October 15, 2017

Alexei Kochetov and Jessica Yeung in Hawai'i (25th Japanese/Korean Linguistics Conference)

Alexei Kochetov (faculty) and Jessica Yeung (PhD1) have attended the 25th Japanese/Korean Linguistics Conference at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa and presented the paper:
'Inhibition of Korean palatalization in L2 English: Electropalatographic data', co-authored with Kelly-Ann Blake (MA), Andrei Munteanu (PhD1), Fiona Wilson (PhD2), and Luke Zhou (MA graduate). This paper was based on a term project done as part of LIN1211H1S Advanced Phonetics (Winter 2017) 'The phonetics of bilingual speech'.

October 14, 2017

Field Methods (JAL401H1 F/ LEC 5101) Malagasy Workshop

Field Methods (JAL401H1 F/ LEC 5101), taught by Suzi Lima, is holding a Malagasy Workshop on December 11th (2017). Students in the class will present their research projects on Malagasy, and there will also be talks from invited speakers Ileana Paul (Western University) and Lisa Travis (McGill). The room and schedule are TBA, but click here for the website and call for papers.

October 12, 2017

1st Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal Indigenous Languages of Latin America Workshop

The first annual TOMILLA (Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal Indigenous Languages of Latin America) Workshop is being held at UofT on November 24th, 2017 (room TBA, see the website for updates). Below are the talks and posters.

Three theses about active-stative languages (Andrés Pablo Salanova, University of Ottawa, & Javier Carol, Universidad de Buenos Aires)

What is the motivation behind allomorphy in the number markers in Wichí (Jimena Terraza, Université du Québec à Montréal, & Lorena Cayré Baito, Universidad Nacional del Nordeste)

The Possessive Analysis: Support for the Nominal Interpretation of Property Words in Tupi-Guarani (Justin Case, University of Ottawa)

Noun Classifiers, (in)definiteness, and pronouns in Chuj (Justin Royer, McGill)

Poster 1: Adjectives in Chuj (Paulina Elias, McGill)

Poster 2: On the count-mass distinction in Nheengatu (Francy Fontes, UFRJ, Cal Janik-Jones, UofT, Suzi Lima UofT/UFRJ)

Poster 3: Language Vitality in Macuxi and Wapichana in Terra Indigena Serra da Lua, Roraima (Vidhya Elango, UofT, & Isabella Coutinho, UERR/UFRJ)

Switch-reference in Yudja (Guillaume Thomas, UofT, & Suzi Lima, UofT/UFRJ)

October 10, 2017

Visit from Gillian Sankoff and Bill Labov

Gillian Sankoff and Bill Labov visited us on Friday (Oct 6, 2017) from the University of Pennsylvania. In the morning they held a discussion with students and faculty in the Language Variation & Change research group, and in the afternoon Gillian gave a talk on lifespan variation.

Sali Tagliamonte (faculty), Gillian Sankoff, Bill Labov, and Jack Chambers (faculty)

Reception after Gillian's talk

October 1, 2017

Team Faetar at UWO

On the way from a class project in LIN 1256: Language Contact, Corpora & Analysis in 2017 to a talk at NWAV 46 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Team Faetar presented its latest research (and some earlier research!) on subject pronouns in Faetar, an endangered variety of Francoprovençal spoken on two mountaintops in southern Italy and a small group of speakers in the GTA. Presenting were:
  • David Heap, Professor of Linguistics at UWO, who started working on Faetar as a grad student at U of T, as part of a project examining dialect atlas data to understand Romance subject pronoun systems.
  • Michael Iannozzi, a PhD student at Western who, as an undergrad linguist at UofT, analyzed variable null subjects in Faetar.
  • Naomi Nagy, Associate professor of linguistics at UofT.
  • Katherina Pabst, PhD student in linguistics at UofT.
  • Fiona Wilson, PhD student in linguistics at UofT.
Not able to be present, but part of the research team for this project were:
  • Lex Konnelly, PhD student in linguistics at UofT.
  • Savannah Meslin, who earned her MA in linguistics at UofT in 2017 and now teaches French at the Canada's National Ballet School
Fiona and Katharina gave a talk entitled, “Transmission of Variation Between Homeland and Heritage Faetar”, as part of the Western Linguistics speaker series.

Team Faetar September 2017: David, Fiona, Katharina, Naomi & Michael at Western

September 29, 2017

2016-2017 Undergraduate Awards

We are pleased to announce the winners of 4 Undergraduate Awards in Linguistics for 2016-17:
  • The Chambers Award is awarded to Katherine Alexandra Sung, Specialist in Linguistics
  • The McNab Award is awarded to Toshiaki Kamifuji, Specialist in Linguistics
  • The Rogers Award is awarded to Yan-Lum Charissa Chan, Major in Linguistics
A new award is added this year, for outstanding achievement in required 200-level courses:
  • The Gold Award is awarded to Jeffrey Wang, Major in Linguistics
There are also two runners-up for this award:
  • Toshiaki Kamifuji, Specialist in Linguistics
  • Calahan Janik-Jones, Specialist in Linguistics
Congratulations to all these students for their academic achievements!

