August 12, 2018

Derek featured in a National Post article on regional dialects

Derek Denis (faculty) was recently featured in the National Post article "Despite cultural globalization, Canadian regional dialects are stronger than ever". Click here to read it. Here's an excerpt:

However, according to Derek Denis, assistant professor of linguistics at the University of Toronto, such worries are completely unfounded. “The hype of linking media and the internet to language change has never panned out in the way we expected. People thought there would be this widespread standardization of languages, but that didn’t happen. Even though Peter Mansbridge was the host of The National and people in Newfoundland listened to him every day, Newfoundland English still sounds like Newfoundland English.”

August 8, 2018

Yu-Leng wins thesis award; dissertation to be published

Yu-Leng Lin (PhD 2016, now at Feng Chia University in Taiwan) has won the best thesis of 2017 award in a competition held by Hong Kong Polytechnic University, the Peking University Research Center on Chinese Linguistics, and Peking University Press. Her dissertation, titled "Sonority Effects and Learning Bias in Nasal Harmony", will be published as a monograph by Springer and Peking University Press individually (expected in 2018). Congratulations, Yu-Leng!

August 1, 2018

Daphna Heller honoring Micheal Tanenhaus, the 2018 Rumerlhart prize winner

Daphna Heller traveled to Madison, WI to participate in the 40th annual meeting of the Cognitive Science Society where her former post-doc supervisor Michael Tanenhaus was awarded the 2018 Rumelhart prize, the highest distinction in cognitive science. See the Cognitive Science Society's page 2018 Recipient: Michael Tanenhaus for more.


July 31, 2018

Linguistics Garden Party 2018

Sali and Naomi recently hosted a mid-summer garden party to celebrate the department's successes over the past year, with special attention on Keren's contributions to the department as she steps down as department chair.


July 7, 2018

Lunch hosted by Keren

Keren Rice, our outgoing department chair, recently held a lunch in the lounge to thank everyone who's helped make the department work during her term. Of course, she very much deserves our thanks too!



New volume: Recursion across Domains

A new edited volume, Recursion across Domains, has been released with many contributions from the UofT linguistics community:

Guillaume Thomas (faculty): Embedded Imperatives in Mbyá

Fábio Bonfim Duarte (visiting scholar): Clausal Recursion, Predicate Raising, and Head-Finality in Tenetehára

Suzi Lima (faculty) and Pikuruk Kayabi: Recursion of Possessives and Locative Phrases in Kawaiwete

Ana T. Pérez-Leroux (faculty), Anny Castilla-Earls, Susana Béjar (faculty), Diane Massam (emerita), and Tyler Peterson (former visiting faculty, now at Arizona): Strong Continuity and Children’s Development of DP Recursion

July 4, 2018

Na-Young wins Excellent Student Paper Award at AATK 2018

Congratulations to Na-Young Ryu (PhD), the winner of the Excellent Student Paper Award for her paper "Effects of L1 transfer and L2 experience on the perception of Korean vowels" at the 23rd Annual Conference of the American Association of Teachers of Korean (AATK), held at the University of Toronto, June 21–23, 2018.

July 3, 2018

Majed wins Best Student Poster Award at CLA 2018

Majed Al-Solami (PhD) has received the Best Student Poster Award for his poster "Vowel elision, stress, and dialect contact in Bedouin dialects" at the 2018 meeting of the Canadian Linguistic Association in Regina. Well done, Majed!

July 2, 2018

Congratulations, Phil!

Phil Howson has defended his doctoral thesis "A phonetic examination of rhotics: gestural representation accounts for phonological behaviour". The committee was comprised of Alexei Kochetov (supervisor), Philip J. Monahan, Peter Jurgec, Nathan Sanders, Anabela Rato (Spanish & Portuguese Dept.), and Khalil Iskarous (USC, Dept. Linguistics).

In related news, Phil has accepted a post-doctoral research position at the University of Oregon, working with supervisor Melissa Redford.

Congratulations to Phil on these two pieces of good news!

June 25, 2018

Report from LabPhon 16

The 16th Conference of the Association for Laboratory Phonology was recently held (June 19-22, 2018) at the University of Lisbon in Portugal. A list of the presentations from our department is below. Scroll down for lots of pictures from the conference and city! (The pictures are clickable for higher resolution.)

Yoonjung Kang (faculty), Suyeon Yun (Ehwa Womans University): Acquisition of Second Dialect Features by North Koreans in Seoul

Rachel Soo (MA), Philip Monahan (faculty): Lexical-phonological representations of tone in Cantonese heritage and native speakers

Jessamyn Schertz (faculty), Kara Hawthorne (Mississippi): Sentential Context Effects on Phonetic Categorization in Talkers with Non-Native and Regional Accents

Yoonjung Kang (faculty), Suyeon Yun (Ehwa Womans University): Dialectal variation and sound change in Korean nasals

Patrick Murphy (PhD), Philip Monahan (faculty): Partial Contrast, Dialect Exposure, and the Perception of Canadian Raising

