October 28, 2016

Pumpkin carving night 2016

The Linguistics Graduate Course Union (LGCU) recently held a pumpkin carving night, its first one since 2010. Below is the result. Thanks to Keren Rice for the photo!

October 25, 2016

U of T linguists at USC!

U of T linguists presented their research last weekend at the 2016 Annual Meeting on Phonology, held October 21-23, 2016 at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Yoonjung Kang & Jessamyn Schertz: The role of perceived L2 category in cross-language perception and implications for loanword adaptation

Michael Becker (Stony Brook University) & Peter Jurgec: Inconspicuous unfaithfulness in Slovenian

October 20, 2016

Throwback: old department branding

Courtesy of Jack Chambers, we have an old department letterhead (from around 1981) that shows an attempt at branding for our department. It was created by an (at the time) new office of the university that was charged with branding the various departments of the university.

October 19, 2016

Naomi Nagy guest lecture at NYU

Naomi kicked off the 2016-2017 NYU Linguistics Colloquium series with a guest lecture , "Cross-cultural sociolinguistic surprises in Toronto Talk," sharing some recent findings from the Heritage Language Variation and Change Project. The perk of talking about Heritage Languages? Being wined and dined by local linguists at Japanese, Chinese, Italian (and another)—2 of these because she works on 2 Italian varieties!—and Ukrainian venues, all in a 2-day stretch. Oh, and mustn’t forget the Mah Ze Dahr Bakery, with Pakistani roots. Its Urdu names means "the taste essence of food, its flavor and magic that make it delicious."

Bonus: catching up with new NYU prof Dr. Ailis Cournane, a recent grad of our department.
NYU may be the only linguistics department with its own doorman!

Ryan DeCaire on CTV about revitalizing indigenous languages

Ryan DeCaire, who was recently hired in a cross-appointment between the Centre for Indigenous Studies and the Department of Linguistics, was recently interviewed by CTV's Your Morning on language revitalization. The UofT news write-up about it is here, and the actual interview is available from CTV here.

October 18, 2016

2016 Inuit Studies Conference at Memorial University

The 2016 Inuit Studies Conference was held at Memorial University on October 7th-10th. Presentations of interest for our department:

Alana Johns (faculty): "Unikkâk: The Story of a Story"

Alana Johns (faculty) and Rita Andersen: "Phrases from Nunatsiavummiut"

Julien Carrier (Ph.D.): "Sociolinguistic study on the loss of ergativity in Inuktitut across Eastern Canada"

Zoe McKenzie (Ph.D.): "Multi-Functionality of the Optative Mood (in Inuktitut)"

Douglas Wharram & Ilia Nicoll (Ph.D.): "A tripartite classification of intransitive incorporating verbs in Inuktitut"

Richard Compton (Ph.D. 2012, now at University of Quebec at Montreal): "Incorporated nouns in Inuktitut as in situ objects"

Marina Sherkina-Lieber (Ph.D. 2011, now at York University): "Inuit who understand Inuktitut but who do not speak it: What do they know and what do they lack?"

October 17, 2016

Group photo at NELS 47

Some past and present members of our department at UMass Amherst for NELS 47 were able to meet up for a picture!
(L-R): Yining Nie (MA 2015, now at NYU), Michela Ippolito (faculty), Kenji Oda (Ph.D. 2012, now at Syracuse), Michael Barrie (Ph.D. 2006, now at Sogang University), Clarissa Forbes (Ph.D.), Michelle Yuan (MA 2013, now at MIT)

October 14, 2016

Talks by Bob Ladd and John Esling this week

This week was a busy and exciting P-side week in the department, with visits and guest talks by both Bob Ladd (University of Edinburgh) and John Esling (University of Victoria, emeritus). On Tuesday, Bob Ladd presented "Lexical Allophones", a discussion of marginal phonological contrasts, subject to both phonological conditioning and lexical effects. On Thursday, John Esling presented "The Effect of the Laryngeal Articulator on Vowel Quality", showing some excellent MRI images of different laryngeal states and their effects on tongue shape and cavity sizes. The abstracts for both talks are below.

The Phonetics Brigade
(L-R: Alexei Kochetov, John Esling, Jessamyn Schertz)

October 10, 2016

Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics: Alumni Issue (Vol. 37)

Volume 37 of TWPL (Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics) has recently been released. This is a special issue made up of submissions from alumni of our department, to celebrate the recent revival of TWPL (after the six year hiatus between Volume 34 and Volume 35). The submissions for this issue span four different subfields: phonology, syntax, language acquisition, and language variation and change. The alumni issue itself can be found on the TWPL site here, and past issues of TWPL can be found on the archive here. Good work, TWPL team!

October 6, 2016

LGCU Welcome Workshop

The 8th annual Welcome Workshop of the Linguistics Graduate Course Union (LGCU) will take place this Friday, October 7, in Sidney Smith Hall, Room 1083. Our new graduate students will be presenting their research, so please stop by and have a look!

The schedule is below.

1:00-1:10 Coffee & welcome
1:10-1:35 Lexical variation in syntactic profiles: New insights from world Englishes (Melanie Röthlisberger)
1:35-2:00 Frequency of use and lexical change: A case study of Latin and Spanish (Fiona Wilson)
2:00-2:25 Hooking up: Defining and using an ambiguous term in the college bubble (Savannah Meslin)
2:25-2:40 BREAK
2:40-3:05 The dark side of the loon or Joyeux No-dark-ël (Luke Zhou)
3:05-3:30 Enriching sociolinguistic categories: Evidence from variation within the adjective phrase (Lex Konnelly)
3:30-3:55 ‘It’s new, it’s wicked, it’s awesome’: Using adjectives to pinpoint the actuation of linguistic change (Katharina Pabst)
3:55-4:20 The interpretation of pronouns in proxy counterfactuals (Heather Stephens)
4:20-4:35 BREAK
4:35-5:00 De and Chinese morpho-syntax (Cater Chen)
5:00-5:25 Restrictive relativized constituents and verbal predicates in Krio: An investigation of the accessibility hierarchy (Brea Lutton)
5:25-5:50 Relexification of Haitian Creole with French (Sarah Newman)

Fieldwork group meeting at 12:30

The Fieldwork Research Group will be meeting from 12:30-1:30 tomorrow (Friday, 7 October) not 1:00-2:00, in order to allow people more time to attend the Welcome Workshop.

October 4, 2016


The 47th annual meeting of the North East Linguistics Society is being held at the University of Massachusetts Amherst from October 16th to 18th. The program is available here. Of interest:

Will Oxford (Ph.D. 2014, now at the University of Manitoba): "Person dissimilation in the derivation of agreement alternations"

Yining Nie (MA 2015, now at New York University): "Why is there NOM-NOM but no ERG-ERG?"

Michela Ippolito (Faculty): "Indefinite Pronouns"

Clarissa Forbes (Ph.D.): "Aggressively ergative agreement in Gitksan"

October 1, 2016

Sali Interviewed for Her New Book on Teenager Language

Sali Tagliamonte (faculty) was recently interviewed for her new book Teen Talk: The Language of Adolescents on specific features of teenager speech in English (including "like" and "stuff", and online writing conventions) as well as the role of teenager speech in language change more broadly. The interview can be found here on New Books Network.