Language workshop at the LabPhon17 conference praised for inclusivity

Workshop notable for providing closed-captioning and Sign Language allowing many more researchers to be involved

University of British Columbia, one of the organisers and the original location for the conference. Photo by Martin Dee

Professor of Language Modelling Janet Pierrehumbert delivered a talk on “Lexical gang effects and the force of analogy over time” at an online workshop for the 17th Conference on Laboratory Phonology (LabPhon17).

The Us(e)Phon workshop focussed on how and why sound patterns of language change over time. It was conducted as a Zoom webinar, attracting 180 participants.

Janet Pierrehumbert

Professor Pierrehumbert said that the workshop was especially notable for “the exceptional degree of support the organizers provided for access by deaf people”.

With support from the University of Oregon and the Rochester Institute of Technology, the webinar offered closed-captioning and simultaneous interpretation into American Sign Language. According to a post-survey, this permitted the involvement of a very substantial number of researchers from around the world who could not otherwise have participated.

Labphon is the biennial conference of the Association for Laboratory Phonology. Co-hosted by the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University, LabPhon17 took place as an online event from July 6th to July 8th, with a special focus on the theme of “Laboratory Phonology on the Margins”.