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



May 12, 2018

11th annual Science Rendezvous

On Saturday, May 12, 2018, the Linguistics Department at the University of Toronto will be taking part in the 11th annual Science Rendezvous.

Science Rendezvous is an educational outreach event that boasts dozens of exciting exhibits and many fun activities for attendees of all ages. The University of Toronto St George campus will be open to the public throughout the day.

At the Linguistics booth, there will be hands-on activities including ultrasound, spectrogram, a mini-sociolinguistic experiment, an Inuktitut morphology puzzle, immersive videos, button making, and much more! We have an enthusiastic team of linguistics students and volunteers who have worked hard to make all this happen.

You can check out the Linguistic Department’s website for the event at https://www.futurelinguist.com
The University of Toronto Science Rendezvous page with the information about exhibits on campus is here: http://www.sciencerendezvousuoft.ca
The Canada-wide site is at http://www.sciencerendezvous.ca

The event runs from 11 to 4, and will take place on and around St George Street between Harbord and College. The Linguistics Booth will be at the Bahen Center for Information Technology Atrium BA1140.

Hope to see you there!

May 2, 2018

MOTH2018

The 6th annual Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Hamilton workshop on syntax (MOTH 6) was recently held at McGill. Presenters from UofT:

Virgilio Partida Peñalva (PhD): Multiple PP-remnants in Spanish Pseudostripping: The interaction between NP- and TP-ellipsis

Kinza Mahoon (PhD): Structure of ezafe in Urdu – a compounding approach

Fiona Wilson (PhD): The amn’t gap in Scottish English

Jean-François Juneau (PhD): On the Old and Modern Georgian Suffixaufnahme in Possessive Noun Phrases

Andrew Peters (PhD): Form and Function: Mandarin de in the Nominal and Verbal Domains

Sahar Taghipour (PhD): On Definite Marking in Laki

Nadia Nacif (UofT French): Restrictive and non-restrictive adjectives in Romance languages: Portuguese and Spanish evidence

(LtoR) Back: Virgilio Partida Peñalva, Jean-François Juneau, Koorosh Ariyaee, Sahar Taghipour, Arsalan Kahnemuyipour. Front: Fiona Wilson, Kinza Mahoon, Andrew Peters, Nadia Nacif.

May 1, 2018

48th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL 48)

The 48th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL 48) was recently held at York University. Some of the presentations associated with UofT:

Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux (faculty): A Child’s View of Romance Modification

Gavin Antonio Bembridge (York University) & Andrew Peters (PhD): Who, or where are ‘you’ to me? Formality as distance in Romance and beyond

Suzi Lima (UofT faculty/UFRJ) & Cristiane Oliveira (UFRJ): Value and quantity in the evaluation of bare singulars in Brazilian Portuguese

Sophia Bello (UofT French): Does null mean something to you? Children’s missing objects and what it all means

Jacob Aziz (Western), Vanina Machado (UofT Spanish&Portuguese), Yasaman Rafat (Western), Rajiv Rao (University of Wisconsin, Madison) & Ryan Stevenson (Western): Investigating the sources of nuclear intonation in Argentinian-Canadian heritage speakers of Spanish: Evidence of parental and English influences,

Juliane Doner (PhD) & Çağrı Bilgin (MA 2017): Same Extended Projection Principle, Different Null Subject Language

Hilary Walton (UofT French): The influence of the presence of orthography on the production of a novel vowel contrast by Anglophone learners of French

April 30, 2018

Alana Johns: National Achievement Award, Canadian Linguistic Association (2018)

Alana Johns has been announced as one of the two 2018 laureates of the National Achievement Award from the Canadian Linguistic Association. She will give a plenary talk at the CLA's Annual Meeting at the University of Regina at the end of May. Congratulations on this wonderful honour, Alana! Here is the CLA's announcement:


Dr L. Alana Johns has had a substantial impact on three areas of Canadian linguistics: theoretical morphosyntax, comparative research on Inuit dialects, and community work in language revitalization, maintenance, and documentation.
Dr Johns is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto, where she also served as Director of Aboriginal Studies/the Centre of Aboriginal Initiatives. She spent the first part of her career at the Memorial University of Newfoundland. At both institutions, she inspired, trained and mentored many linguistics students, some of whom she brought to northern regions of Canada to engage in fieldwork. Today, an impressive number of her students have distinguished careers as scholars and as collaborators with Indigenous communities.
The core of Dr. Johns’ theoretical contributions lies in her research on the morphosyntax of Inuktitut, specifically in her work on noun incorporation and on syntactic properties that underlie ergativity. Originating in her PhD dissertation and expanded throughout her career, this influential research has redefined our understanding of cross-linguistic variation in the domain of argument structure, agreement, tense, and case assignment. Furthermore, it has contributed to our knowledge of dialectal variation within the Inuit languages. Dr Johns has also collaborated with other scholars on issues such as phonological change, sentence prosody, and receptive bilingualism in Labrador Inuttitut heritage speakers.
A strong advocate of participatory research between linguists and Indigenous communities, Dr Johns has contributed tremendously to creating a space for fruitful collaborations based on mutual trust and on the needs of the communities. In doing so, she has also contributed to redefining attitudes toward Indigenous people. In her work, she has trained and mentored community members to become Inuit language specialists. Her involvement in collecting and transcribing Inuktitut stories has contributed to preserving and enhancing the collective memory of the Inuit. Her language maintenance projects have produced grammars and teaching manuals on Inuktitut and Inuttitut as well as research documents such as the Dictionary of Utkuhiksalingmiut Inuktitut Postbase Suffixes (co-authored with Jean Briggs and Conor Cook), which is foundational to future revitalization efforts.
In sum, Dr Johns has been a driving force in the study and promotion of the Inuit dialects of Canada. Her ongoing efforts to support language documentation and revitalization have enhanced the status of Indigenous languages and have served the field of linguistics. We are very pleased to recognize her advocacy and inspirational work by awarding her the National Achievement Award of the Canadian Linguistic Association for 2018.

