July 12, 2020

MOTH 2020

We are hosting this year's Montréal-Ottawa-Toronto-Hamilton (MOTH) Syntax Workshop, being held online on July 17-18. There is no fee, but please note that anyone interested in participating will need to register to be given access to the Zoom meetings.

Interspersed with colleagues we are (virtually) welcoming from Ontario, Québec, and the world, presenters associated with our department are:

Sahar Taghipour (Ph.D.):
"Oblique subject agreement in Persian: Evidence from psych predicates."

Samuel Jambrović (Ph.D., Department of Spanish and Portuguese):
"A cross-linguistic analysis of DOM with animate indefinite quantifiers."

Gregory Antono (MA):
"You think what we saying ah?: The ah particle in Colloquial Singapore English."

Crystal Chow (MA):
"How the hell do you say it: An analysis of wh-the-hell constructions in English versus Mandarin Chinese."

Nadia Takhtaganova (MA):
"Les titres de civilité en français: Pour une analyse minimaliste du syntagme de déterminant."

Connie Ting (MA 2018, now at McGill University):
"Capturing 'exempt' anaphors with local binding."

July 11, 2020

LabPhon 17

The 17th biennial conference of the Association for Laboratory Phonology was held online from July 6 through 8, hosted by the University of British Columbia.

Keren Rice (faculty) gave an invited talk:
"Languages on the margins: Sounds and the impact of sound-based research for language (re)vitalization."

Elizabeth Johnson (faculty) also gave an invited talk:
"Building a lexicon (on the margins)."

Angelika Kiss (Ph.D.) was part of a talk with colleagues Maxime Tulling (New York University) and Roger Yu-Hsiang Lo (University of British Columbia):
"Individual variation in the prosody of Cantonese rhetorical questions."

Posters that involved current and former departmental members included:

Laura Colantoni (faculty), Alexei Kochetov (faculty), and Jeffrey Steele (faculty, Department of French):
"EPG insights into first-language influence on second language gestural timing."

Philip Monahan (faculty), Rachel Soo (MA 2018, now at the University of British Columbia), Monica Shah (BA 2017) and Abdulwahab Sidiqi (BA 2017):
"Lexical bias in second language sibilant perception: The role of language proficiency and phonotactic context."

Madeleine Yu (BA) and Elizabeth Johnson (faculty):
"Re-evaluating the Other Accent Effect in talker recognition."

Jessamyn Schertz (faculty):
"Imitation and perception of individual accented features."

Avery Ozburn (faculty) with Gunnar Hansson (University of British Columbia) and Kevin McMullin (University of Ottawa):
"Learning vowel harmony with transparency in an artificial language."

Zoe McKenzie (Ph.D.):
"The perceptual basis of length co-occurrence restrictions."

Andrei Munteanu (Ph.D.):
"Using chess metrics to measure the effect of emotion on formants."

Phil Howson (Ph.D. 2018, now at the University of Oregon) and Melissa Redford (University of Oregon):
"Context effects on schwa production in 'gotta' distinguish 'got to' from 'got a'.

Phil Howson (Ph.D. 2018, now at the University of Oregon) and Madathodiyil Irfana (All India Institute of Speech and Hearing):
"What does cross-linguistic perception tell us about phonological categories?"

Richard Compton (Ph.D. 2012, now at l'Université du Québec à Montréal) with Emily Elfner (York University) and Anja Arnhold (University of Alberta):
"Stressless languages on the margins? An acoustic study of Inuktitut."

Rachel Soo (MA 2018, now at the University of British Columbia) and Molly Babel (University of British Columbia):
"Lexical competition affects Cantonese tone mergers in word recognition."

Gloria Mellesmoen (MA 2016, now at the University of British Columbia):
"Modularity and the allophone in the Comox-Sliammon (Salish) vowel system."

July 6, 2020

Research Groups: Week of July 6-10

Wednesday, July 6, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM, online
Syntax Group
Songül Gündoğdu (postdoc), Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty), and Andrew Peters (Ph.D.): "Doubled ezafe in Zazak."