September 25, 2017

Photo from Manitoba Workshop on Person

The Manitoba Workshop on Person was held this past weekend at the University of Manitoba. Here's a picture of UofT people (names below):

Back row, left to right: Betsy Ritter (former postdoc), Will Oxford (PhD 2014, now at U Manitoba), Michael Wagner (former graduate exchange student 1998, now at McGill), Martha McGinnis (BA 1992, MA 1993, now at U Victoria), Diane Massam (faculty), Jila Ghomeshi (PhD 1996, now at U Manitoba), Richard Compton (PhD 2012, now at UQAM)
Front row, left to right: Andrew Peters (PhD), Lex Konnelly (PhD), Elizabeth Cowper (faculty), Tomohiro Yokoyama (PhD), Bronwyn Bjorkman (former postdoc, now at Queen's), Michelle Yuan (MA 2013, now a PhD student at MIT)

September 24, 2017

Photos from 5th Annual Meeting on Phonology (2017)

The 5th Annual Meeting on Phonology (AMP) was recently held at New York University (click here for list of UofT talks). Here are some pictures from the conference.

Poster by Alexei Kochetov (faculty), Laura Colantoni (Spanish & Portuguese), & Jeffrey Steele (French Dept.)

Talk by Mia Sara Misic (MA), Zhiyao Che, Fernanda Lara Peralta (BA), Karmen Kenda-Jež (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts) & Peter Jurgec (faculty)

Poster by Suyeon Yun (UTSC post-doc) & Yoonjung Kang (faculty)

September 20, 2017

Ngumpin-Yapa Workshop (2017, University of Queensland)

The Ngumpin-Yapa Workshop (on the Ngumpin-Yapa subgroup of the Pama-Nyungan language family in Australia) was held at the University of Queensland on August 10th and 11th, 2017. From our department, Jessica Mathie (Ph.D.) presented her paper "Through the looking-glass: Ngarinyman expressions of searching, looking and finding".

Workshop participants

September 17, 2017

Manitoba Workshop on Person 2017

The Manitoba Workshop on Person is being held on September 22 and 23 (2017) at the University of Manitoba. Invited speakers from our department:

Susana Bejar (faculty): Ineffable person in copular complements 

Bronwyn Bjorkman (former post-doc, now at Queen's), Elizabeth Cowper (faculty), Daniel Currie Hall (PhD 2007, now at Saint Mary's University), and Andrew Peters (PhD): Person and deixis in Heiltsuk pronouns

Michelle Yuan (MA 2013, now at MIT): Plural person and associativity (in Inuktitut)

Diane Massam (faculty): Person and null pronouns

And other presentations from our department:

Tomohiro Yokoyama (PhD): The Person Case Constraint: Repairing the notion of “repair”

Lex Konnelly (PhD) and Elizabeth Cowper (faculty): The future is they: The feature geometry of non-binary gender

Richard Compton (PhD 2012, now at UQAM): Inuktitut PCC revisited

Will Oxford (PhD 2014, now at University of Manitoba): Person and the Algonquian inverse

September 14, 2017

5th Annual Meeting on Phonology (2017)

The 5th Annual Meeting on Phonology (AMP) is being held at New York University from September 15 to 17 (2017). Alumna Yining Nie (MA 2015; now PhD NYU) was one of the student organizers of the conference. Presentations from UofT:

Mia Sara Misic (MA), Zhiyao Che, Fernanda Lara Peralta (BA), Karmen Kenda-Jež (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts) & Peter Jurgec (faculty): Nasal harmony and nasalization in Mostec Slovenian

Suyeon Yun (UTSC post-doc) & Yoonjung Kang (faculty): Allophonic variation of the word-initial liquid in North and South Korean dialects

Alexei Kochetov (faculty), Laura Colantoni (Spanish & Portuguese), & Jeffrey Steele (French Dept.): Gradient and categorical effects in native and non-native nasal-rhotic coordination

Nicholas Rolle (MA 2010; now PhD at University of California, Berkeley), Transparadigmatic output-output correspondence

Sharon Rose (BA 1990; now Professor and Chair at University of California, San Diego), ATR Harmony: new typological patterns and diagnostics 

September 7, 2017

Corpora in the Classroom

Two increasingly important domains in linguistics are the study of spontaneous speech and the analysis of large corpora of natural language data. Our Linguistics Department has professors and students who do both.

To improve the instructional infrastructure and scaffold undergraduate and graduate class assignments that teach relevant theory and research skills, we have developed a teaching resource called Corpora in the Classroom (https://corpora.chass.utoronto.ca/), on which hundreds of hours of recorded and digitized speech from 9 languages (so far) are archived and meta-data-tagged.

