May 29, 2014

Change and Variation in Canada 8

CVC 8 is taking place in Kingston, Ontario, this weekend, hosted by the Strathy Language Unit at Queen's University. The program is full of U of T sociolinguists; in particular, undergraduates are unusually well-represented. Current members of the department taking part are:

Marisa Brook (Ph.D.)
A peripheral view of change from above: Prestige forms over time in a medium-sized community.

Naomi Cui (BA), Minyi Zhu (BA), Vina Law (BA), Holman Tse (visiting student, originally from the University of Pittsburgh), and Naomi Nagy (faculty)
Exploring automated formant analysis for comparative variationist study of Heritage Cantonese and English.

Derek Denis (Ph.D.)
A variationist perspective on epistemic parentheticals in Ontario.

Aaron Dinkin (faculty)
A phonological variable in a textual medium: (ing) in online chat.

Shayna Gardiner (Ph.D.)
Prized possessions: Variation in Ancient Egyptian possession.

Jim Smith (Ph.D.)
Sociophonetic variation in Northern Ontario vowels: A first look.

Martin Sneath (BA)
Emigrants, isolation, urban influx: Variable (ing) in Haliburton, Ontario.

Ph.D. alumnae Nicole Rosen (University of Manitoba) and Alexandra D'Arcy (University of Victoria) are co-authors on a presentation with colleague Jillian Ankutowicz (University of Lethbridge):
What have we been do-een? (ing) is not binary.

Other department attendees include Matt Hunt Gardner (Ph.D.), Alex Motut (Ph.D.), Ruth Maddeaux (MA), and Michael Iannozzi (BA).

Diane Massam at AFLA 21

Diane at AFLA 21 in Hawaii

Diane was at the University of Hawaiʻi, Manoa, this week for AFLA 21 (the annual meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association). She gave a keynote talk entitled "The highs and lows of Niuean instrumental applicatives."

Elizabeth Cowper at Spring Reunion

Elizabeth Cowper is giving a lecture entitled 'Looking Into the Future' which will take place as part of Spring Reunion on Thursday, May 29 from 7-9 pm in the Linguistics Lounge at the University of Toronto. This lecture is open to all students, alumni, faculty and friends!

Abstract: Currently, linguists disagree as to whether the future is best seen as a tense, along with present and past, or as a modal element, along with notions like possibility, necessity, obligation, and ability. For example, present-day English marks the future with the modal element will, whereas in Romance languages there is typically a morphological future tense form. I will discuss my ongoing research into how the expression of futurity in English has changed since the 10th century. English modals (can, will, may, might, etc.) emerged as a special class only around 1500, and will and shall began to be used as future markers only in Middle English. Comparing four versions of the Gospels (the 10th-Century Anglo-Saxon Gospels, the 14th-Century Purvey version of the Wycliffe Bible, the 16th-Century King James version, as well as the Vulgate Latin Bible from which the other three were translated), I will talk about how the expression of futurity developed, and what this says about whether the future is a tense or a mood.

May 28, 2014

Psycholinguistics Group (May 31)

The psycholinguistics group is resuming meetings this week (May 31), with a guest speaker from
the University of Rochester. Jeff Runner will present his work entitled "Verb specific transitivity biases in verb phrase ellipsis". You can read more about Jeff here.

The meeting starts at 9:30am and will take place in Sid Smith 560A.

The next meetings are scheduled for June 13 (Inge Alferink, PSY, UTM) and
June 27, followed by a break for July and August.

Congratulations, Sandrine!

Congratulations to Sandrine Tailleur (Phd 2012), who has accepted a tenure-stream position at the Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. As of August 1st, she will be an assistant professor (in French: professeur régulier) in the Linguistics and Modern Languages department (Unité de linguistique et langues). The department offers both a BA and an MA program in linguistics.

May 26, 2014

Congratulations, Maddie and Holly!

Alumni wedding! Maddie Shellgren and Holly Young (both MA 2011) were married on May 24, 2014, in Montgomery, Vermont. Maddie and Holly met in the U of T MA program in September 2010, started dating in early 2011, and became engaged in March 2012. They are both currently at Michigan State University; Maddie is a Ph.D. student in sociolinguistics, and Holly is doing an MA in speech pathology.