July 3, 2020

New paper: Milway (2020)

Daniel Milway (Ph.D. 2019) has a new paper in the Canadian Journal of Linguistics, 65(2): "The contrastive topic requirement on specificational subjects."

This paper offers a discourse-pragmatic account of the constraint on indefinite DPs as subjects of specificational copular clauses (a doctor is Mary). Building on Mikkelsen's (2004) proposal that specificational subjects are topics, I argue that they must be contrastive topics which properly contain F-marked constituents. I show that this can account for the absolute ban on simple indefinite subjects, and allow for more complex indefinites to be subjects. Finally, I discuss the syntactic analysis that would be predicted given my pragmatic analysis, and the puzzles that arise from it.

July 2, 2020

Sali at ABRALIN (online)

Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) is giving a talk as part of the lecture series Abralin ao Vivo – Linguists Online, which is hosted by Abralin (the Brazilian Linguistics Association) and supported by a number of other linguistics organizations. Her talk, "What's sociolinguistics good for?", will be taking place at 1:00 PM Eastern time (i.e. 2:00 PM in eastern Brazil) on Friday, July 3 and can be viewed here. There is no need to register and no cost.

June 30, 2020


The 50th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages, hosted by the University of Texas at Austin, is taking place online from July 1 through 8, with 2.5 hours of content via Zoom every day. Note that registration is free!

We have several alumni involved:

Bethany MacLeod (Ph.D. 2012, now at Carleton University): 
"Phonetic convergence in Mexican Spanish: Combining acoustic and perceptual assessments."

Monica Irimia (Ph.D. 2012, now at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia):
"DOM and the PCC: How many types?"

Laura Colantoni (faculty), Ruth Martínez (Ph.D., Spanish and Portuguese), Natalia Mazzaro (Ph.D. 2011, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, now at the University of Texas at El Paso), Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux (faculty), and Natalia Rinaldi (Ph.D., Spanish and Portuguese):
"Gender marking under disguise: Phonetics and grammar in Spanish-English bilinguals."

Former visiting professor Anne-José Villeneuve (University of Alberta) and Julie Auger (Université de Montréal):
"Assessing change in a Gallo-Romance regional minority language: First plural verbal morphology and semantic reference in Picard."

June 15, 2020

Research Groups: Week of June 15-19

Wednesday, June 17, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM, online
Syntax Group
Bronwyn Bjorkman (former postdoc, now at Queen's University): "Linearizing as best you can."

This talk looks at interactions among linearization, prosody, and vocabulary insertion, focusing on cases of verb doubling that appear to be motivated not by syntactic movement, but by the need for an otherwise-unsupported clitic to have a host.

Drawing on examples of verb doubling in Ingush (Nakh-Dagestanian) and Breton (Celtic), I argue first that the linearization of syntactic structures is accomplished via the interaction of ranked and violable constraints, as in OT, rather than via a deterministic linearization algorithm of the type often assumed in syntax. Second, I argue that linearization and prosodification proceed in parallel, allowing verb doubling as a trade-off between prosodic well-formedness (the need of a clitic for a host) and optimal linearization - but that this evaluation occurs prior to both Vocabulary Insertion and the subsequent competition of segmental phonology.

The final sections of the talk discuss the implications of this model for doubling more generally, and more particularly for our ability to explain the fact that certain movement configurations appear to lead to doubling in some languages but not in others. I discuss verb doubling in predicate focus, clitic doubling, and several other instances of apparent multiple realization.

June 8, 2020

Research Groups: Week of June 8-12

Wednesday, June 10, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM, online
Syntax Group
Paul Poirier (MA): "The spellout of the Japanese copula: Considerations from nominalization."