This tool has been used in 7 or 8 sociolingusitics classes over the past 5 years, but we are hoping to expand its utility and use to additional classes/areas. If you'd like to use this tool or contribute data to it, please have a look at the demo pages (https://corpora.chass.utoronto.ca/demo/) and then contact Naomi to discuss. (Sample assignments using this tool for a 1st year course are at http://individual.utoronto.ca/ngn/LIN/courses/TBB199/TBB199.16W_syll.htm, HWs 11 & 13.)

The project has been funded by internal ITIF and CRIF grants, Keren Rice's CRC funds, and SSHRC.

September 1, 2017

SemDial 2017

The 21st Workshop on the Semantics and Pragmatics of Dialogue (SemDial 2017 – SaarDial) was held August 15-17, 2017 at Saarland University in Saarbrücken, Germany. From our department, Angelika Kiss (PhD) presented her paper "Meta-conversational since when-questions and the common ground".

August 31, 2017

LVC memes

In case you missed it, this Drake meme was floating around linguistics circles on Facebook. (Caption: "Reading about dialectology is better than reading fiction :P".)

August 28, 2017

Andrei Munteanu, Dresher award winner, presenting at CRC

Andrei Munteanu (MA), winner of the 2016-17 Dresher Phonology Prize for outstanding work in a graduate phonology course, presented his winning work at the 2017 CRC-Sponsored Summer Phonetics/Phonology Workshop on August 15th: "Co-occurrence restrictions in English: A corpus study". Here's a picture of his talk:

August 23, 2017

Brazilian Indigenous languages research excursion program

(See the course blog here for pictures and updates: https://uoftbrazil.wordpress.com/)

This summer, Suzi Lima (faculty in Spanish & Portuguese, as well as Linguistics) has been teaching a course called "Brazilian Indigenous Languages: documentation, language maintenance and revitalization" in the Spanish & Portuguese department. The first four classes were held at UofT, and the final six classes (starting August 18th) are being held in Brazil, where the students are receiving hands-on training for language documentation projects and collaborative research.

I'd highly recommend checking out the blog link above (or click here); Suzi and her students and colleagues are doing a great job of documenting their progress in Brazil with pictures and updates.

If you're interested in research on Brazilian Indigenous languages but weren't able to join the class and go on this research excursion, check out the Brazilian Indigenous Language research group (https://brazilianlanguagesuoft.wordpress.com/) at UofT.

August 22, 2017

Solar eclipse nerds

Toronto was in the path of the August 2017 eclipse (a partial eclipse for us, at more than 70% coverage of the sun), and a contingent of linguists went outside of Sid Smith to (safely) see it.

(L-to-R): Derek Denis (faculty), Nathan Sanders (faculty), Dan Milway (PhD), Michela Ippolito (faculty), Jennifer McCallum (graduate administrator), Zoe McKenzie (PhD), Savannah Meslin (MA), Luke Zhou (MA), Clarissa Forbes (PhD), Robert Prazeres (PhD)

August 19, 2017

Distinctive featured linguists

From the CRC-Sponsored Summer Phonetics/Phonology Workshop. (Credit: Naomi Nagy)

August 18, 2017

Association of French Language Studies conference Blue Jays outing

UofT linguistics profs Alexei Kochetov, Jeff Steele and Naomi Nagy attended the Association of French Language Studies conference outing to the Blue Jays-Yankees game on Aug. 10, following 3 full days of interesting talks about French in a wide range of contexts.

August 17, 2017

New volume on ergativity, edited by Diane Massam and colleagues

The Oxford Handbook of Ergativity was recently published. This volume, which was edited by Diane Massam (faculty) alongside colleagues Jessica Coon and Lisa deMena Travis at McGill, includes almost fifty articles on ergativity (from theoretical approaches to case studies to experimental work). Congratulations on this Diane, I know how much work and coordination has gone into this!

Authors featured in this volume include Julie Anne Legate (MA 1997, now at University of Pennsylvania), Alana Johns (faculty, co-authoring with Ivona Kucerova at McMaster), Richard Compton (PhD 2012, now at Université du Québec à Montréal), and Tyler Peterson (visiting assistant professor 2012-2013, now at University of Auckland). Click here for more information, or read the abstract below.

This volume offers theoretical and descriptive perspectives on the issues pertaining to ergativity, a grammatical patterning whereby direct objects are in some way treated like intransitive subjects, to the exclusion of transitive subjects. This pattern differs markedly from nominative/accusative marking whereby transitive and intransitive subjects are treated as one grammatical class, to the exclusion of direct objects. While ergativity is sometimes referred to as a typological characteristic of languages, research on the phenomenon has shown that languages do not fall clearly into one category or the other and that ergative characteristics are not consistent across languages.

Chapters in this volume look at approaches to ergativity within generative, typological, and functional paradigms, as well as approaches to the core morphosyntactic building blocks of an ergative construction; related constructions such as the anti-passive; related properties such as split ergativity and word order; and extensions and permutations of ergativity, including nominalizations and voice systems. The volume also includes results from experimental investigations of ergativity, a relatively new area of research. A wide variety of languages are represented, both in the theoretical chapters and in the 16 case studies that are more descriptive in nature, attesting to both the pervasiveness and diversity of ergative patterns.