27 March 2015

Report from the Canadian Language Museum's Cree exhibit opening

On Wednesday evening in the Wilson Hall lounge at New College, the fourth in a series of exhibits launched by the Canadian Language Museum was opened to the public. Spearheaded by departmental faculty member Elaine Gold and curated by students of the MA in Museum Studies here at the U of T, the CLM produces annual travelling exhibits pertaining to languages and dialects spoken in Canada. This new exhibit for 2015 is on Cree and its dialects. (Photos by Marisa Brook.)

Elaine welcomes everyone to the exhibit.

 A few words from Kevin Brousseau, the Cree Language Coordinator for the Cree Nation Government and one of the main contributors to the content of the exhibit.

Brenda Wastasecoot, a Swampy Cree author from Churchill, Manitoba, reads from her picture book, Granny's Giant Bannock.

Congratulations to Elaine, Kevin, the Museum Studies students, and everyone else involved in the creation of the Cree exhibit.

(For those unaware, the Canadian Language Museum maintains an excellent blog of its own, frequently featuring extensive interviews with language scholars in Canada.) Print Page

LIN362 poster session this Monday

Aaron Dinkin's Historical Linguistics class will be holding its traditional poster session in the department lounge on Monday evening from 6 PM to 8 PM. Come join us and check out what the students have been researching! Print Page

25 March 2015

Research Groups: Friday, March 27

Note that both the syntax/semantics group and fieldwork group are cancelled this week.

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Psycholinguistics Group
Craig Chambers and Meg Grant will review the 28th CUNY Conference on Human Sentence Processing, held last weekend at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Then there will be a group discussion on the challenges of being based in Canada and trying to employ crowdsourcing and other web-based research resources from Canada. Print Page

23 March 2015

Guest speaker for discussion: Kevin Brousseau (Cree Nation Government)

Alongside the Canadian Language Museum exhibit on Cree opening next week, there will be an evening discussion on Tuesday the 24th featuring Kevin Brousseau, who is the Cree Language Coordinator with the Department of Cree Culture and Language of the Cree Nation Government.

Tuesday March 24th, 5-7 PM, Turtle Lounge, Centre for Aboriginal Initiatives
Second Floor, North Borden Building, 563 Spadina Circle

Everyone is welcome!

Print Page

17 March 2015

Research Groups: Friday, March 20

Note that both the Phonetics/Phonology Group and the Syntax/Semantics Squib Section are cancelled this week.

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Language Variation and Change Group
Group discussion led by Bridget Jankowski: Nevalainen, Raumolin-Brunberg, and Mannila (2011). The diffusion of language change in real time: Progressive and conservative individuals and the time depth of change. Language Variation and Change, 23(1), 1-43. Print Page

16 March 2015

Canadian Language Museum exhibit on Cree

The Canadian Language Museum, spearheaded by faculty member Elaine Gold, will be launching its newest travelling exhibit next week. The opening reception for "Cree: The People's Language," will be taking place on Wednesday March 25th from 5 to 7 PM at the Wilson Hall lounge in New College:

Print Page

MOTH 2015

The annual Montréal-Ottawa-Toronto-Hamilton Syntax Workshop is being held at the University of Ottawa this year on the 28th and 29th. Four current graduate students and one alumnus will be presenting their research:

Julie Doner (Ph.D.): "The 'optional' EPP in Finnish as clausal truncation."

Dan Milway (Ph.D.): "Directionalized locatives: Evidence for a small-clause structure."

Safieh Moghaddam (Ph.D.): "On split ergativity."

Becky Tollan (Ph.D.): "Investigating wh-dependency formation in complex NP objects."

Kazuya Bamba (MA 2014): "Null subjects and impersonality: Counter-evidence from French." Print Page

13 March 2015

LVC mini-conference at Queen's

Three of our variationist sociolinguists went up to Kingston yesterday to share some of their recent research with undergrads at Queen's University. Ph.D. students Marisa Brook and Matt Hunt Gardner and recent Ph.D. alumnus Derek Denis presented the mini-conference to Anastasia Riehl's Canadian English class.

