Friday, March 22, 2013

at Bogazici University

Yesterday I attended a great talk by Aylin Küntay, a professor at my alma mater, Koc University. She was also one of my husband's professors when he was an undergraduate in psychology there. The talk was at Bogazici University. Here is the abstract.
Pragmatic development involves learning to use linguistic devices and non-linguistic action in a well-integrated way in relation to an interactive context. In this talk, I will show that pragmatic development is protracted and malleable by giving anecdotal and empirical examples from research on children’s knowledge of words/constructions and referential communication (learning to appropriately refer to things in the context of verbal communication). I will end with forward-looking thoughts in relation to applied sciences seeking to remedy the widely found disparities in children’s early language and communication abilities. 
The presentation focused on demonstratives in Turkish. Unlike English which has a dual system ('this' and 'that') in Turkish we have three options 'bu' and 'o' which pretty much correspond to this and that respectively) but we also have 'şu' pronounced as shu and I will not even attempt to explain how it works. It's one of those cool and weird things about my native language.
Aylin Küntay is a developmental psychologist, and a very prolific researcher, who uses a socicognitive perspective. It was really nice to see a good example of how a sociocognitive approach can be used in an experimental research design. I wish to see more studies like this in second language studies as well. As I see it, in terms of research design, some SLA research is completely out of touch with the recent trends in other disciplines. Anyway, here are some pictures from my day at Bogazici University.





The conference room had a very nice and unique interior design. I think it's part of the library or something

Bogazici University has a stunning view, very similar to my junior high school I was talking about in my previous posts

The view is much better when it's not so cloudy and gray

My best friend attended this university so I used to come and visit this campus very often when we were in college.

So many memories. It's very nostalgic to visit this campus again.

If you're a cat lover you'll love this campus; if you're allergic to them your visit might be a nightmarish experience

It was great to be at an academic environment.
In the evening, the students celebrated Newroz, the spring festival celebrated mostly by Kurdish people in Turkey. There was music and dancing. But I didn't personally attend the celebration because Engin and I were chatting with two graduate students, who have also attended the talk. The discussion was so nice that we talked until quite late. It was around 11:00 pm when we got home.
One of the graduate student told me that he followed my blog and I had two thoughts at the same time. The first one was "Oh, great! People are reading my blog. How nice!" and the second was "Oh, crap. People are actually reading my blog. That cannot be good." :-) Well anyway, it was a great day. I had a great time, got inspired by the beauty of the campus and the good company. I came back home physically very tired but all energized and motivated for writing my dissertation.

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