04 September 2015

Research Groups: Welcome, 2015-16

Our department hosts six lively research groups; each one meets on Fridays, every two weeks during the academic year. Graduate students are expected to attend meetings of at least one of these groups regularly and contribute when the chances arise. Meeting dates can be found on the calendar on the department homepage, and through the year, a weekly announcement about research-group meetings will appear on this blog.

Fieldwork Group
Fieldwork Group is a project dedicated to the discussion of linguistic fieldwork and field methodology. We have a mixed bag of activities including hearing informal presentations about particular methods, problems, or data; discussing papers on methodology; and holding the occasional workshop on a practical technique. Expect to discuss both theoretical and practical considerations about work in the field and elicitation technique, relative to different subfields and different language situations (i.e. endangered, indigenous, understudied, or none of the above). We welcome different levels of experience and history with fieldwork, as long as you have an interest! Contact Clarissa (c.forbes@mail.utoronto.ca) to be added to the mailing list.

Language Variation and Change Group
The LVC Group is centred on research in variationist sociolinguistics and overlapping subfields (e.g. dialectology, historical linguistics, language and society). Meetings typically consist of presentations from members, visiting scholars, and guest speakers; work in progress is encouraged! From time to time we read a major paper, host a software workshop, or talk about a noteworthy line of research. Anyone with an interest in variationist research is welcome at our meetings. If you'd like to be added to the mailing list, email Marisa (marisa.brook@mail.utoronto.ca) and/or Naomi (naomi.nagy@utoronto.ca).

Phonetics/Phonology Group
The Phonetics/Phonology Research Group (or just Phon Group for short) is a place for anyone working on the P-side to present work in progress or do dry runs of upcoming talks. We've had presentations on everything from pure theoretical phonology to descriptive phonetics to experimental work in production and perception. This is a very informal setting, and a great place to get feedback on an upcoming talk, research that's still in a rough state, or data you've been working through. We also try to have a few discussion sessions each year, usually going through a recent phonetics/phonology paper of interest but sometimes a more general conversation about methodology or issues in phonetic and phonological research. If you'd like to be added to the mailing list, please contact Radu at radu.craioveanu@utoronto.ca.

Psycholinguistics Group
The University of Toronto Psycholinguistics Group is primarily interested in the investigation of how language is acquired, processed and produced. Faculty, post-docs and graduate students from a number of unique disciplines contribute, and their work reflects research topics across all levels of linguistic analysis.  Different investigative approaches and techniques are brought to bear on these issues, including behavioural discrimination experiments, eye tracking, brain imaging and explicit judgment tasks - to name but a few. In addition to members of the Department of Linguistics, the group includes integral tri-campus participation from the Departments of Psychology, Computer Science, Spanish and Portuguese, and Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). For more information, please get in touch with Phil (philip.monahan@utoronto.ca).

Semantics Group
The Semantics Research Group usually features presentations from members and guests on research in semantics and pragmatics. Work in progress is encouraged. Occasionally we read a paper, prepare for a guest speaker, and/or organize practice talks in preparation for conference presentations. Everyone who is interested in semantics or would like to learn more about it is welcome to attend the meetings. To be added to the mailing list, please contact Guillaume (guillaume.thomas@utoronto.ca).

Syntax Group
The Syntax Project provides linguists from the University of Toronto and beyond with the opportunity to share their work on issues in syntax, morphology, and semantics. During a typical meeting, a participant presents on their ongoing research, but we welcome practice runs for conferences, discussion sessions on new work in the field, and suggestions as well! If you’d like to present or join the mailing list, please contact Emilia Melara at emilia.melara@mail.utoronto.ca. Print Page

27 August 2015

Congratulations, Ailís!

Ailís Cournane defended her thesis, "Modal development: Input-divergent L1 acquisition in the direction of diachronic reanalysis", on Thursday, August 27. The committee consisted of Ana-Teresa Pérez-Leroux (supervisor), Michela Ippolito, Yves Roberge, Cristina Cuervo, Mihaela Pirvulescu, and external examiner Laura Wagner (Ohio State University). Congrats, Dr. Cournane! Print Page

23 August 2015

SLE 2015

The 48th annual meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea is being held in Leiden, Netherlands, from September 2nd to 5th.

