November 30, 2012

Congratulations, Sandrine!

There is a new doctor in the house! Just this morning, Sandrine Tailleur defended her thesis entitled "The French Wh- Interrogative System: Est-ce que, Clefting?". Sandrine was supervised by Yves Roberge, and Diane Massam, Ileana Paul (UWO), Elizabeth Cowper, Alana Johns, and Mireille Tremblay (external examiner from UQAM) comprised the rest of her committee.
Sandrine has been working at Université du Québec à Chicoutimi (UQAC) for the past few months teaching Historical Linguistics and Generative Grammar, and in January, she will be teaching Syntax and a course on Orthography and Morphology.


Sandrine with her committee

November 28, 2012

Historical Linguistics Poster Session

The semester is quickly coming to a close! The third-year historical linguistics class (taught by Elaine Gold) presented their final projects in the lounge today. Thank you to Elaine and the members of the class for the interesting presentations and the snacks!

November 20, 2012

Photos from Fall Convocation 2012 Part 2

Here are some more photos from convocation, taken by our official blog photographer for the year: Radu Craioveanu.

November 19, 2012

Photos from Fall Convocation 2012

Last Friday we celebrated the convocation of our new MA and PhD graduates! 
Here are a few snapshots of the celebrations.
MA graduates
L to R: Tomohiro Yokoyama, Erin Hall, Erin Brassel, and Julie Doner (Photo courtesy of Alex Motut)
Hooded Tomo
(Photo courtesy of Alex Motut)
(Photo courtesy of Maria Kyriakaki)
(Photo courtesy of Jackson Wu)
(Photo courtesy of Jackson Wu)
Happy PhD graduates with their supervisors
L to R: Kenji Oda, Paul Arsenault, Julia Su, Richard Compton, Beth MacLeod, Yoonjung Kang, Elizabeth Cowper, Alana Johns, Keren Rice, and Diane Massam
(Photo courtesy of Diane Massam)
First moments outside of Convocation Hall
(Photo courtesy of Jackson Wu)

November 16, 2012

Black Monday

Left to Right: Professors Sali Tagliamonte, Yoonjung Kang, Diane Massam, Michela Ippolito

Snapshot from a particularly well-coordinated faculty meeting earlier this week....

November 9, 2012

Upcoming FLAUT Talk: Gerard Van Herk, Nov. 15

Students, alumni, faculty and friends, please take note: next week in the department there will be a talk hosted by Friends of Linguistics At the University of Toronto (FLAUT) and the Society of Linguistic Undergraduate Students (SLUGS):

Prof. Gerard Van Herk 
Memorial University of Newfoundland 

Myth can mean "a story that a society tells to explain the world" or "thing that's not true". This talk looks at two widespread language myths in Newfoundland: that the local variety of English is dying, and that it is unique. Recordings from urbanizing villages and usage surveys across generations show that the dialect is changing, but change isn't death; historical and comparative work shows that Newfoundland English is not an only child ­ it has sisters in the Caribbean and the US south.

Gerard Van Herk is the Canada Research Chair in Regional Language and Oral Text at Memorial University of Newfoundland, and director of the Memorial University Sociolinguistics Laboratory (

Thursday November 15, 2012 7-9 p.m. 

November 6, 2012

Photos from NWAV 41

Sali Tagliamonte giving her plenary talk at NWAV 41
(Photo credit: Robert Baxter)
As mentioned in a previous blog post, several linguists from U of T attended NWAV 41. PhD students Derek Denis, Matt Hunt Gardner and new LGCU co-president Alex Motut, MA alumnus Shannon Mooney, and upper-year undergraduate students Ruth Maddeaux and Martin Sneath drove down together in a van to Bloomington, Indiana, where they met up with Professor Sali Tagliamonte, visiting scholar Bing Cai, and PhD student Jim Smith.
Sali gave an excellent, thought-provoking plenary talk, and the other talks were quite good as well. The U of T linguists also enjoyed a mini-reunion with PhD alumnus Alex D'Arcy, MA alumnus Maddie Shellgren, and former postdoctoral fellow Becky Roeder.

Alex Motut shares these pictures from the conference :

Fall in Bloomington
The campus (Indiana University)
Ruth Maddeaux (undergraduate student) and PhD students Matt Hunt Gardner and Derek Denis 
PhD student Jim Smith and Shannon Mooney (MA 2012)
Jim Smith, Matt Hunt Gardner, Ruth Maddeaux, Derek Denis, Sali Tagliamonte, Bing Cai (visiting scholar), and Shannon Mooney (missing: Alex Motut and undergraduate student Martin Sneath)

November 4, 2012

The Road Less Travelled

The view from Victoria College
Last weekend, we hosted The Road Less Travelled: An international conference on heritage languages and heritage language acquisition at Victoria College. This interdisciplinary conference was collaboratively organized by members of our department (Ana Pérez-Leroux and Keren Rice) the Department of Slavic Languages and Literature (Christina Kramer), and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese (Olivia Marasco, Joanne Markle LaMontagne, and Stephen Rupp). Several members of these, and other, departments also served as moderators or general volunteers during the conference.

Researchers from McGill discuss the language situation in Montreal
This conference was unique in using the pecha kucha format for presentations, where presenters showed twenty slides, speaking about each for twenty seconds, for a total of six minutes and forty seconds. It was amazing to see just how much information could be conveyed in this condensed format! Presenters used their twenty-second slides effectively to present their research quite creatively to the audience of anthropologists, language educators, psycholinguists, sociolinguistics, theoretical linguists, undergraduate students, and others.
In addition to the pecha kucha sessions, on the first day of the conference, several undergraduate students from our university shared their personal stories of heritage language acquisition and maintenance and the complexities of their identities as heritage language speakers.

Poster presentations in the Alumni Hall of Victoria College
Poster presentations took place over lunch on the second day of the conference, and throughout the conference, there were  a number of excellent plenary talks. In line with the interdisciplinary nature of the conference, the invited speakers shared their different perspectives at looking at heritage languages and the importance of further refining and developing the investigation of heritage languages.

Thank you to the organizers, volunteers, and attendees for helping make this conference a success!

Attendees enjoying the catered lunch

Photo credits: Eugenia Suh

November 2, 2012

Algonquian Conference

Doctoral candidate Will Oxford is just back from the 44th Annual Algonquian Conference in Chicago where he presented a paper entitled "Theoretical implications of Proto-Algonquian verb inflection." Also presenting at the same conference was recent alumnus Tanya Slavin, presenting on "The semantics of verb stem composition in Ojicree."

November 1, 2012

Visit from an Old Friend

Photo credit: Nadia Molinari
We were happily surprised on October 25th by a visit to the department from Saradindu Guha (Office Administrator, Dept. of Linguistics 1991-1999). He was on campus to attend a speech by Stephen Lewis on The Power of Community at the closing event of New College’s 50th Anniversary celebrations. This picture, with Diane Massam, was taken at the reception for this talk.
(Thanks to Diane Massam for this posting.)