June 29, 2016

Report from Sociolinguistics Symposium 21

(Photo courtesy of Naomi Nagy.)

Along with 1200 of her closest sociolinguistics colleagues, faculty member Naomi Nagy attended SS21 in Murcia, Spain. She gave a talk about the (non-)correlation of linguistic attitudes, ethnolinguistic vitality and variable linguistic patterns in Toronto's heritage languages as part of a panel on attitudes and prestige in heritage languages.

NWAV organizers: take note of this for the future. Think about organizing a conference somewhere where you can count on being able to serve all receptions and coffee breaks outside in the sunshine!

June 27, 2016

18th Diachronic Generative Syntax Conference (DiGS)

The eighteenth Diachronic Generative Syntax Conference (DiGS) is being held in Ghent, Belgium, from June 29 to July 1.

Former postdoc Heather Burnett (now at CNRS, France) and faculty member Sali A. Tagliamonte are presenting:
"Using cross-linguistic evidence to ground morphosyntactic change: No/not...any variation in the history of English."

Former postdoc Gabriela Alboiu (now at York University) and colleague Virginia Hill (University of New Brunswick):
"Cliticization of AUX and the shift from SVO to VSO in the history of Romanian."

June 26, 2016

Visit from Lauren Eby Clemens (SUNY Albany)

SUNY Albany faculty member Lauren Eby Clemens visited our department recently in order to attend Rebecca Tollanʻs thesis proposal (as a committee member), give a talk, and work with Diane and Becky. Above are Lauren, Diane, and Becky after working feverishly on Polynesian syntax in the Theory Lab. (Photo courtesy of Diane.)

June 23, 2016

Congratulations, Neil and Malina!

We are delighted to be able to say that University of Toronto students have been awarded both the Best Student Talk and Best Student Poster awards by the Canadian Linguistic Association/Association canadienne de linguistique, following the 2016 annual conference held in Calgary, Alberta, in late May.

The recipient of the Best Student Talk award is Neil Banerjee (BA), who has just finished his undergraduate degree in our department and will be beginning his Ph.D. studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this autumn. The judges' comments were as follows:

In his talk ["Of monsters and modals"], Banerjee focused on distributional differences between epistemic possibility and necessity modals in English and Kinyarwanda (with regard to temporal shift and modal base's shift from the speaker to another individual). He argued that epistemic modals involve a context-index split, proposing that under attitude verbs the context is overwritten with an index (due to a 'monstrous' operator selected by an attitude verb). His proposal predicts that, cross-linguistically, modals are expected to behave differently in matrix clauses, under attitude verbs and in the consequent of a counterfactual conditional. The judges emphasized Banerjee's strong command of complex theoretical ideas, his effectiveness in linking the data to the formal tools used in his analysis, and the ease in how he handled the question-and-answer period. The judges were also impressed by the breadth of his analysis, which sets the ground for further study of epistemic modals in a cross-linguistic perspective.

The Best Student Poster award has gone to Spanish and Portuguese Ph.D. student Malina Radu:

Radu’s poster ["Conditioned variability in the realization of Romanian rhotics"] presented a phonetic analysis of Romanian rhotics, with the aim of identifying possible sources of their variability (word-internal position, register and word type). On the basis of results from two production tasks with 10 native speakers of Romanian, Radu observed different realizations of rhotics extending beyond those previously attested, namely tap and trill variants. The judges unanimously noted that she was extremely comfortable talking about the motivation and implications of her analysis, even if this information was not on the poster. In fact, Radu’s research is part of a larger project that examines the acquisition of Spanish by Romanian speakers and the realization of rhotics in both languages. She very clearly had a sense of this larger research program and of how her poster presentation fits in. Finally, she was open to suggestions and ideas, and she was able to answer questions that went beyond what was shown on the poster.

Congratulations to both for their outstanding work!

June 20, 2016

Research Groups: June 20-24

Thursday, June 23 - 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM in SS1086
Syntax/Semantics Group
Lauren Eby Clemens (SUNY Albany): "Phonological phrasing in Rutooro and the problem of relative clauses."

June 19, 2016

Sociolinguistics Symposium 21

The 21st Sociolinguistics Symposium is taking place at the Universidad de Murcia in Spain from June 15 to 18.

Naomi Nagy (faculty) is presenting "Contact effects and attitude in Toronto's heritage languages."

Emilie LeBlanc (MA 2014, now at York University) is presenting "C'est right addictive, comme super addicting: Diachronic changes in the use of intensifiers in Chiac."

Former visiting scholar Véronique Lacoste (University of Freiburg) and colleague Mirjam Eiswirth (University of Edinburgh) are presenting "English among Haitians in Toronto: Phonetic variation in an expanding community."

June 12, 2016

CRC-Sponsored Summer Phonetics/Phonology Workshop

The annual CRC-Sponsored Summer Phonetics/Phonology Workshop hosted by our department will be taking place on Thursday, June 16, from 8:45 AM to 5:00 PM, in Wordsworth College room 121. The program comprises talks by departmental members of every sort from undergraduate to faculty to alumni, and is as follows:

9:00 AM - 9:30 AM
Peter Jurgec (faculty): "Coronal alternations in Slovenian."

9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Joanna Chociej (Ph.D.): "Are all grammaticality judgments created equal?"

10:00 AM - 10:30 AM
Paul Arsenault (Ph.D. 2012, now at Tyndale University College): "Retroflexion in South Asia: Typological patterns and areal distributions."

10:30 AM - 10:45 AM

10:45 AM - 11:15 AM
Ross Krekoski (Ph.D.): "Complexity and reanalysis in Chinese tonal systems."

11:15 AM - 11:45 AM
Yoonjung Kang (faculty): "Paradigm uniformity in Heritage Korean."

