January 20, 2016


Our department and departmental alumni put in a good showing at the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America and its smaller 'sister societies', this year held from Thursday, January 7 to Sunday, January 10 at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C.

Several of us were involved right from the beginning of the conference. Naomi Nagy (faculty) and Paulina Lyskawa (MA 2015, now at the University of Maryland) gave a presentation at Thursday's workshop on the preparation of corpora for archival storage.

Later on Thursday afternoon, the LSA symposium 'Documenting variation in endangered languages' featured faculty sociolinguists Sali A. Tagliamonte and Naomi Nagy each giving a presentation. Over at the symposium 'Communication and identity construction in a multilingual context: A linguistic approach beyond cultural boundaries', alumna Nicole Rosen (Ph.D. 2007, now at the University of Manitoba) gave a presentation on language revitalization among the Métis of southern Manitoba. The LSA sessions featured alumna Michelle Yuan (MA 2013, now at MIT) and two colleagues presenting work on mood- and agreement-related allomorphy in Inuktitut. At the meeting of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA), Michael Barrie (Ph.D. 2006, now at Sogang University) gave a talk on Onondaga interrogatives.

Sali and Michael celebrate a very successful beginning of the conference(s)!
(Photo courtesy of Sali A. Tagliamonte.)

Naomi (centre) with two of her first students from the University of New
Hampshire to have gone on to do Ph.D.s in linguistics: Jim Wood (now at
Yale University), and Tricia Irwin (now at the University of Pennsylvania).
(Photo courtesy of Naomi Nagy.)

On the Friday morning in the LSA sessions, Ph.D. student Matt Hunt Gardner and former postdoc Rebecca Roeder (2007-09, now at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte) presented a new model of the dialectological Canadian Shift affecting the vowel system. Over at the American Dialect Society (ADS) meeting, Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) and Ruth Maddeaux (Ph.D.) presented work on three rather novel sociolinguistic variables as found across Northern Ontario. They were immediately followed by alumna Cathleen Waters (Ph.D. 2011, now at the University of Leicester), who has been digging into corpora of historical speech in the British Parliament in order to shed light on linguistic change.

Over at the symposium 'Scientific practice and progress in forensic linguistics', alumnus William J. Idsardi (BA 1988, now at the University of Maryland) showed some work on neurolinguistic ways of determining the dialect and/or individual speaker of a piece of linguistic evidence.

As part of the symposium 'Language contact in the mind and in the community: Insights from bilingual phonetics and phonology', former visiting student Colleen Balukas (now at Ball State University) presented work on phonetic production on the part of Spanish-English bilinguals. This symposium concluded with a poster session, which included two alumni: Nicole Rosen  (Ph.D. 2007, now at the University of Manitoba) with two colleagues on language-contact and its effects on the vowel system of Michif, and former visiting student Holman Tse (now back at the University of Pittsburgh) presenting work he undertook here under Naomi Nagy's supervision, on phonetic/phonological issues among different generations of heritage Cantonese speakers in the Toronto area.

At SSILA, Patricia A. Shaw (Ph.D. 1976, now at the University of British Columbia) presented work on the phonology of Kwak’wala". And Ph.D. student Emilia Melara single-handedly ensured that our department was represented at the meeting of the Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics, reporting on work she has done on null-subjects in Mauritian Creole.

Paulina and Emilia find a minute to take in the local sights together!
(Photo courtesy of Emilia Melara.)

Saturday found two alumni and a colleague presenting at ADS: Nicole Rosen (Ph.D. 2007, now at the University of Manitoba) and Alexandra D'Arcy (Ph.D. 2005, now at the University of Victoria), along with collaborator Jillian Ankutowicz (University of Lethbridge) presented on their investigations into variable (ing) and its somewhat slippery third variant, 'een'.

Carrie Gillon (MA 1999, now at Arizona State University), with colleague Peter Jacobs (University of Victoria) gave a talk to the SSILA on evidentiality in Skwxwú7mesh.

Sali spent two hours running between two simultaneous poster sessions. At the ADS-related one, she and Katharina Pabst (University of Buffalo) in conjunction with the other students from Sali's class at the LSA Summer Institute 2015 presented a poster on variation and change among adjectives that mean 'very good' (awesome, cool, excellent, etc.); at the LSA poster session, she and Ph.D. student Marisa Brook presented a poster on restrictive relative clause markers across the Northern Ontario English Corpus that Sali and her students have been assembling.

Elsewhere in the room, alumnus Michael Barrie (Ph.D. 2006, now at Sogang University) was also presenting an LSA poster, this one on syntactic features of Iroquoian.

Marisa shows the poster with Sali to dialectologist Kirk Hazen of West
Virginia University. (Photo courtesy of Sali A. Tagliamonte.)

In the afternoon, there were two LSA talks from alumni. Kenji Oda (Ph.D. 2012, now at Syracuse University) presented work on Irish copulas, and Michelle Yuan (MA 2013, now at MIT) looked at subordinate clause syntax in Gikuyu.

A number of people with links to our department could be found at the symposium 'Perspective on language and linguistics: Community-based research (CBR). Faculty member and chair Keren Rice gave a presentation on interacting with the community amidst linguistic documentation. Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins (MA 1984, now at the University of Victoria) along with members of the UVic Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) provided an overview of community consultation and different types of outcomes. Andrew Carnie (BA 1991, now at the University of Arizona) with eight University of Arizona colleagues, reported on fieldwork and experimentation among speakers of Scottish Gaelic on the Isle of Skye.

It was a busy Sunday morning for everyone, but probably more so for Ph.D. Matt Hunt Gardner than for most of us. First, he and Derek Denis (Ph.D. 2015, now at the University of Victoria), Marisa Brook (Ph.D.), and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) presented an LSA talk on the history of the be like quotative in Toronto and around the world. Less than an hour later, Matt ran over to the ADS session, where he, Rebecca Roeder (postdoc 2007-09, now at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte) and colleague Becky Childs (Coastal Carolina University) presented an analysis of the Canadian Shift across four locations. Meanwhile, Ph.D. student Tomohiro Yokoyama (Ph.D.) gave an LSA presentation on his recent Generals paper about wh-exclamatives in English.

Derek, Marisa, and Matt present their joint work on be like with Sali.
(Photo courtesy of Sali A. Tagliamonte.)

 Well done, everyone! See you next year for LSA and the rest in Austin, Texas.

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