September 30, 2019

Research Groups: Friday, October 4

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Language Variation and Change Research Group
Practice talks for NWAV 48, taking place in Oregon from October 10 through 12.

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Phonology Research Group
Presentation by Arvind Iyengar (visiting scholar).

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Semantics Research Group
Presentation by Angelika Kiss (Ph.D.) on biased questions.
Biased questions are frequently represented in dynamic frameworks that takes into account the Speaker's discourse commitments. In this talk, some arguments will be presented for the importance of the Addressee's perceived beliefs by looking at polar rhetorical questions and negative wh-constructions using Farkas and Roelofsen's (2017) model. There is reason to think that both question types have highlighted alternatives, but fitting them into Farkas and Roelofsen's model raises some questions. While Farkas and Roelofsen consider intonation as a pragmatic phenomenon, I suggest, based on recent work on the prosodic realization of biased questions that intonation is not mere pragmatic decoration.

September 29, 2019

New paper: Moulton (2019)

Keir Moulton (faculty) has a new paper in the Canadian Journal of Linguistics: "Adverbs in VP ellipsis: An experimental investigation of antecedent selection."

This paper presents a case study of verb phrase ellipses with adverbially modified antecedents. It is shown experimentally that there is a preference for resolving ellipses in certain embedded clauses with unmodified VPs. The effect is hypothesized to reflect a general requirement to minimize the complexity of accommodated content. Four experiments support this hypothesis over plausible candidate hypotheses, including syntactic approaches to the effect (Matsuo 2001; Sailor 2014).

September 28, 2019

Guest speaker: Virginia Valian (Hunter College/CUNY Graduate Center)

The Cognitive Science Program, the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and the 'Entitlement' project under the aegis of the Jackman Humanities Institute are delighted to be co-hosting a guest lecture by Virginia Valian, a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Hunter College who is cross-appointed as a faculty member in Psychology, Linguistics, and Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her research has two main strands: a) the social psychology of gender equality as it intersects with language, and b) language acquisition, especially morphosyntax in L1 and the cognitive science of adult bilingualism. Her talk, "Are 2-year-olds copying their parents, or just speaking the same language?" will be taking place on Friday, October 4, 2019, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, in VC215.

September 25, 2019

Beginning-of-semester party

We rang in the new academic year with a departmental party on Friday, September 13! Our Department Chair, Sali A. Tagliamonte, and Graduate Coordinator, Yoonjung Kang, welcomed the new departmental members and welcomed back everyone else. We congratulated the 8 students who have finished MAs and the 9 who have completed Ph.D.s in the last year! Well done to all of our hard-working new graduate alumni.

Also, Kaz Bamba (Ph.D.), on behalf of the Linguistics Graduate Course Union, presented the annual Excellence in TA Supervision Award to Susana Béjar (faculty), and also recognized runner-up Guillaume Thomas (faculty). Congratulations! And many thanks to the students, staff, and faculty involved in the arrangements. Here's to a good academic year for all of us.

September 24, 2019

Research Groups: Week of September 23-27

Wednesday, September 25, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM in SS2116
Morphology Reading Group
Paper discussion led by Ross Godfrey (Ph.D.): Roberts, Ian (2017). The Final-Over-Final Condition in morphology. In Michelle Sheehan, Theresa Biberauer, Ian Roberts, and Anders Holmberg (eds.), The Final-over-Final Condition: A syntactic universal, 323–345. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Friday, September 27, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM in SS560A
Psycholinguistics Group
Nayoun Kim (postdoc): "Hold, release, and retrieve: The study of Wh-Filler-Gap Dependencies and ellipsis."
This talk is concerned with how components in memory structures and online structure building processes interact by investigating the online processing of Wh-Filler-Gap Dependencies (WhFGD) and ellipsis constructions. Resolving long-distance dependencies involves linking the dependent element to the controlling element. In the case of Wh-gap dependency formation, the wh-element is linked to the gap. In the case of ellipsis resolution, the ellipsis site is linked to the antecedent. In the processing of long-distance dependency resolution, I point out that two component processes are involved: the storage/maintenance component and the retrieval component. A series of studies on WhFGD formation reveals that the sentence processing mechanism involves maintenance component on top of the retrieval component. Studies on ellipsis constructions further reveals that when the antecedent is retrieved, detailed grammatical structural information should be retrieved, thus grammatical and structural information must be encoded in memory. Based on the results of these studies, I specifically argue for the following points: (i) the filler is released from memory, depending on the grammatical requirement of the filler; (ii) given that information associated with the filler being retrieved reflects the extent to which the filler is maintained, the parser retrieves grammatical information associated with the wh-filler; and (iii) the parser is sensitive to grammatical distinctions at the ellipsis site in contrast to the processing of anaphoric one and pronoun it. These studies provide evidence that both the maintenance and retrieval process are heavily constrained by grammatical information associated with the elements that engage in dependency formation.