Alexei Kochetov (faculty), Katherine Sung (BA): Flapping and Linguopalatal Contact Differences in Canadian English /t/ and /d/

Núria Gavaldà (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Juli Cebrian (PhD 2002, now at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Angelica Carlet (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya), Celia Gorba (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona): Evaluating the effects of L2 vowel perceptual training: Retention of learning and generalization to production

Juli Cebrian (PhD 2002, now at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Joan Carles Mora (Universitat de Barcelona): Measuring cross-linguistic perceptual similarity by means of online tasks

Jessamyn and Kara by their poster

Yoonjung presenting her poster

Patrick presenting his poster

Rachel presenting her poster

Alexei presenting his poster

UofT team! (LtoR) Yoonjung, Juli, Patrick, Alexei, Jessamyn, Rachel

Conference dinner

Nossa Senhora do Monte belvedere

Campo Grande, near the university

Belem Tower

June 24, 2018

Linguistics Pride 2018

The department was recently decorated for Pride:


June 16, 2018

Keren Rice recognized at Academic Leaders Reception

Keren Rice was recognized by the Faculty of Arts and Science at the Academic Leaders Reception on June 13, for her work as Chair of Linguistics, 2012-2018. In her speech she highlighted all the changes the department has seen in the past six years. Congratulations on a very successful term, Keren, and thanks for all your hard work for the department! (And the Exit sign in the background seems kind of appropriate for a “stepping down” event!)


June 13, 2018

Nathan Sanders profiled by UofT Arts & Science News on conlangs

Nathan Sanders (faculty) has been profiled by UofT Arts & Science News on constructed languages (conlangs) and his role as a mentor for a Grade 8 student's project to create his own language. Check out the article here!

June 6, 2018

Canadian Linguistics Association 2018 meeting

The 2018 meeting of the Canadian Linguistic Association was recently held at the University of Regina. The list of UofT representatives is long, but pictures follow!

Alana Johns (emerita): Suliatsalunik: Lots of work to do (plenary talk)

Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty) & Mansour Shabani (University of Guilan): Resumption in Gilaki possessor split

Jean-François Juneau (PhD): On the mi-/mo- preverbs in ditransitive Georgian verbs

Daniel Currie Hall (PhD 2007, now at St. Mary’s) & Avery Ozburn (MA 2014, now at UBC): The representation of phonological contrast in Uyghur vowel harmony

Suzi Lima (faculty) & Adriana Leitão Martins (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro): Aspectual information impacts the countability of deverbal nouns in Brazilian Portuguese

Angelika Kiss (PhD): Attributing illocutionary acts in Spanish by the tag question ¿no?

Karoline Antonsen (undergraduate) & Romina Farhang (undergraduate): The effect of PP type on recursive modifications in monolingual English children

Kazuya Bamba (PhD): Person constraint and sentence-final particles in Japanese

Suzi Lima (faculty), Alice Jesus (Lisboa), Rui Marques (Lisboa) & Ana Lúcia Santos (Lisboa): Constraints on the use of subjunctive in Brazilian Portuguese: A production study

Majed Al-Solami (PhD): Vowel elision, stress and dialect contact in Bedouin dialects

Michelle Troberg (UTM), Meena Ahmad (UTM undergraduate) & Maya Krol (UTM undergraduate): Change and loss of P-elements: A case study of fors and hors in the history of French

Susana Béjar (faculty) & Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty): When intensional subjects control agreement

Julie Goncharov (PhD 2015, now at Hebrew University of Jerusalem) & Monica Irimia (PhD 2011, now at University of Modena and Reggio Emilia): The imperfect puzzle

Bettina Spreng (PhD 2012, now at Saskatchewan): Finiteness, tense, and feature inheritance in Inuktitut

Bronwyn M. Bjorkman (former post-doc, now at Queen’s): Pronominal tense and anaphora: Evidence from sequence of tense

Neil Banerjee (BA 2016, now at MIT): Fishing for CARP in Kinyarwanda

Laura Kastronic (UofT French), Stephen Levey (Ottawa) & Mélissa Chiasson-Léger (Ottawa): Sisters under the skin?: Discourse-pragmatic variation and change in three varieties of French

Jila Ghomeshi (PhD 1996, now at Manitoba) & Tasheney Francis Holness (Manitoba): Additive and associative plural marking in Jamiekan

Susana Béjar (faculty), Diane Massam (emerita), Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux (faculty) & Yves Roberge (UofT French): Syntactic recursion: Theory and acquisition

Will Oxford (PhD 2014, now at Manitoba): What’s the inverse of an inverse? Transitive constructions in Algonquian and Austronesian

Richard Compton (PhD 2012, now at UQAM): Inuit φ-markers as the exponence of agree: Evidence from granularity, default forms

Leslie Saxon (MA 1979, now at Victoria): Ne, discourse particle in T li˛cho˛: Speaker commitments, common ground, and calls on the addressee

The conference venue, First Nations University of Canada, under stormy skies.
Romina Farhang and Karoline Antonsen, Undergraduate students, with their poster, along with Yves Roberge and Diane Massam, who are also on the research team led by Ana-Teresa Perez-Leroux.
Alana Johns (centre), recipient of the CLA/ACL 2018 National Achievement Award, along with her past students, Richard Compton (Ph.D. 2012, currently at UQAM, and Bettina Spreng, Ph.D. 2012, currently at University of Saskatchewan).
Jila Ghomeshi (Ph.D. 1996, currently at University of Manitoba), Elizabeth Ritter (Post-doc 1991, currently at University of Calgary), Ileana Paul (University of Western Ontario), and faculty members, Diane Massam and Elizabeth Cowper, at the President’s Reception.
Kaz Bamba, Ph.D. student, with his poster.