A large number of U of T linguists took a road trip down to Vermont for the wedding! In attendance were Derek Denis (Ph.D.) and Alex Motut (Ph.D.); Sarah Clarke (Ph.D. 2013) and Radu Craioveanu (Ph.D.); James Byrnes (MA 2011) and Michelle Stella (BA 2010); Jim Smith (Ph.D.) and his wife Deborah; Ruth Maddeaux (MA) and her husband Barn Costello; Ross Godfrey (Ph.D.); Marisa Brook (Ph.D.); and Andrei Anghelescu (MA 2011, now at the University of British Columbia). Radu, James, Michelle, Marisa, Ross, and Andrei were all in Holly and Maddie's MA cohort in 2010-2011.

(Photos courtesy of Radu.)

Maddie & Holly's ceremony

A brief downpour after the ceremony.

Table 1: Marisa, Jim, Deborah, Alex, Derek, Ruth, Barn

Table 2: Radu, Sarah, Ross, Andrei, James, Michelle

Peering through the window.


The whole Toronto crowd! 
(Michelle, James, Derek, Alex, Sarah, Radu, Barn, Ruth,
Holly, Maddie, Andrei, Ross, Marisa, Deborah, Jim)

Leslie Saxon wins Craigdarroch Award

Congratulations to alumna Leslie Saxon (MA 1979) of the University of Victoria, who has been awarded a Craigdarroch Research Award for Excellence in Knowledge Mobilization. The award recognizes Leslie's important contributions to language revitalization efforts in the Northwest Territories. You can read more about this great honour here.

Jila Ghomeshi wins National Achievement Award

Congratulations to alumna Jila Ghomeshi (Ph.D. 1996) who was awarded the National Achievement Award at this year's CLA. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the field and to the community.

Past recipients include faculty members Keren Rice (2013) and Jack Chambers (2010).

CLA 2014

The 2014 Annual Meeting of the Canadian Linguistic Association wraps up today at Brock University. As usual, there has been a strong U of T presence, with contributions from many department members past and present.

Current members of the department who presented include:

Bronwyn Bjorkman (postdoc) and Elizabeth Cowper (faculty)
Possession and necessity: from individuals to worlds

Cristina Cuervo (faculty) (with Gabrielle Klassen)
An imperfect representation: The preterit–imperfect contrast in syntactic theory and SLA

Paul Poirier (Undergraduate)
Malay/Indonesian voice and pseudo-incorporation

Julianne Doner (Ph.D.)
Dimensions of variation of the EPP

Liisa Duncan (Ph.D.)
Synchronic productivity of Finnish vowel harmony

Clarissa Forbes (Ph.D.)
On the absence of nominal coordination in Gitksan

Naomi Francis (MA)
This predicate is tasty: Predicates of personal taste, faultless disagreement, and the ideal judge

Julie Goncharov (Ph.D.)
Many and determiner systems in English and Russian

Jessica Mathie (Ph.D.)
Markedness in number features: Evidence from Ganggalida (Yukulta)

Daniel Milway (Ph.D.)
Null pronouns in English: Evidence from particle verb constructions

Avery Ozburn (MA)
Statistical co-occurrence restrictions in Oromo consonants

Maida Percival (MA)
Variation in ejectives in Harar Oromo

Ana-Teresa Pérez-Leroux (faculty) (with Malina Radu, Gabrielle Klassen, Laura Colantoni, Matthew Patience, and Olga Tararova)
The perception of intonational contours: a cross-linguistic study

Christopher Spahr (Ph.D.)
Restricting non-segmental contrasts

Alumni who presented include:

Richard Compton (McGill)
An argument for genuine object agreement in Inuit

Jila Ghomeshi (University of Manitoba)
Who are we talking to when we talk to ‘the public’ about linguistics?

Carrie Gillon (Arizona State) (with Solveiga Armoskaite)
Aspectual conditions on (in)definiteness

Daniel Currie Hall (Saint Mary’s University)
On substance in phonology

Sara Mackenzie (Memorial University) (with Erin Olson, Meghan Clayards, and Michael Wagner)
Allophonic variation in English /l/: production, perception, and segmentation

Will Oxford (University of Manitoba)
The rise and fall of split-ergative agreement in Algonquian

Marina Sherkina-Lieber (Carleton University)
Monolingual and bilingual children’s production of Russian embedded yes–no questions

In addition to the main session, there was a joint session with the Canadian Association of Applied Linguistics on the revitalization of First Nations languages, organized by Keren Rice (faculty). This session included presentations by alumni:

Carrie Dyck (Memorial University) (with Amos Key, Jr.)
An immersion program for intermediate-level speakers

Marguerite MacKenzie (Memorial University)
Language maintenance in East Cree, Naskapi and Innu: A forty-year perspective

May 22, 2014

Diane at ETI3

Diane Massam was recently in Montreal for Exploring the Interfaces 3. She presented an invited talk: "Issues in constituency in Niuean". The workshop was third in a series that McGill has held exploring the intersections of syntactic theory with other core theoretical areas; the focus of ETI3 in particular was 'Prosody and Constituent Structure'.