June 5, 2020

Department of Linguistics statement regarding current events

On behalf of the faculty of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto, Nathan Sanders offers this message to the members of our linguistics community:

We are outraged and saddened by the continuing racist violence and abuses of power against racialized groups in the United States, Canada, and throughout the world, especially the long history of police brutality against Black people and Black communities that has once again gained worldwide attention. The faculty of the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto declare our explicit support for the Black Lives Matter movement and other networks that are working to end unjust power structures and the racism that drives them.

We believe it is also important to recognize our department's shortcomings on these issues and the need to redress them. The small number of Black scholars and students in the field of linguistics is a pervasive problem, and we acknowledge that we can do better with Black representation in our department and with fighting anti-Black racism more broadly. We have taken small steps, such as ongoing changes to our curriculum and applying for institutional opportunities such as the Provost Postdoctoral Fellowship for Black and Indigenous scholars, but there is much more uncomfortable work we need to do. As we make plans to put that work into action, we welcome voices from our community and beyond about how we as a department can best enact positive change.

Please consider joining some of the upcoming events sponsored by the Anti-Racism and Cultural Diversity Office to help further much needed discussion and action: https://antiracism.utoronto.ca/reflect-restore-action/

For more information and resources on the important role of linguistics in racial justice, see the following statement from the Linguistic Society of America: https://www.linguisticsociety.org/news/2020/06/03/lsa-issues-statement-racial-justice

June 3, 2020

Congratulations, Erin!

Congratulations to Erin Hall (Ph.D.), who has accepted a tenure-track position in linguistics and speech pathology at California State University, San Bernardino! We will miss Erin and her vibrant, positive presence, but are thrilled for her and CSUSB!

June 2, 2020

Research Groups: Week of June 1-5

Friday, June 5, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM, online
Language Variation and Change Group
Casual meeting: check-in about what everyone's been up to.

June 1, 2020

Applications now open for LIN398 in 2020-21

Suzi Lima (faculty) is leading a year-long Research Opportunity Program course (LIN398) over the course of the 2020-21 academic year on the topic of 'Internationalized learning at home: Investigating African languages spoken in Toronto'.

Statistics Canada (2019) reports that the Black population is steadily growing in Canada. In Toronto, this population has doubled in the last 20 years. In this population, 56% are first-generation (born outside Canada) and 35% are second-generation (born in Canada but at least one parent was born abroad). Statistics Canada (2019) also reports that the number of immigrants from Africa has increased significantly, making up about 65% of the population of Black immigrants (as opposed to 27.3% of immigrants from the Caribbean and Bermuda). At the University of Toronto the population of undergraduate students from Africa corresponded (in 2017) to 2.6% (415 students) of the international student population (Liang 2017). The official records of the University of Toronto (Liang 2017) also report that Nigeria is the 9th most common country of origin for international students. In this project, our goal is to describe some semantic aspects of African languages while engaging the first- and second-generation communities of speakers of these languages. The goals of this project will advance the description of African languages spoken in Toronto and promote the visibility of these languages and communities of speakers on campus.

Application instructions can be found here. Note that interested undergraduate students are highly encouraged to submit by Friday, June 12, as review of applications will begin very shortly thereafter.

May 27, 2020

CLA-ACL 2020

The annual meeting of the Canadian Linguistic Association/Association canadienne de linguistique normally occurs in conjunction with the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. This year's Congress has been cancelled owing to current events. However, CLA-ACL will be held online from May 30 through June 1. Digital attendance is free.

Presentations from scholars who are associated with our department are:

Nathan Sanders (faculty), Pocholo Umbal (Ph.D.), and Lex Konnelly (Ph.D.):
"Methods for increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion in linguistics pedagogy."

Peter Jurgec (faculty):
"Online interactive tools for undergraduate phonology."

Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty) and Sahar Taghipour (Ph.D.) with Mansour Shabani (University of Guilan):
"The two faces of a nominal linker: Another look at reverse ezafe in Gilaki."

Cristina Cuervo (faculty) and Alexander Tough (MA, Department of Spanish and Portuguese):
"Not aspect, but tense: A morphological argument for the old analysis of the Spanish imperfect."

