Being a final year PhD student in the department of Applied Linguistics at Swansea University, I have had the fortunate opportunity to present my research to friends, colleagues and experts in the field, across nine different conference organisations, in six different countries. My research focuses on the representation and processing of Welsh grammatical gender in Welsh-English adult bilinguals and considers the effect(s) of various individual factors and differences.
One of my earlier pieces in the Swansea University AppLing Blog featured my conference journey, detailing my first conference poster presentation at EuroSLA 27 at the end of my undergraduate degree, through to presenting a talk as part of the Early Research Careers panel at the Multilingualism and Multi-Identities in Wales conference in 2019. My presentations from 2018 to 2020 included my MA work, which investigated the predictive processing of Welsh grammatical gender. This project highlighted the need for a basic understanding in how Welsh speakers represent and process gender, which served as a basis for my PhD thesis.
Summer 2022 at ISBPAC & EuroSLA31
My most recent presentations were in the summer of 2022, at two prestigious and internationally recognised conferences. The first was at ISBPAC, in UiT The Arctic University of Norway, which has a main interest in language processing in bilingual adults and children. My poster presentation included the results from the first experiment of two in my PhD, investigating the representation of Welsh grammatical gender. I received positive feedback on my experimental design and results, with suggestions on how best to further analyse and interpret the data.
The second poster presentation was at EuroSLA 31, at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. This was the larger of the two conferences, with over 300 attendees, of which 100 were PhD students. This presentation included experiment one findings and the initial results from my second experiment, which investigates the processing of Welsh grammatical. I received constructive feedback and guidance on how best to analyse the self-paced reading task data, using complex statistical modelling in R.
In addition to networking, attending interesting talks and presenting my research, conferences offer important opportunities to make new friends (and possibly future colleagues) and to experience new places. It was my second time visiting UiT in Norway, where I was lucky enough to try some new food (deer and whale!) and to do some sight-seeing on the island, while it was my first-time visiting Switzerland. Fribourg is a beautiful medieval old city with rich history, with historic buildings standing from the 14th century. We (myself and my supervisor, Dr Vivienne Rogers) ate fondu with friends on our last evening in a small restaurant overlooking the Sarine river. These experiences, combined with those from the conferences themselves, make for invaluable and enjoyable memories.