22 July 2015

NWAV 44 Update

NWAV 44 abstracts have been reviewed and registration is open. We will have 7 training/professionalization workshops, 7 invited plenary speakers, a workshop on Intersections between sociolinguistics and other fields, ~90 posters and ~140 oral presentations.  See details and (register early for a discount) at http://linguistics.utoronto.ca/NWAV44.

U of T will be represented in presentations by:

Aaron Dinkin
Anne-Jose Villeneuve
Bridget Jankowski
Darcie Blainey
Derek Denis
Emilia Melara
Emily Blamire
Heather Burnett
Jack Chambers
Julien Carrier
Marisa Brook
Matt Hunt Gardner
Michael Iannozzi
Paulina Lyskawa
Ruth Maddeaux
Sali Tagliamonte
Shayna Gardiner
Yoonjung Kang

Questions can be addressed to any of the organizers:
Philipp Sebastian Angermeyer, York University
Aaron Dinkin, University of Toronto
Michol Hoffman, York University
Naomi Nagy, University of Toronto
Sali A. Tagliamonte, University of Toronto
Anne-José Villeneuve, University of Alberta
James Walker, York University Print Page

20 July 2015

Canadian Language Museum exhibits at the Pan-Am Games

Three portable exhibits created by the Canadian Language Museum (with faculty member Elaine Gold at the helm) are now being shown one at a time at the Aboriginal Pavilion of the 2015 Pan-American Games:

July 21-22: French
July 23-24: Inuit
July 25-26: Cree

They will be available to see between 10 AM and 5 PM at the Fork York Visitor Centre atrium, as part of a greater celebration of First Nations cultures. Print Page

Research Groups: Week of July 20-24

Wednesday, July 22 - 10 AM to 12 PM in SS 2111
Syntax/Semantics Group
Elizabeth Cowper will be presenting a practice version of her talk for ICHL: "Illusions of transitive expletives in Middle English" (co-authored with Bronwyn Bjorkman, Daniel Currie Hall, Rebecca Tollan, and Neil Banerjee). Print Page

19 July 2015


The 22nd International Conference on Historical Linguistics (ICHL) is being held in Naples, Italy, from July 27th to 31st.

Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) is presenting a plenary talk:
"Roots and branches in the variation of English."

Elizabeth Cowper (faculty), Bronwyn Bjorkman (postdoc), Daniel Currie Hall (Ph.D. 2007), Rebecca Tollan (Ph.D.) and Neil Banerjee (BA) are giving a presentation:
"Illusions of transitive expletives in Middle English."

Clarissa Forbes (Ph.D.) is also giving a presentation:
"Acquiring accentual (un)predictability in morphological domains: Root stress in Gitksan."

Alumna Monica Irimia (Ph.D. 2011, now at the University of York) is part of a presentation with colleagues Andrea Ceolin (University of York), Aaron Ecay (University of Pennsylvania), Cristina Guardiano (Università degli Studi di Modena e Reggio Emilia), Giuseppe Longobardi (University of York), Dimitris Michelioudakis (University of York), and Nina Radkevich (Harvard University):
"Sic transeunt parametri mundi." Print Page

13 July 2015

Research Groups: Week of July 13-17

Wednesday, July 15 - 10 AM to 12 PM in SS 2111
Syntax/Semantics Group
Clarissa Forbes (Ph.D.): "Connect Four! The morphosyntax of argument marking in Tsimshianic" (collaborative work with Henry Davis, University of British Columbia).

In this talk, we propose a new analysis for the argument-introducing connective morphemes in Interior Tsimshianic. Our proposal moves away from the prevalent case-based analysis (Hunt 1993) to one which attributes connective alternations to an ultimately morphophonological process, given a proper analysis of agreement. We extend this proposal to Coast Tsimshian, where minor differences in connective marking predict interesting variation in agreement patterns between the two systems. Print Page

02 July 2015

Hellos and goodbyes

As the 2015-16 academic year approaches, we have a lot of personnel turnover!

Our department bids adieu to:

Bronwyn Bjorkman (postdoc), who is taking up a tenure-track position in morphosyntax at Queen's University.

Derek Denis (Ph.D. 2015), a central figure in the grad-student life of our department since 2008, who is moving to the University of Victoria to do a postdoctoral fellowship with fellow alum Alexandra D'Arcy (Ph.D. 2005).

Walter Pedersen (faculty), finishing a one-year contract-limited term appointment in semantics.

Anne-José Villeneuve (faculty, French), who has accepted a tenure-track position at the University of Alberta.

We welcome back Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty), who has spent the last two years as a Killam Fellow.

We welcome:

Heather Burnett (postdoc), a new Banting postdoctoral fellow; she will be working with Sali.

Guillaume Thomas (faculty), our new semanticist (and also instructor in syntax).

Finally, we have 25 new graduate students: 7 in the Ph.D. program and 18 MAs. Welcome, all! Print Page

28 June 2015

Elan at Cambridge and Oxford

Faculty member Elan Dresher has recently returned from the UK, where he gave three talks:

"Contrastive Feature Hierarchies in Diachronic Phonology," for the Annual General Meeting of the Philological Society, Jesus College, University of Cambridge.

"Contrastive Hierarchy Theory and the Nature of Features," at a seminar for the Rethinking Comparative Syntax (ReCoS) project of the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, University of Cambridge.

"Vowel Changes in West Germanic," for a colloquium hosted by the Faculty of Linguistics, Philology, and Phonetics of the University of Oxford.

Elan at Oxford in the local dress.
Print Page

20 June 2015

Research Groups: Week of June 22-26

Wednesday, June 24 - 10 AM to 12 PM in SS 2111
Syntax/Semantics Group
Michelle Yuan (MA 2014, now at MIT): "Case and anti-identity in Yimas."

In this talk, I investigate the case and agreement system of Yimas, a Lower Sepik language of Papua New Guinea. I show that the agreement morphemes are doubled clitics, and that only these clitics—but crucially not their associated DPs—make morphological case distinctions. Moreover, the case patterns that surface support the dependent case system of Marantz (1991), in that case is calculated postsyntactically and on the basis of case competition. I argue that Yimas exhibits these unusual properties because of the case-invariance of their doubled arguments. Since doubled clitics are essentially copies of their associates (clearly seen in Yimas), doubling multiple arguments inevitably yields a sequence of clitics that are morphosyntactically identical; this creates a 'morphosyntactic OCP effect' that must be repaired by the grammar. In Yimas, the repair may be, but is not limited to, case marking the clitics; I show that there are additionally certain clitic combinations that require other dissimilatory processes (e.g. impoverishment) to apply instead. More broadly, this talk recasts morphological case as a tool that grammars use in the postsyntax in order to ensure anti-identity. Print Page

Workshop on web-based psycholinguistic experiments

Our department currently has two outstanding Work-Study students who have been creating templates for web-based experimentation in psycholinguistics. In order to share their progress and their skills with the rest of the department, Neda and Amanjit will be leading a workshop on Friday, June 26, from 10 AM to 12 PM in the department lounge. Their work focuses on Ibex - a popular web-based experiment platform designed by Alex Drummond. If you are interested in attending the workshop, please email Meg Grant for instructions on pre-workshop preparation. Print Page