Sahar Taghipour (Ph.D.) and Philip Monahan (faculty):
"Paradigmatic gaps impact early morphological decomposition: Evidence from masked priming."

Koorosh Ariyaee (Ph.D.) and Peter Jurgec (faculty):
"Persian elides the second vowel."

Diane Massam (faculty) and Ileana Paul (University of Western Ontario):
"Instructions for nullness."

Michelle Troberg (faculty) and Justin Leung (BA):
"On the uniform loss of Medieval French verb particles."

Julien Carrier (Ph.D.):
"From ergative to accusative in North Baffin Inuktitut."

Jean-François Juneau (Ph.D.) with Gavin Bembridge (York University):
"Root alternations for discourse effects: A challenge for locality?"

Gregory Antono (MA):
"Expressing a multiplicity of events in Macuxi."

Nadia Takhtaganova (MA):
"Les titres de civilité : De l’ancien français jusqu’au français moderne>"

Rosalind Owen (BA):
"Sweet songs and soft hearts: Metaphor in Cuzco Quechua."

Alia Alatassi (Ph.D., Department of French), and Mihaela Pirvulescu (faculty):
"The acquisition of French object clitics by L2 children: Effects of age of onset."

Olga Tararova (Ph.D. 2018, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, now at the University of Western Ontario) with Martha Black (University of Western Ontario):
"Adult acquisition of grammatical gender in instructed L2 Spanish and the role of metacognition."

David Heap (Ph.D. 1997, now at the University of Western Ontario) with Yarubi Diaz Colmenares (University of Western Ontario):
"Variation et changement dans les accords du français inclusif."

Andrew McCandless (Ph.D., Department of Spanish and Portuguese):
"The influence of phonetic training on production of Spanish rhotics in beginner L2 learners with L1 Canadian English."

Former visiting student Sander Nederveen (Simon Fraser University):
"Discourse novelty, givenness, and EV2 in German."

Posters include those of:

Alana Johns (faculty) and Elan Dresher (faculty):
"Morpheme structure change in Labrador Inuttut."

Elan Dresher (faculty), Daniel Currie Hall (Ph.D. 2007, now at St. Mary's University) and Sara Mackenzie (Ph.D. 2009, now at Memorial University of Newfoundland):
"The status of phoneme inventories: The role of contrastive feature hierarchies."

Songül Gündogdu (postdoc), Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty), and Andrew Peters (Ph.D.):
"Revisiting 'doubled' ezafe in Southern Zazaki."

Mihaela Pirvulescu (faculty) and Elena Valenzuela (University of Ottawa) have a poster:
"Genericity in the grammars of Romanian, French, and English trilinguals."

Elizabeth Johnson (faculty) with Tania Zamuner (University of Ottawa), Amélie Bernard (McGill University), and Félix Desmeules-Trudel (University of Western Ontario):
"The timecourse of toddlers' recognition for native-accented versus non-native-accented speech."

Crystal Chow (MA):
"Expressing paths of motion in Apurimac Quechua."

Samuel Jambrović (Ph.D., Department of Spanish and Portuguese):
"Regular and irregular inflexion of derived proper nouns: A syntactico-semantic model."

Daniel Milway (Ph.D. 2019):
"The puzzle of irrelevant assertions in alternative semantics."

Michael Iannozzi (BA 2014, now at the University of Western Ontario):
"Variable realization of /v/ as [v] or [w] in a heritage Italian variety."

May 26, 2020

Research Groups: Week of May 25-29

Wednesday, May 27, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM, online
Syntax Group
Practice talk for CLA: Cristina Cuervo (faculty) and Alex Tough (MA, Department of Spanish and Portuguese): "Not aspect, but tense: A morphological argument for the old analysis of the Spanish imperfect."

