Andreea Calude

Dr. Andreea S. Calude is a linguist at the University of Waikato. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and a PhD in Linguistics from the University of Auckland. She researches grammar, language change and language evolution, but really, she will consider just about any language project that falls in her hands. She has a particular interest in New Zealand English (NZE) and in the use of words of Māori origin in NZE.

Evolution actually – A tale of two disciplines - Lippy Linguist

Nov 09, 2017

I wrote a recent post which touched on adopting approaches from other disciplines, specifically biology, and applying them to language data. It started a long time ago, that we realised language, as abstract and elusive as it might seem, can be thought of (and even more, modelled) in a similar vein to biological phenomena – people credit Darwin with this idea but given what we know about the attribution of scientific discoveries, the idea likely floated around in the air much before him. The realisation, once upon a time, was surely just a nice metaphor, a mere comment thrown to the wind, but today, it has had some unexpected consequences. The sparks of war It is not unusual to see research articles that ask linguistics questions and provide answers to these using methods borrowed from population genetics and evolutionary … Read More

Kia ora: how Māori borrowings shape New Zealand English - Lippy Linguist

Sep 29, 2017

New Zealand English is one of the youngest dialects of English. It exhibits a number of unique features and the use of words from the indigenous Māori language is probably the most salient and easily recognisable one. In our latest research, we found that the process by which Māori words are most frequently borrowed resembles the Darwinian concept of evolutionary fitness. Of words and genes Borrowings from Māori are so common that visitors to New Zealand only have to exit the plane to be greeted by haere mai. Sinead Leahy, CC BY-ND   New Zealand English is spoken nearly 20,000 kilometres away from the language which gave rise to it. Distinct from its closely related cousin, Australian English, but often mistaken for it, our variety of English is unique to New Zealand/Aotearoa. New Zealand English … Read More

The Freakonomics of questions - Lippy Linguist

Sep 27, 2017

Not every question is made equal 7am. Early. I am grumpy and not just at the prospect of the 48h journey we are about to embark on across the world, from London to Auckland. I need coffee. As I enter the café below our apartment, a female voice greets me: “What can I get you?” I stare blankly. It’s a café. It’s early. Coffee. Coo-ffee. Except of course there’s (yes, I am comfortable with using “there’s” here – a post for another day) a billion types of coffee (they even do flat whites in this part of the world nowadays). A simple question, yet the answer is slow in coming. According to new research, it is ok that I find such questions difficult. They are. Not every question is made equal and the “social economics theory of questions” can help … Read More

Learning foreign languages - Lippy Linguist

Sep 03, 2017

One of the perks of an academic career is having the ability to apply for, and all being well, be granted sabbatical leave. Of course, travelling with 2 children under 5 around the world is not quite the kind of sabbatical that most academics hope for, but I consider myself lucky to have a supportive husband who will willingly grab his passport and suitcase no matter how crazy the adventure (particularly if England – his country of birth – is one of the stops). Despite the feeling that we are a small travelling circus (though I feel comforted in not being alone in this feeling, as David Haywood so entertainingly details), here I am, in the heart of Reading, in the south of England, a stone-throw away from London leafing through the latest copy of the Guardian, as though … Read More

Puzzling over politeness - Lippy Linguist

Aug 20, 2017

As a parent of young children, I feel the weight of responsibility on my shoulders in regulating how our children speak – particularly when we are in public, but also during family get-togethers. Are they sufficiently polite? Do they remember to say “please” and “thank you”? Do they say “sorry”? The rules for such behaviours are assumed to be uniform, squeezed under the umbrella of “being polite” (which seems to correlate with being well-educated or from a “good” family) or under “cei șapte ani de-acasă” (in Romanian, literally “the seven years from home” – Romanian children start school at 6 or 7 years of age). But in reality, the “rules” vary drastically across language and culture. A Theory of Politeness Linguists Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson summarised how different cultures approach “the rules” in their 1987 book “Politeness: Some Universals … Read More

Worlds of Words - Lippy Linguist

Aug 07, 2017

Ever since the Great Eskimo Vocabulary Hoax, we may have all moved on a little from the “language X has Y words for Z”. It has indeed turned out that all those words for snow were actually based on a mere handful of roots (basic core words) that then acquired various bits of words (morphemes) to make what looked like diferent words, with different meanings, but which were not really all that different after all (the common core bit is shared). So Eskimo words for snow were not a good example of what might have otherwise been an interesting phenomenon. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water just yet. In the latest issue of Linguistic Typology, David Kemmerer points to new research from neuroscience which would have us thinking differently about the implications of … Read More

Words as windows into our minds - Infrequently Asked Questions

Jul 06, 2017

This article was originally posted on Royal Society Te Apārangi’s Past and Future series where, as part of 150th anniversary celebrations, early career researchers are invited to share discoveries in their fields from days gone by or give us a glimpse into where their research may take us in the future. This article is by Dr Andreea Calude, a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Waikato. Whom is out. Ought to is practically gone. Hangry is very much on the rise. Like the tide, language never stands still; it’s always on the move. Andreea Calude Using real human language extracts from New Zealand English obtained over the past 130 years, two researchers just published a study1 showing that words and their use are in a symbiotic, co-adaptative relationship. Words which are used frequently are becoming … Read More