Elizabeth Cowper (faculty), Bronwyn Bjorkman (postdoc), Daniel Currie Hall (Ph.D. 2007), Rebecca Tollan (2007), and Neil Banerjee (BA) are presenting: "There then and now."

Susana Bejar (faculty) is presenting "Differential object marking in omnivorous number systems."

Julianne Doner (Ph.D.) is presenting "Spanish morphemes at the interface: How syntactic position affects prosody.

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."

Alumna Lyn Tieu (MA 2008, now at CNRS) is part of a talk with Kazuko Yatsushiro (Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft), Alexandre Cremers (CNRS), Jacopo Romoli (University of Ulster), Uli Sauerland (Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft), and Emmanuel Chemla (CNRS): "Disjunction in child language: Inclusive, exclusive, or conjunctive?" Print Page

22 August 2015

In memoriam: Emma Johnson (1977-2015)

We are deeply saddened to have learned that alumna Emma Johnson (MA 2003) passed away on August 20th after a battle with cancer. Emma did research in psycholinguistics in our department, and later received a degree in speech pathology and worked in Ottawa for a number of years. We would like to extend our condolences to Emma's family, including her partner, Jason, and their children, Joey and Maddie. Rest in peace, Emma. Print Page

17 August 2015

Research Groups: Week of August 17-21

Wednesday, August 19 - 10 AM to 12 PM in SS 2111
Syntax/Semantics Group
Ivona Kučerová (McMaster University): "The ergative puzzle."

There’s a growing body of work attempting to unify various ergativity phenomena under a common denominator, the most common denominators being aspect, (various versions of) semantic scope, and information structure. Putting aside that these unifying proposals have only a partial empirical coverage, there are other properties that these approaches cannot account for (though their technical implementations rely on them): prevalence of nominalized structures, applicative-like structures in transitive environments, and commonality of VP fronting. The empirical landscape offers itself to three possible accounts: (i) there is a common denominator but it lies elsewhere; (ii) what appears to be a unified phenomenon is in fact a conspiracy of several factors; and (iii) ergativity is an artificial construct based on Indo-European centred conception of grammar. In this presentation - more a brainstorming session - I will go over some recent ideas about factors that might underpin syntactically `special’ behaviour of arguments and how they relate to notions of locality, transitivity and argument alignment in general, in the hope of finding possible correlates expected under (i) & (ii). Print Page

10 August 2015

Congratulations, Jaehee!

Congratulations to Jaehee Bak (Ph.D. 2011), who has accepted a tenure-stream position in the Department of Korean Language and Literature at Chungnam National University in Daejeon City, South Korea (just south of Seoul). He starts this position on September 1st 2015. Great news, Jaehee! Print Page

07 August 2015

Congratulations, Kyumin!

Congratulations to alumna Kyumin Kim (Ph.D. 2011), who has accepted and begun a new tenure-track job as an Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at Cheongju University in South Korea! Print Page

Congratulations, Alana!

Congratulations to Alana Johns and her colleagues Jean L. Briggs and Conor Cook on the publication of the Dictionary of Utkuhiksalingmiut Inuktitut Postbase Suffixes! The work is being published by Nunavut Arctic College and will be released shortly. Based on Jean Briggs's fieldwork conducted with speakers of the Utkuhiksalingmiutitut dialect of Inuktitut in Uqsuqtuuq (Gjoa Haven) and Qamani'tuaq (Baker Lake), the book is a comprehensive list of word-forming suffixes with examples taken from real speech and morphological and phonological analysis.

The work reflects the efforts of a team of scholars over many years - in Briggs's case, many decades. Briggs, an anthropologist, learned the Utkuhiksalingmiut dialect while conducting doctoral research between 1963 and 1968 in the camp at Chantrey Inlet, now located in Nunavut. Writing down words was originally just a learning aid for Briggs, but it evolved into a dictionary project once Briggs made contact with linguists working with Inuktitut, who were unfamiliar with the Utkuhiksalingmiut dialect. When the Utkuhiksalingmiut people moved to Gjoa Haven, they too became interested in documenting their dialect, given the new contact with other dialects that had the potential to alter it.