May 20, 2014

Special issue of Lingua edited by Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux

Congratulations to Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux on the recent publication of Lingua Vol 144, which she edited. The subtitle of this special issue is: How Children Learn to Detect and Interpret Agreement
Morphology: A Crosslinguistic Perspective. Here are the contents:

SI: How Children Learn to Detect and Interpret Agreement Morphology: A
Crosslinguistic Perspective 
Edited by Ana-Teresa Pérez-Leroux
1. How children learn to detect and interpret agreement morphology: A
crosslinguistic perspective    
Ana T. Pérez-Leroux         
Pages 1-6 

2. The detection of subject–verb agreement violations by German-speaking children:
An eye-tracking study
Oda-Christina Brandt-Kobele, Barbara Höhle         
Original Research Article 
Pages 7-20 

3. Is children's comprehension of subject–verb agreement universally late?
Comparative evidence from French, English, and Spanish    
Géraldine Legendre, Jennifer Culbertson, Erin Zaroukian, Lisa Hsin, Isabelle
Barrière, Thierry Nazzi         
Original Research Article
Pages 21-39 

4. Spanish-speaking children's use of verbal inflection in comprehension   
Karen Miller, Cristina Schmitt         
Original Research Article 
Pages 40-57 

5. The acquisition of object clitic features in French: A comprehension study   
Mihaela Pirvulescu, Nelleke Strik
Original Research Article 
Pages 58-71  

Semantics of Understudied Languages (SULA)

SULA (Semantics of Understudied Languages) took place at UBC this past weekend.

Keren Rice was an invited speaker and gave a talk entitled 'A catalogue of plurality in Slavey (Dene, Athabaskan)'.

Other participants included two U of T alumni:

Meagan Louie (MA 2008) presented a talk: "Action-determined temporal perspectives in Blackfoot."

SFU faculty member Keir Moulton (BA, MA 2002) was a discussant. 

May 17, 2014

ABC↔C: Agreement by Correspondence Conference

The Agreement by Correspondence Conference (ABC↔C) was held in Berkeley, California on May 18th and 19th. Talks and posters presented by current members of our department were:

Radu Craioveanu (PhD) and Ross Godfrey (PhD)
A nonagreement analysis of Harari long-distance V-C palatalization

Alexei Kochetov (faculty) and Avery Ozburn (MA)
Categorical and gradient laryngeal harmony in Lezgian

Peter Jurgec (faculty)
Consonant harmony as feature spreading

Alexei Kochetov presented a second poster with PhD student Tomohiro Yokoyama and their colleague Myles Leitch (Tyndale University College):
Optionality in sibilant harmony: Experimental evidence from Kirundi

Avery Ozburn (MA) also presented a second poster:
Statistical laryngeal harmony in Oromo: a Maximum Entropy model

Alumna Rachel Walker (MA 1993), now at the University of Southern California, gave a talk:
Prominence-control and multiple triggers in vowel harmony: An ABC analysis

(Photos courtesy of Radu Craioveanu)

Lunch in the courtyard on the first day
Dwinelle Hall

Ross in discussion with Will Bennett
Avery explaining her poster to Florian Lionnet

Tomohiro and his poster
Avery and her poster
Evening out at Jupiter after the conference dinner
Peter, Tomo, Ross, Radu, Avery, Alexei
Ross, Tomo, Avery, Radu, Alexei, Peter
At a cafe just after the conclusion of the conference

May 6, 2014

Ron Smyth, Movie Star

Parts of an interview with Ron Smyth will be appearing in an upcoming documentary called
'Do I Sound Gay?'. The film - also featuring George Takei, David Sedaris, Margaret Cho, Dan
Savage, and more - is a thorough investigation of what makes for a prototypical gay voice, and how that interacts with societal homophobia. 'Do I Sound Gay?' is currently entering post-production
The finished film might well be a good resource for classes in sociolinguistics/sociophonetics, gender and sexuality studies, and so on. If you'd like to know more about it before its release, check out the
trailer <> on the Kickstarter page. Watch for Ron and our own phonetics

May 4, 2014

Guest speaker: José Ignacio Hualde

José Ignacio Hualde (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) will be giving a guest talk on Monday, May 5: "Phonological awareness and conventionalization in intervocalic lenition". This will be located in room 115 at Victoria College at 3 PM.