Friday, September 27, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM in SS560A
Syntax Group
Guest talk by Amy Rose Deal (University of California, Berkeley).

Friday, September 27, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM in SS560A
Fieldwork Group
Julianne Doner (Ph.D. 2019), reporting on her fieldwork in Guatemala this past summer.

September 23, 2019

Guest speaker: Amy Rose Deal (University of California, Berkeley)

As part of the Non-Canonical Relatives project, our department is very pleased to welcome Amy Rose Deal, who is an Associate Professor at the University of California, Berkeley. She works on syntax and semantics, particularly from a typological point of view, and will be giving two talks to our department on Friday the 27th.

The first, "Uncentered attitude reports", will be at the meeting of our Syntax Group (11:30 AM-1 PM in SS560A).

One of the major discoveries in attitude semantics over the last thirty years has been the fact that certain types of attitude reports require interpretation de se. This finding has prompted a move among semanticists to treat attitude verbs as uniformly quantifying over centered worlds (typically modeled as triples of worlds, individuals, and times), rather than merely over possible worlds, and likewise a move to treat attitude complements as uniformly denoting sets of centered worlds, rather than mere sets of possible worlds. Thus "A believes P" is true iff P holds of all triples such that A believes that she might be x in w at t. Proponents of a Uniformity Thesis of this type include Schlenker (1999), Ogihara (1999), von Stechow (2003), Anand (2006), Pearson (2015), and Grønn and von Stechow (2010). In this talk I present evidence against the Uniformity Thesis, drawing from my fieldwork on Nez Perce (Sahaptian). I show that dedicated de se devices (shifty 1st person indexicals, relative tenses) are possible in one type of attitude report in Nez Perce, but not in another type, and argue that the difference between the two types of attitude report crucially reflects the semantics of the attitude verb and its complement. I argue in particular that some attitude verbs quantify over centered tuples, making it possible to include dedicated de se devices, whereas others quantify merely over possible worlds, ruling such devices out.

The second, "Interaction, satisfaction, and the PCC", will be taking place from 3 PM to 4:30 PM, also in SS560A.

Person-case constraint (PCC) phenomena involve restrictions on the relative person of the two objects of a ditransitive. In this talk, I present an account of four types of PCC patterns within the Interaction/Satisfaction theory of Agree (Deal 2015), and demonstrate some advantages of this view over various competitors. Advantages include the ability to account for both strong and weak PCC effects without invoking multiple types of Agree, and the ability to capture the rather complex relationship between PCC effects and morphological marking of Agree (i.e. in some languages PCC holds only when IO and DO clitics are combined, whereas in others PCC effects hold even though IO and DO clitics are not combined, and in still others IO and DO clitics combine without triggering PCC effects). I will also discuss the extent to which the theory can capture the role of number in PCC effects.

September 21, 2019

Bonnie, Suzi, and Greg in The Varsity

Bonnie Jane Maracle (faculty), Suzi Lima (faculty), and Greg Antono (MA) have been interviewed for a story in The Varsity on the necessity of preserving Indigenous languages and cultures, both here and around the globe.

September 20, 2019

Segmental Processes in Interaction with Prosodic Structure

A workshop on Segmental Processes in Interaction with Prosodic Structure (SPIPS) is taking place at the University of Tromsø, Norway, on September 19 and 20.

Peter Jurgec (faculty) is giving one of the invited talks: "Further predictions of indexation to stems and words."

Radu Craioveanu (Ph.D.) is also presenting: "The weight of preaspiration: Laryngeal segmenthood and syllabic structure."

