The Linguistics graduate students at U of I just hosted the 15th Annual Meeting of the Illinois Language and Linguistics Society! The annual academic conference took place on March 3rd - 4th at the Illini Union and attracted a total of 134 attendees, including 15 faculty members and 89 graduate students from U of I and other universities. Attendees came from various regions of the US and Canada to join us at ILLS, with some traveling from Chicago, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, and California. At least 30 undergraduate students, primarily from U of I, also took part in ILLS this year. 

In light of this year’s theme, “Interdisciplinary Approaches to Bilingualism”, ILLS15 brought together THE bilingualism experts in their respective subfields for the plenary talks: 

Lydia White (James McGill Professor of Linguistics Emeritus, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada) 

Johanne Paradis (Professor of Linguistics and Adjunct Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders; Associate Chair of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta) 

Viorica Marian (Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Northwestern University) 

Barbara E. Bullock (Professor of French Linguistics at the University of Texas, Austin) 

Recordings of plenary talks by Lydia White and Johanne Paradis are available here.


The two conference days also featured 19 competitive talks and 11 poster presentations on a diverse range of work with experimental and computational methods, topics on sociolinguistics, phonology, syntax, pragmatics, and the processing of first and second languages. 

One of the featured speakers, Jon Stevens (AI Language Capability Lead, Information Research, AbbVie), presented the applications and research directions of linguistics in AbbVie, a pharmaceutical company that was one of the sponsors of ILLS15. We hope that this year sets a precedent for inviting researchers from the industry sector to speak at ILLS for many years to come to continue bridging the gap between advances in theoretical linguistics research and practical applications of NLP. 

This year, ILLS also hosted conference dinners on both days: a reception dinner at Illini Union on March 3rd and a second dinner at the Big Grove Restaurant in downtown Champaign on March 4th

We extend our warmest thanks to the generous sponsors and funders that helped us raise a total of $14,142 in funds for ILLS15

Department of Linguistics, Center for Advanced Study, Department of Communication, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Department of French and Italian, Department of Anthropology, Department of African American Studies, Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Second Language Acquisition and Teacher Education Program (SLATE), Center for Global Studies, Women and Gender in Global Perspectives, Beckman Institute, European Union Center at Illinois, Office of the Dean of LAS, Center for East Asian & Pacific Studies; Russian, East European, and Eurasian Center; School of Literatures, Cultures and Linguistics; Humanities Research Institute, Student Organization Resource Fee, Student Sustainability Committee, and AbbVie. 

Last, but certainly not least, a huge thanks to over 50 graduate and undergraduate student volunteers who made ILLS15 run smoothly, and to the wonderful ILLS15 organizing committee, who worked for months in preparation for the event and during both days of the conference! We have received exclusively positive feedback and praise on the organization of ILLS15 from all the plenary speakers and the attending U of I faculty members.

Co-Chairs: Mai Mohamed, Aylin Coşkun Kunduz 

Committee: Sibel Arikoglu, Hanna Asmaeil, Abdulsamad Humaidan, Elif Varlik, Hilal Karakorkmaz, Yu-Wen Lien, Katherine Kwak, Abraham Ulloa, Anna Romaniuk, Amelia Tighe, Caio Albernaz, Izaro Bedialauneta Txurruka, Katie VanDyne, Yvette Bandin, Luis David Gaytán-Soto, Braden Muscarello, Paul Nowakowski, Isela Silvera, Allison Casar, Costanza Vallicelli, Lilia Dobos 


More photos from ILLS15 can be found here