The idea of creating a dictionary of postbases was Alana’s, and her linguistic expertise and extensive knowledge of Inuktitut has been informing the project for over a decade. Conor Cook, a former University of Toronto student now working in Iqaluit, was in charge of the database searching, drafting and proposing entries and putting the manuscript together.

Congratulations to Alana and the entire team on this milestone.

(Photo courtesy of Sali A. Tagliamonte.)
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06 August 2015

ICPhS 2015

The 18th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS) is meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, from August 10th to 14th. Our department is well-represented!

Maida Percival (MA 2014, incoming Ph.D. student) is presenting "Dene stop contrasts: Data from Délįnę Slavey." She is also one of the recipients of the conference's IPA Student Awards. Congratulations, Maida!

Paulina Lyskawa (MA) is presenting "The ultrasound study of /ɹ/ in non-native speakers."

Mercedeh Mohaghegh (Ph.D.) and Craig Chambers (faculty) are presenting "How phonological context affects comprehension: The case of assimilated nasals and stops."

Phil Howson (Ph.D.) and Alexei Kochetov (faculty) are presenting "An EMA examination of liquids in Czech."

Jessamyn Schertz (postdoc), Yoonjung Kang (faculty), and Alexei Kochetov (faculty), with colleagues Eun Jong Kong and Sungwoo Han, are presenting: "Dialectal variability in place and manner of Korean affricates."

Phil is additionally presenting a talk with colleagues Noriko Yamane and Po-Chun Wei: "An ultrasound examination of taps in Japanese."

Alexei is also part of a talk with Stefania Marin and Marianne Pouplier: "Timing patterns of word-initial obstruent-sonorant clusters in Russian."

Alexei is additionally presenting a poster: "Length in Kannada alveolar and retroflex laterals: A preliminary acoustic study" at the Satellite Workshop on Geminate Consonants across the World.

Yoonjung is also part of a presentation with colleagues Hye-Young Bang, Morgan Sonderegger, Meghan Clayards, and Tae-Jin Yoon: "The effect of word frequency on the timecourse of tonogenesis in Seoul Korean."

Yoonjung is part of another presentation with colleagues Tae-Jin Yoon, Sungwoo Han, Hyeseon Maeng, Jiae Lee, and Kyounghue Kim: "A corpus-based approach to dialectal variation in Korean vowels."

Juli Cebrian (Ph.D. 2002, now at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona) is presenting "Reciprocal measures of perceptual similarity".

Juli is also presenting a talk co-authored with Angelica Carlet: "Phonetic similarity, Identification vs. discrimination training: Learning effects for trained and untrained sounds."

Ewan Dunbar (MA 2008, now at the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique, CNRS, France) is presenting a poster "Quantitative methods for comparing featural representations", co-authored with Gabriel Synnaeve and Emmanuel Dupoux.

Richard Gananathan (MA 2014, now at the Chinese University of Hong Kong) is presenting a paper with colleagues Yanjun Yin and Peggy Mok: "Interlanguage influence in cues of narrow focus: A study of Hong Kong English."

Manami Hirayama (Ph.D. 2009) is presenting a poster: "Complete and incomplete neutralizations between underlying and derived geminates in Japanese: Evidence from three gemination processes."

Sara Mackenzie (Ph.D. 2009, now at Memorial University of Newfoundland) is presenting a talk with Paul De Decker and Rosanna Pierson: "An acoustic and articulatory study of /l/ allophony in Newfoundland English."

Nicole Rosen (Ph.D. 2007) is part of a presentation with Justin Turner, Fangfang Li, and Nicole Netelenbos: "VOT Production among school children in Francophone vs. French immersion schools in Anglo-dominant Southern Alberta."

Former visiting student Michael Wagner is part of two talks: "Production planning and coronal stop deletion in spontaneous speech" (with James Tanner and Morgan Sonderegger), and "Acoustic correlates of focus marking in Polish" (with Fatima Hamlaoui, Marzena Żygis, and Jonas Engelmann).
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Congratulations, Sandrine!

Alumna Sandrine Tailleur (Ph.D. 2012, now at l'Université du Québec à Chicoutimi) would like to introduce Lucas McDonough, born on March 9, 2015. Congratulations to Sandrine and her family!

(Lucas's wardrobe handmade by department Ph.D. student and artist Ailís Cournane.)




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