April 24, 2018

WSCLA and SAIL at the University of Ottawa (2018)

WSCLA (23rd Workshop on the Structure and Constituency of the Languages of the Americas) and SAIL (Symposium for American Indian Languages) were recently held together at the University of Ottawa (April 13th and 14th, 2018).

Current faculty/students/visiting scholars that presented their work at WSCLA/SAIL:

  • Suzi Lima (faculty): A typology of the count/mass distinction in Brazil and its relevance for count/mass theories (invited talk, WSCLA)
  • Guillaume Thomas (faculty): Resultatives in Mbyá and the grammar of causativization (talk, WSCLA)
  • Suzi Lima: The Kawaiwete pedagogical grammar (talk, SAIL)
  • Vidhya Elango (undergraduate), Isabella Coutinho (Universidade Estadual de Roraima), and Suzi Lima: Language vitality in Macuxi and Wapichana in Terra Indígena Serra de Lua, Roraima, Brazil (poster, SAIL)
  • Fábio Bonfim Duarte (visiting scholar): Is Tentehara a head-final over head-initial language? (talk, WSCLA)
  • Fábio Bonfim Duarte (with colleagues Camargos and Castro): The parallel between verbs and nouns in the Tenetehára language (poster).

Several alumni, former post-docs and former visiting scholars presented their work in one of these events: Nicholas Welch (former post-doc, now at McMaster), Richard Compton (PhD 2012, now at UQAM), Will Oxford (PhD 2014, now at UManitoba), Michael Barrie (PhD 2006, now at Sogang University), Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada (former visiting scholar, now at UAlberta), and Michelle Yuan (MA 2013, now at UofT)

Vidhya Elango

Suzi Lima

Fábio Bonfim Duarte and Guillaume Thomas

April 20, 2018

Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics Vol. 40: Special Issue from CRC-Sponsored Phonology/Phonetics Workshops

Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics is happy to announce the publication of a special volume dedicated to research presented at the recurring phonology/phonetics workshop during Keren Rice’s time as Canada Research Chair.

This online volume can be found at the following link: http://twpl.library.utoronto.ca/index.php/twpl/index

We are very grateful to the authors, to the TWPL editorial staff, and to Keren, for making this volume possible.

April 15, 2018

Grading and lasagne

Naomi, Lex and Julien celebrated the end of a long grading day with a lasagne feast.

April 10, 2018

Linguistic Perspectives on Variation: Toronto-Buffalo Workshop (2018)

On Friday, April 6th, 2018, the first annual Buffalo-Toronto Workshop on Linguistic Perspectives on Variation was held at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Presentations from our department:

Variation and change in reduplication and repetition in Ontario dialects — Sali Tagliamonte (faculty) & Katharina Pabst (PhD)

A socio-indexical feature in Heritage Italian: VOT in Toronto — Naomi Nagy (faculty), Rosalba Nodari (Scuola Normale Superiore) & Chiara Celata (Scuola Normale Superiore)

Height or hide? Partial contrast, dialect exposure, and the perception of Canadian Raising  — Patrick Murphy (PhD) & Philip Monahan (faculty)

Evidence of intradialect variation in Scottish English  — Fiona Wilson (PhD)

Accented stops? L1-based variation in L2 English stop production  — Jessamyn Schertz (faculty)

Group Photo (LtoR): Derry Moore (Buffalo), Patrick Murphy (Toronto), Randi Moore (Buffalo), Katharina Pabst (Toronto), Sali Tagliamonte (Toronto), Christian DiCanio (Buffalo), Jessamyn Schertz (Toronto), Thomas St. Pierre (Buffalo), Naomi Nagy (Toronto), Jeff Good (Buffalo), Fiona Wilson (Buffalo), David Fertig (Buffalo)

Katharina Pabst and Sali Tagliamonte

Naomi Nagy

Fiona Wilson

Jessamyn Schertz

April 9, 2018

New book: Nominal Contact in Michif

Carrie Gillon (MA 1999, now at Quick Brown Fox Consulting) and Nicole Rosen (PhD 2007, now at University of Manitoba) have a new book: Nominal Contact in Michif. From the OUP website, the book:

  • Offers a detailed formal description of the structure of Michif with extensive examples
  • Accessible to linguists from all theoretical and descriptive backgrounds
  • Explores the validity of 'mixed language' as a category
  • Proposes a new classification of Michif as an Algonquian language with French contact influence