The Spanish imperfect past was analyzed by grammarian Andrés Bello (1841) as a relative tense, denoting simultaneity of the event or situation with a reference point prior to the utterance time (Juan cantaba el himno/'Juan sang the hymn'). Simply put, the imperfect was analyzed as the present of the past, and aptly named co-preterite. Thus, for Bello, the imperfect contrasted with the simple past or preterite on the temporal dimension, the preterite being an absolute tense encoding direct reference to a time before the utterance time.

The 20th century saw a new analysis of the imperfect-preterite contrast not as a contrast in tense, but a contrast in grammatical aspect (perfective-imperfective), an analysis that became standard in descriptive, theoretical and experimental works alike. More recently, a small number of works have opposed the aspectual analysis from various perspectives (Rojo and Veiga 1999; Cowper 2003, 2005; Soto 2014; Markle LaMontagne and Cuervo 2015), whose arguments we review.

We develop an analysis of the imperfect past in Spanish which reconciles the view of the imperfect as a complex tense expressing two temporal relations—the present of the past—with recent developments in the morphological analysis of simple verbal forms as consisting of a hierarchical structure containing a root and a series of functional heads (as in Distributive Morphology, Hale and Marantz 1993). In particular, we follow Arregi's (2000) and Oltra-Massuet and Arregi’s (2005) analysis of Spanish verbal inflection as the expression of various syntactic heads (e.g., v, Tense, (person & number) Agreement), with a theme vowel position added in the Morphological Component to each functional head.

We propose that simple forms in the Spanish verbal paradigm can hide complex temporal reference and structure (one or two heads expressing a relation of anteriority, posteriority or simultaneity). In parallel to Oltra-Massuet and Arregi’s analysis of the conditional as comprising two temporal nodes, future and past, we propose that the imperfect consists of a present node, a past node, and an agreement node.

In this analysis, present tense is null (or Pres is deleted in the Morphological Component), and the b-a/ø-a morpheme is the spell-out of the (Past) Tense head and its theme vowel. The extra structure in the imperfect is responsible for the fact that the imperfect is longer than the preterite (cant-á-ba-mos; com-í-a-mos vs. cant-a-mos, com-i-mos 'we sang'; 'we ate'), and that in the preterite, the past and agreement morphemes are fused, facts that were left unaccounted for in previous morphological analyses, including Oltra-Massuet and Arregi’s approach.

May 25, 2020

Symposium on Jackman Scholars-in-Residence project

For this year's Jackman Scholars-in-Residence program, Barend Beekhuizen (faculty) has guided a group of outstanding undergraduates - Mah Noor Amir, Maya Blumenthal, Li Jiang, Anna Pyrtchenkov, and Jana Savevska - on an intense 4-week computational project examining cross-linguistic variation in the translations of words such as true, real, actual, and right in a sample of languages (Urdu, Hindi, Hebrew, German, Mandarin, Greek, Russian, Spanish, Macedonian, and Bulgarian). At the conclusion of the project, the students will be presenting their findings on Thursday, May 28, at 11 AM to 12 PM, online. See the email for the Zoom link and come hear about what this powerhouse team of emerging researchers has been up to!

May 18, 2020

Research Groups: Week of May 18-22

Wednesday, May 20, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM, online
Syntax Group
Two practice talks for CLA-ACL 2020:

Samuel Jambrovic (Ph.D., Department of Spanish and Portuguese): "The morphosyntactic behavior of derived proper nouns: A DM account."
Nadia Takhtaganova (MA): "Les titres de civilité : Old French to Modern French honorifics."

May 16, 2020

Congratulations, Suzi!