11:45 AM - 12:15 PM
Keren Rice (faculty) "Why inconsistent allophony: Pressure for paradigm uniformity in Fort Good Hope Dene."

12:15 PM - 1:45 PM
Lunch in the department lounge

1:45 - 2:15 PM
Mary Aksim (MA): "Perceiving the Canadian Vowel Shift: The L effect."

2:15 PM - 2:45 PM
Darcie Blainey (postdoc): "A phonetic sketch of Louisiana French schwa."

2:45 PM - 3:15 PM
Gloria Mellesmoen (MA): "Are BAGELS in the BAG? /ei/ in British Columbia English."

3:15 PM - 3:30 PM

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Gabriel So (BA): "Consonant harmony in Harmonic Serialism."

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM
Heather Yawney (Ph.D.): "Irregular stress on the right foot to be faithful: The case of Turkish adverbials with -en."

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM
B. Elan Dresher (faculty) and Aditi Lahiri (University of Oxford): "Latinate suffi xes and the directionality of English stress."

Thanks to the organizing committee - Peter Avery (Ph.D. 1996, now at York University), Peter Jurgec (faculty), Alexei Kochetov (faculty), Keren Rice (faculty), and Jessamyn Schertz (postdoc) - for all of their hard work!

June 11, 2016

Research Groups: June 13-17

Tuesday, June 14 - 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM in SS 2116
Psycholinguistics Group
Cassandra Chapman (McMaster University): Presentation on recent research involving eye-movements and reconstruction effects in 'how many' questions.

Thursday, June 16 - 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM in SS1086
Syntax/Semantics Group
Margot Vivanco (Universidad Complutense de Madrid): "Ø-marked Spanish anticausatives and the scalar nature of change of state events."

June 8, 2016

24th Manchester Phonology Meeting

The 24th Manchester Phonology Meeting took place between May 26 and 28. U of T graduates in particular were prominently featured!

Christina Bjorndahl (MA 2008, now at Cornell University):
"The typology of voiced spirants and the emergence of [sonorant]."

B. Elan Dresher (faculty) and colleague Aditi Lahiri (Oxford University):
"Latinate suffixes and the directionality of English stress."

William J. Idsardi (BA 1988, now at the University of Maryland):
"Categorization, evidence, and phonology."

Sara Mackenzie (Ph.D. 2009, now at Memorial University of Newfoundland) and colleague Joe Argentino (Memorial University of Newfoundland):
"Parallel patterns between language games and serial music."

Sharon Rose (BA 1990, now at the University of California, San Diego):
"How phonology and typology are shaped: Lessons from fieldwork."

June 6, 2016

Research Groups: Week of June 6-10

Thursday, June 9 - 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM in SS 1086
Syntax/Semantics Group
Tomohiro Yokoyama (Ph.D.): "Featural account for the ordering of object markers in Kinyarwanda."

June 4, 2016

Report from CLA-ACL

The 2016 meeting of the Canadian Linguistic Association/Association canadienne de linguistique was held in Calgary from May 28 to 30. Above are some of the many attendees with links to our department: Bettina Spreng (Ph.D. 2012, now at the University of Saskatchewan), Richard Compton (Ph.D. 2012, now at l'Université du Québec à Montréal), Nicole Rosen (Ph.D. 2007, now at the University of Manitoba), Patrick Murphy (Ph.D.), Carrie Dyck (Ph.D. 1995, now at Memorial University of Newfoundland), Elaine Gold (faculty), and Diane Massam (faculty).

June 3, 2016

Report from Complexity in Acquisition Workshop

The Complexity in Acquisition Workshop took place at New College and University College from May 24 to 26. Researchers and teams from the University of Toronto, Goethe University, the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Cambridge University presented their latest research on acquisition of recursion across languages. It was a great event! In this photo, you can find special guests Ian Roberts (third from back on left), Petra Schulz (back on right), and Tom Roeper (second back on right), as well as hosts Ana-Teresa Pérez-Leroux (back on left), and Yves Roberge (third back on right), along with several members of the teams. Thanks to photographer Alex Lowles for her artistic touch!

June 2, 2016

LIN398 adventurers in Kapuskasing

Every year, faculty member Sali A. Tagliamonte applies for funding for a LIN398 course in order to take undergraduate students on a research excursion trip to Northern Ontario and teach the methods and practises of fieldwork in variationist sociolinguistics. This year's field trip is well underway, and the students have been hard at work!

Why is LIN398 so worthwhile?

Well, the short answer is because it's fun. The more important reason is because the immense hinterland of Ontario presents a sociolinguistic goldmine of untapped regional variation. The research coming out of my laboratory on Ontario dialects is not only an enterprise of language documentation, it is also leading to innovative contributions to sociolinguistics. LIN398 is an invaluable adjunct to these enterprises. Moreover, it offers the ideal training ground for students. An add-on benefit is the incredibly positive community outreach and engagement that is forged in the process. In the research excursion, we collect oral histories from people born and raised in whatever community we go to and then produce a book and DVD of stories that we return to the library, museum or other community organizations.

Where are you this year?

We are Kapuskasing, Ontario, a small city on the most northerly point of Highway 11. It took us two days to get here. From Toronto, it is 850 kilometers due north. Kap (as it is called by locals) is a minority English-speaking community where two-thirds of the population are francophone. This presents a unique language-contact situation.

 Which students are with you this year?

Cedric Ludlow, John Lubanski, Jennifer McNeillie, and Lisa Schlegl.

What are they doing right now?

They are very busy conducting sociolinguistic interviews with people born and raised in the community and asking them questions that bring local culture, lore and language to the surface in narratives of personal experience. So far we have discovered an incredible wealth of traditions, experiences, and many heartwarming tales. As of yesterday morning the students had collected 55 interviews!