September 19, 2019

Canadian Language Museum exhibit opening

Following a preview at this year's meeting of the Canadian Linguistic Association, the Canadian Language Museum, under the direction of retired faculty member Elaine Gold, is launching its latest exhibit: 'Beyond Words: Dictionaries and Indigenous Languages'. The opening is at the permanent home of the Canadian Language Museum at Glendon College, today from 7 PM through 9 PM. More details here.

September 18, 2019

Guest speaker: Ur Shlonsky (University of Geneva)

In conjunction with the Syntax of Nominal Linkers and the Agreement in Copular Clauses projects, we are very pleased to welcome Ur Shlonsky, a syntactician from the University of Geneva who has worked extensively on the structure of Semitic and Romance languages as well as typological issues; he is a leader in the Cartography framework. He will be spending Thursday the 19th at our Mississauga campus and the 20th downtown, and will be giving talks at each one. The first, "Cartography and selection", is taking place from 1-3 PM in Maanjiwe nendamowinan 4107. It is meant to be conducive to a lively discussion.

On the assumption that a head syntactically selects the head of its sister phrase, the following question arises: How is selection satisfied in a left periphery with a rich functional sequence (Rizzi 1997, etc.)? In many languages, left-dislocated topics can precede wh-words in indirect questions: "You asked me this book to whom I should give" (okay in Hebrew, Italian, Spanish and some people's English). If the Topic sits in Spec/Top, how can the interrogative-selecting V 'ask' "see" the wh-word?

 Then, his second talk will be at 3 PM in SS 560A, incorporating collaborative work with Luigi Rizzi (University of Geneva) and Isabelle Roy (Centre national de la recherche scientifique): "Copular sentences and their subjects."

Hebrew copular sentences in the present tense look like small clauses, leading one to think that the structure of (i) is equivalent to the reduced structure attributed to the bracketed part of (ii).

(i) Daniela balʃanit mecuyenet.
Daniel linguist excellent
'Daniela is an excellent linguist.'

(ii) Bill considers [Daniela an excellent linguist].

I believe this is a false analogy. I try to demonstrate that the copula-less sentences in (i) contain a (perhaps surprisingly) rich functional structure and incorporate (at least) two distinct subject positions. The presentation starts out with a discussion of copular sentences in French, where the evidence for two subject positions is overt, and proceeds to a presentation and analysis of Hebrew.

September 17, 2019

Research Groups: Friday, September 20

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Language Variation and Change Research Group
Arvind Iyengar (visiting scholar): "Scripting change: The orthographic and sociolinguistic impact of intergeneration phonological change in Indian Sindhi."

Sindhi is an Indo-Aryan language spoken mainly in southern Pakistan and in various parts of India. In Pakistan, the language is officially written in the Perso-Arabic script – a modified version of the Arabic script. However, the minority Sindhi community in India has vigorously debated for several decades now on which script to write the language in – in Perso-Arabic, or in the Devanāgarī script otherwise widely used in India. Supporters of the Devanāgarī script emphasise its supposedly superior representation of Sindhi phonology compared to the Perso-Arabic script.

However, the Sindhi language in India has been undergoing subtle shifts in phonology over the last seventy years. Because of this, certain features of the Devanāgarī script touted as an advantage by its supporters might actually hinder reading and learning, while features of the Perso-Arabic script might  somewhat ironically  lend themselves well to a pan-dialectal Sindhi orthography.

This talk will explore the details of the orthographic nuances mentioned above, which are often lost in the noise of emotional debates on script, language and identity within the Indian Sindhi community. It will also outline the potential impact of phonology-orthography mismatches on pedagogy and literacy in, and maintenance of this minority language in India.

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Phonology Research Group

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Semantics Research Group
Naomi Francis (MA 2014, now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology): "Presupposition denials with even."

This talk will explore a puzzle about even and its crosslinguistic kin. Even-like items in several languages are subject to a surprising restriction when they appear in declarative sentences that deny presuppositions: these items acceptable in negative presupposition denials but not in positive ones, as shown in (1) for English.

(1) A: Did Kenji bring his wife to the picnic? (Presupposes: Kenji has a wife, i.e., is married) 
B: Kenji isn’t even married!
B': #Kenji’s even unmarried/a bachelor!