Marisa presented "Relatively distinct: Localized loss of prestige on the periphery of Canadian English," about her first Generals paper from 2013-14.

(Photo by Anastasia Riehl.)

Matt's presentation was "Where does Canadian English end? Cape Breton as a speech island," on his dissertation research.

(Photo by Marisa Brook.)

Derek presented "Homogeneity, convergence, mega-trends, and stuff like that" - a look at his ongoing project with another alumna, Alexandra D'Arcy (Ph.D. 2005, now at the University of Victoria).

(Photo by Marisa Brook.)
Print Page

11 March 2015

Research Groups: Friday, March 13

Note that the fieldwork group meeting tomorrow is cancelled.

9:30 AM - 11:00 AM
Psycholinguistics Group
Ailís Cournane: "Michelle must be swimming: A developmental study on the role of aspect in modal meanings."

11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Syntax/Semantics Group
Keffyalew Gebregziabher: "Contrasting (double) clitics and agreement markers: A view from Amharic and Tigrinya."

Both Amharic and Tigrinya (Semitic, Ethiopia; SOV) employ different pronominal affixes to co-reference the phi-features of possessors (1a) and droppable full subject and object arguments (1b). While subject pronominal affixes attach to the hosting head showing significant variation across different syntactic heads, possessor and object pronominal affixes attach to the hosting head almost invariably. In this work in progress, I discuss the nature of both possessor and object pronominal affixes (in comparison to subject pronominal affixes) in nominal (1a) and clausal possession (1c), and determine whether they are (doubled) clitics or agreement markers or neither.

In the Ethio-Semitic literature, there is a long debate whether such pronominal affixes in Amharic are clitics (cf. Mullen 1986) or agreement markers (cf. Yimam 2004) (see also Kramer 2014 and references cited therein for re-opening of the debate). While subject pronominal affixes are treated consistently as agreement markers, object pronominal affixes are still a matter of debate. Particularly, two hypotheses have been put forward to account for object pronominal affixes in Amharic: (a) object pronominal affixes are agreement markers (see Amberber 1996, Yimam 2004, among others) and (b) object pronominal affixes are doubled clitics (see Mullen 1986, Halefom 1994, among others). Using several (morpho-syntactic) diagnostics (Zwicky & Pullum 1983), I argue that neither the (doubled) clitic nor the agreement marker properties fully characterize the behavior of both Amharic and Tigrinya possessor and object pronominal affixes.

(1) a. məs’haf-wa (Amharic)
məs’ħaf-a (Tigrinya)
'her book'

b. lɨdʒ-ot∫t∫-u marta-n səddəb-u-wwat (Amharic)
child-PL-DEF Martha-ACC insult.PF-3MSG.SUBJ-3FSG.OBJ
Ɂɨt-om k’olʢu nɨ-marta s’ərif-omm-a (Tigrinya)
DET-MPL child.PLACC-Martha insult.PF-3MSG.SUBJ-3FSG.OBJ
'The children insulted Martha.'

c. aster sost məs'ħaf-ot∫t∫ ʡəll-u-wwat (Amharic)
Esther three book-PL COP-3MPL.SUBJ-3FSG.OBJ
aster sələstə məs'ħafti ʡəlləw-u-wwa (Tigrinya)
Esther three book.PL COP-3MPL.SUBJ-3FSG.OBJ
'Esther has three books.' Print Page


This year's Western Interdisciplinary Student Symposium on Language Research will be taking place at the University of Western Ontario over the weekend of Friday the 20th to Sunday the 22nd. There will be a strong showing by our undergraduates in particular:

Yaruna Cooblal (BA), Sneha George (BA), and Rachel Soo (BA): "VOT as a cue for voicing contrast in word-initial voiced and voiceless stops of native and heritage Tagalog speakers."

Michael Iannozzi (BA): "Pro-drop in Faetar in contact with English and Italian: A study of potential contact-induced change."

Also, French Ph.D. student Stephanie Côté will be presenting "The expression of future tense by intermediate L2 French speakers." Print Page