June 5, 2018

Discourse-Pragmatic Variation and Change 2018

Discourse-Pragmatic Variation and Change, an international biennial meeting of variationist sociolinguists who are working on discourse and pragmatic variables, recently took place at the University of Helsinki in Finland. UofT had a strong presence with three presentations:

Derek Denis (faculty) and Timothy Gadanidis (MA), "Before the rise of um"

Timothy Gadanidis, "Um, about that, uh, variable: uh and um in teen instant messaging"

Sali Tagliamonte (faculty) and Katharina Pabst (PhD), "Cool system, lovely patterns, awesome results: A cross-variety comparison of adjectives of positive evaluation"


 Tim presenting his Master's forum paper research
 Katharina presenting on behalf of her and Sali
Katharina and Derek enjoying post-conference sunshine and drinks near Kauppatori (Helsinki's Market Square)
Derek enjoying the Helsinki craft beer scene with Newcastle University graduate students Kaleigh Woolford (a former undergraduate student of Derek's at University of Victoria) and Joaquín Bueno-Amaro. (Photo taken around 10:30pm, no flash!)

May 31, 2018

2017-18 Dresher Prize and Cowper Prize winners

The 2017-18 Elizabeth Cowper Syntax Prize for outstanding work in a graduate syntax seminar has been awarded to Andrew Peters for his paper "Mandarin de in the nominal and verbal domains".

The 2017-18 Dresher Phonology Prize for outstanding work in a graduate phonology seminar has been awarded to Fiona Wilson for her paper "Hiatus resolution cross-linguistically:  A harmonic serialism approach".

Congratulations to both of you!

May 22, 2018

The Canadian origins of HAL 9000

This year is the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, featuring the iconic HAL 9000, a computer (specifically an artificial general intelligence) that Gerry Flahive describes as "perhaps the most memorable non-animal character in the history of cinema" in his article on HAL's speech and origins.

If no geographic features stood out to you in HAL's speech, that was the intention. After considering actor Martin Balsam, who has a mild Bronx accent, Kubrick decided on Canadian actor Douglas Rain. Jack Chambers explains in Flahive's article: "you have to have a computer that sounds like he’s from nowhere, or, rather, from no specific place". Raised diphthongs notwithstanding, Canadian English is a good candidate for this, at least in a North American context. Jack:
“Standard Canadian English sounds ‘normal' –the vowels are in the right place, the consonants are in the right place, it covers a large piece of ground. That’s why Canadians are well received in the United States as newscasters, as anchormen and reporters, because the vowels don’t give away the region they come from. It’s entirely wrong to describe Rain’s voice as ‘mid-Atlantic’–the Canadian accent has almost no trace of Britishness.”

May 16, 2018

Catching up with old friends

Saradindu Guha dropped into the department on Tuesday. Saradindu was our administrative assistant from 1990 until 1999, when he retired at 65. Now 85, he was downtown sorting out his visa for a trip to China and Japan. A remarkable man with a remarkable memory, he greeted everyone by name, inquired about spouses and partners by their names, and talked about numerous old colleagues and students. (He asked about the progress of an “affair” between two grad students. No progress— he disappeared, and she married someone else and has a university-age son.) Saradindu has a Ph.D in chemistry, and he continues his 40-year sideline of translating scientific articles from Russian into English.  Mary Hsu took this photo of Saradindu with Keren and Jack.


May 15, 2018

LVC field trip: Oral histories in Parry Sound, Ontario

The first Language Variation and Change CRC-sponsored field trip team have been doing oral histories in Parry Sound, Ontario for the past week. We have talked to 45 people and documented their stories. We are finding many interesting linguistic features in the data! In rare moments like the one portrayed in this picture, they get a chance to wind down in the local scene.

(LtoR): Kinza Mahoon, Lisa Schlegl, Tim Gadanidis, Fiona Wilson, Andrei Munteanu, Jean-François Juneau.

May 14, 2018

41st Generative Linguistics in the Old World (GLOW)

U of T was well represented at GLOW in Budapest in April:

Left to right: Monica Irimia, Ph.D. 2014, now at University of Modena and Reggio Emilia; Elizabeth Cowper, Professor Emeritus; Avery Ozburn, M.A. 2014, now at UBC; Naomi Francis, MA 2014, now at MIT; Julianne Doner, Ph.D. student. Also participating but not pictured: Daniel Currie Hall, Ph.D. 2007, now at Saint Mary's University