The contrast between sentences like (1B) and (1B') is not straightforwardly reducible to independent properties of even or of presupposition denial, but instead reflects something about how even and presupposition denial interact. I propose a solution to the puzzle that makes crucial use of i) the controversial additive presupposition of even, ii) presuppositions triggered within the salient focus alternatives, and iii) an independently motivated mechanism for denying presuppositions under negation. I explore crosslinguistic predictions of the proposed analysis and discuss what the puzzle can teach us about focus-sensitive operators, presuppositions, and focus alternatives in discourse.

September 16, 2019

Goodbyes and hellos for 2019-20

At the beginning of the new academic year, we say farewell to:
  • Amos Key (faculty), stepping into the role of Vice-Provost, Indigenous Engagement at Brock University.
  • Na-Young Ryu (Ph.D. 2019), joining the Department of Asian Studies at Pennsylvania State University as a teaching-stream Assistant Teaching Professor.
  • Becky Tollan (Ph.D. 2019), joining the Department of Linguistics and Cognitive Science at the University of Delaware as a tenure-track Assistant Professor in syntax and psycholinguistics.
  • ...and our 8 new MA alumni.
We welcome:
  • Cassandra Chapman (postdoc), working with Keir Moulton.
  • Songül Gündoğdu (postdoc), working with Arsalan Kahnemuyipour.
  • Nayoun Kim (postdoc), working with Daphna Heller and Keir.
  • Arvind Iyengar (visiting scholar), from the University of New England in Australia, working with Keren Rice.
  • Sander Nederveen (Simon Fraser University), a visiting MA student working with Keir.
  • Žiga Povše (University of Ljubljana), a visiting MA student working with Peter Jurgec.
Best of luck to Naomi Nagy as she begins a well-deserved sabbatical, and to Guillaume Thomas, who has a half-year's leave. Conversely, we welcome back faculty members Michela Ippolito, Alexei Kochetov, and Keren Rice.

We also have 17 students beginning graduate programs in 2019: 6 in the Ph.D. and 11 MAs. Welcome!

September 10, 2019

Research Groups: Friday, September 13

Note that the meeting of the Psycholinguistics Research Group is cancelled.

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Syntax Group
Alec Kienzle (Ph.D.): "Stuck in the middle: The syntax-(lexicon)-morphology interface in a
Hebrew middle template."

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM in SS 560
Fieldwork Group

September 5, 2019

Visiting Scholar: Arvind Iyengar (University of New England)

Arvind Iyengar is Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of New England (UNE) in Armidale, Australia. His research interests include writing systems, sociolinguistics, and phonology. With the kind support of the U of T Department of Linguistics and funding from a UNE Early Career Researcher Award, Arvind will be spending time here from August to October, conducting research on the development and sociolinguistics of writing systems in Indigenous Canadian languages, and exploring opportunities for research collaboration with U of T faculty.

During his time here, he will also present at the Language Variation and Change Research Group on September 20, and at the Phonology research group on October 4. The talks will draw on his research on the Sindhi language of South Asia, focusing on intergenerational changes in the language’s phonology and the orthographic and pedagogical implications thereof. Further details of his talks will be out shortly.

September 4, 2019

New Sounds 2019

The 2019 International Symposium on the Acquisition of Second Language Speech (New Sounds 2019) took place at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan between August 30 and September 1.

Laura Colantoni (faculty), Alana Johns (faculty), Gaby Klassen (Ph.D., Spanish and Portuguese), Matthew Patience (Ph.D., Spanish and Portuguese), Malina Radu (Ph.D., Spanish and Portuguese), and Olga Tararova (University of Western Ontario) presented: "The production of L2 English sentence types by Inuktitut, Mandarin, and Spanish speaker: Is typology enough?"

Juli Cebrian (Ph.D. 2002, now at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Angelica Carlet (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya), Nuria Gavalda (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), Celia Gorba (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), and Wolf De Witte (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona): "Perceptual training, cross-linguistic similarity, and L2 perception and production."

Anabela Rato (faculty, Department of Spanish and Portuguese) and Owen Ward (Ph.D., Department of Spanish and Portuguese): "The predictive role of cross-language phonetic similarity in L2 consonant learning."

Owen Ward (Ph.D., Department of Spanish and Portuguese): "Perception of L2 Spanish lexical stress by L1 English listeners."

September 1, 2019

Sali in the Huffington Post

Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) is in the Huffington Post this weekend, talking about the task of getting more Canadian words/meanings into the Oxford English Dictionary.