The Department hosts a biennial Symposium on Language and Linguistics, bringing together distinguished researchers on current topics of intensive interest. The last symposium took place in March 2008 and was organized by Masayoshi Shibatani on the topic of Language Complexity. For more information, visit the symposium's web page at 12th Biennial Rice Symposium on Language and Linguistics, where the program of talk titles and the associated abstracts are still accessible.

The 11th Biennial Rice University Symposium on Language was held March 16th-18th, 2006. The topic was "intertheoretical approaches to complex verb constructions". Fourteen speakers gave talks on a variety of approaches to elucidating the history and structure of complex predicates, including light verb constructions, vector verbs, and serial verbs. For more information about this recent symposium, click here .

The Tenth Biennial Rice Linguistics Symposium entitled "Stancetaking in Discourse: Subjectivity in Interaction", was organized by Professor Robert Englebretson, and took place March 31-April 3, 2004. Visit the conference web page for more information. A collection of papers based on this symposium entitled Stancetaking in Discourse: Subjectivity, Evaluation, Interaction was edited by Robert Englebretson and published Oct. 2007 by John Benjamins Publishing.

The Ninth Biennial Symposium entitled "Speech Perception in Context", organized by Prof. Nancy Niedzielski, was held March 14-16, 2002. The purpose of this symposium was to bring together researchers who investigate what knowledge systems are involved in the perception process and how these systems interact. Although the participants were from such different fields as linguistics, psychology, neurology, and electrical engineering, they shared an interest in examining speech perception as a phenomenon in a way that moves beyond mere phonetic pattern matching, and instead appeals to the entire range of cognitive systems involved in perceiving speech in more natural contexts. For the list please visit the symposium page.

The Eighth Biennial Rice University Symposium on Linguistics was held April 6-9, 2000 on "Causation and Interpersonal Manipulation in Languages of Central and South America". The papers from that symposium were edited by Masayoshi Shibatani, and the volume is in print (John Benjamins Publishers, 2001).

The Seventh Biennial Symposium was held March 26-29, 1997. Its focus was "On the Interface between Comparative Linguistics and Grammaticalization Theory: Languages of the Americas." Participants were Bernd Heine (Institut für Afrikanistik, Universität zu Köln), Marianne Mithun (UCSanta Barbara), T. Givón (UOregon), Terrence Kaufman (UPittsburgh) Aryon Rodrigues (Universidade de Brasilia), Wallace Chafe (UCSanta Barbara), Sérgio Meira (Rice University), Alexandra Aikhenvald (Australian National University), and Spike Gildea (Rice University). A volume of the resulting papers edited by Spike Gildea and entitled Reconstructing Grammar: Comparative Linguistics and Grammaticalization Theory was published by John Benjamins in 2000.

The Sixth Biennial Linguistics Symposium was on the topic of "Usage-Based Models of Language." The resulting volume of selected papers, edited by Michael Barlow and Suzanne Kemmer, appeared in May 2000, published by CSLI Publications (Stanford). Contributors to the volume include Ronald Langacker, Joan Bybee, Sydney Lamb, Brian MacWhinney, Connie Dickinson and T. Givón, Mira Ariel, Arie Verhagen, Douglas Biber, and Michael Barlow. For more information or to order the volume, see Usage-based Models.