new understandings about formulaic language. Alison developed a theoretical model of how language is learned, processed and stored, and has applied it, through experiments and other investigations, to issues in first and second language acquisition, language disability and the evolution of language. She has written about the role of formulaic language in translation, the capacity for formulaic language to materially improve the quality of a non-native speaker's interaction, and the nature of formulaic language in language disorders, particularly Alzheimer’s Disease.

Rens Bod: "Hierarchical versus Sequential Processing in Language: Towards a Linguistics without Structure?"

Rens Bod is professor of Digital Humanities and Director of the Center for Digital Humanities at the University of Amsterdam.

He investigates the humanities from both computational and historical perspectives. His computational work covers natural language cognition, computational musicology, digital aesthetics and computational literary studies. In the field of digital humanities, he coordinates over 20 public-private partnerships in virtually all subfields of the humanities. He is one of the main architects of the so-called data-oriented parsing model, a general machine-learning technique for attributing structure to humanities data.


Registrations are invited from research masters (or equivalent) and doctoral students in the fields of linguistics of English.

We will accept a maximum of forty-five participants.

Applicants are invited to submit:

  1. A brief (1 page) CV
  2. An indication of the workshop you would like to follow and – if possible – a second choice
  3. A short indication (1 page) of current research interests
  4. (optional) If you intend to apply for a travel bursary, please provide the required information documenting your eligibility (see details on this below in the section on ‘Financial Support’

This information will be passed on to the instructors of the workshop, allowing them to tailor the course contents to the specific needs and interests of the participants.

Applications should be submitted electronically to:

Mrs Brigitte Ehrreich (Secretary of the Summer School), Email: Evenementen-eng-fgw@uva.nl

The deadline for submissions is 13 December 2015.


Registration fee: 80 € to be paid before January 15 after notification of acceptance (end of December 2015).

Tuition: For ISLE members: 150 € (early registration until April 1); 200 € (late registration after April 1). Non-ISLE members: 250 € (early registration until April 1); 300 € (late registration after April 1).

Costs for board and lodging will range from around € 45 per day (room share & budget option) to € 130 per day (hotel-type accommodation). You might also want to consider renting a place to stay from local hosts via airbnb.com.

Payments should be made to:

Olga Fischer

IBAN: NL72 INGB 000942 6736



In case your bank requires this information, the following may be relevant:

Recipient’s bank address: ING Bank N.V. 888 Bijlmerplein 1102 MG Amsterdam

Recipient's address: O.C.M. Fischer, Gijsbrecht van Aemstelstraat 17 hs, 1091 TB Amsterdam

Participants are expected to make their own travel arrangements.


Financial Support

ISLE has made available a number of travel bursaries, chiefly intended to help academically qualified participants who are not in regular employment. Please approach the organizer for modalities of applying.

If you would like to apply for a travel bursary, please indicate this in you application (see point 4 in “Participants”). Travel bursaries are restricted to participants who are not employed on a full-time basis, i.e. who are either employed on a part-time basis (up to 60% full-time equivalent) or receive financial grants or monies that do not cover the participation in the summer school. When applying for a travel bursary, please add relevant documentation of your eligibility to your application.

Travel bursaries are granted on a competitive basis. Application are examined by the ISLE executive and rank-ordered by quality. The ranking will be based solely on the perceived quality of the applicant. Bursaries are granted top-down until the respective funds are exhausted.

In the case a travel bursary is granted, participants will receive a lump-sum payment of (maximally, dependent on individual circumstances) EUR 350 (for participants from Europe) or EUR 700 (for participants form non-European countries). Participants will be reimbursed after appropriate documentation of travelling cost has been provided.

Further Information

For further information and regular updates refer to the ISLE homepage at http://www.isle-linguistics.org/. Please address inquiries to Prof. Olga Fischer (O.C.M.Fischer@uva.nl).