Linguists away at Summer School
HSE lecturers and students took part in the 2015 Summer School near the town of Dubna from July 11 through August 10. The representatives of the HSE School of Linguistics organised two different workshops at this year’s School, one on Language and the Brain, aimed at research in the field of neurolinguistics, and one on Linguistics Research, the main areas of which included field linguistics and anthropology.
The Language and Brain workshop was first carried out during the 2014 Summer School. Its creators and instructors included Mariya Khudyakova, Rosa Vlasova, and researchers from the Neurolinguistics Laboratory. The faculty of this year’s workshop gained another member, however – Andrés Felipe Reyes, who came to the Summer School from Columbia. The workshop was meant to provide for a symbiosis of knowledge from various fields of science, which is why each instructor discussed his or her area of research with workshop participants. At Mariya Khudyakova’s lectures, for example, students became acquainted with the foundations of theoretical linguistics and learned about concepts such as phonemes, morphemes, semantics, syntax, and discourse. In addition, Rosa Vlasova talked about the anatomy of the brain and methods for studying its functioning, while Mr Reyes gave various lectures devoted to the chemical transmission of signals in the brain and to the effect different drugs have on the brain. Students from the School of Linguistics also helped organise this year’s workshop; Elizaveta Ivtushok and Grigory Ignatyev carried out experiments and shared their knowledge with students. Elizaveta talked about neurovisualization and fMRI, while Grigory discussed the lateralization of speech and the statistical processing of experimental data. The final stage of the workshop was devoted to student projects. Participants had to create a design for their linguistics experiment and carry it out. Their efforts turned out to be a huge success.
For the first time ever, this year’s Summer School had a workshop on linguistics research called ‘Pure Linguists’ so as not to confuse it with the Language and the Brain workshop. This workshop saw the participation of students and graduates of the humanities, particularly those with philology backgrounds. The workshop’s main goal was to teach participants the foundations of linguistics and anthropology, including methods for collecting and processing field data. In addition, the workshop aimed to introduce participants to the linguistic diversity of Russia, thereby showing them that they can study ‘exotic’ languages without even leaving the country. Instructors came to the workshop from Moscow and St. Petersburg and included School of Linguistics Associate Professor Yury Lander, who taught classes on the basics of linguistics and gave lectures on languages of the Caucasus. Natalia Tyshkevich, a first year master’s student, taught Summer School participants about the tools used to create text corpora. Workshop organisers included various students and alumni of the School of Linguistics: Lyubov Klimenchenko, a second-year master’s student; Anna Rusanova, who graduated with her bachelor’s in 2015; and Ilya Uchitel, a first-year master’s student. Ilya was the mastermind behind the workshop and came up with the idea of focusing on linguistics research in particular.