Congratulations to Suzi Lima (faculty), who has been named this year's recipient of the new Early Career Researcher Award from the Canadian Linguistic Association! Their released statement describes Suzi's accomplishments as follows:

Dr. Suzi Lima is an early career researcher who has contributed substantially to language research, demonstrated innovation in research and dissemination, and engaged in practice and policy development in the broader community. Her theoretical focus is the pragmatics and semantics of number and quantity, and she has made contributions to formal semantics, typology, language acquisition, psychology, language documentation and revitalization, and the study of indigenous languages. She has held several research grants and has presented her work at the world's top conferences. She has published many peer-reviewed research works, and has also prepared, with the indigenous communities, a dictionary of verbs (Yudja) and a co-authored pedagogical grammar (Kawaiwete), to be published. She is also in demand as an invited speaker and as an innovative teacher and mentor. Dr. Lima holds a BA and MA from the University of São Paulo (Brazil), and a Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts. Since her 2014 graduation she has held a postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, and Assistant Professorships at Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, and in the Departments of Linguistics, and Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Toronto. In 2019, she began her current position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto. Dr. Lima's research focuses on pragmatics, semantics, typology, language acquisition, and documentation and revitalization. She engages in experimental fieldwork, with a focus on indigenous languages of Brazil, most prominently on Yudja and Kawaiwete. In her dissertation and much of her following work, Dr. Lima has developed ingenious protocols for uncovering the mechanisms by which languages count and measure things and substances, making novel contributions to the semantics and typology of number and quantity. Her work is also innovative in investigating the acquisition of these concepts in under-studied languages, through the study of monolingual and bilingual speakers of indigenous languages and Brazilian Portuguese. She has also collaboratively investigated questions of general cognition, such as how mathematical reasoning relates to cultural practice. Dr. Lima has also been exemplary in the ways she has shared her research with academic and non-academic communities. For example, her collaborative work has resulted in a questionnaire which is a masterpiece in elicitation and experimental design, targeting detailed semantic properties by using methods such as translation, production, comprehension tasks, storyboards, and videos. This questionnaire was applied by specialists who presented their results at a 2017 workshop, now in press as a special volume of Linguistic Variation. One reading book (Kawaiwete songs) was published in 2015 by the Museu do Índio. This ambitious project (coorganized with Susan Rothstein) involved both under-represented scholars and languages, demonstrating Dr. Lima's qualities of leadership. Dr. Lima also reaches out to communities and activists in her work twice funded by United Nations/National Indian Foundation/Indian Museum in Brazil, to document the Kawaiwete language. This work has involved educational workshops for teachers and collaborations with community leaders and researchers, and has resulted in the production of educational materials such as a pedagogical grammar and a dictionary draft. Dr. Lima has also collaborated in creating a database featuring resources for documentation and methods for fieldworkers. Dr. Lima is also an inspiring teacher and mentor, demonstrated in particular by her research excursion program courses where she takes undergraduate students to Brazil for hands-on documentation and fieldwork experience. In summary, Suzi Lima is an extraordinary early career researcher who has already achieved distinction in a range of areas, including theoretical, experimental, and documentation linguistics, while also demonstrating innovation in teaching and community outreach. The Canadian Linguistic Association is delighted to recognize her achievements by awarding Dr. Suzi Lima our inaugural Early Career Researcher Award in 2020.

May 15, 2020

TWPL 42 released

The 42nd volume of Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics (TWPL 42) is now available. It collects a range of recent work in sociolinguistics and language contact, including Faetar, Cree, Farsi, and English. Contributors to this volume come from multiple institutions but include current faculty, graduate students, and undergraduates. Thanks to all those who contributed - and to editor Pocholo Umbal (Ph.D.) and his team.

May 14, 2020

Two new papers: Elango, Coutinho, and Lima (2020); Lima (2020)

The editors of Language Documentation and Conservation have released their 20th special publication, 'Collaborative approaches to the challenges of language documentation and conservation', based on the 2018 Symposium on American Indian languages (SAIL).

Incoming MA student Vidhya Elango (BA 2019), Isabella Coutinho (State University of Roraima), and Suzi Lima (faculty) are the authors of "A language vitality survey of Macuxi, Wapichana and English in Serra da Lua, Roraima (Brazil)."

Serra da Lua is a multilingual region in the state of Roraima (Brazil) where Macuxi (Carib), Wapichana (Arawak), Brazilian Portuguese and Guyanese English are all spoken. Based on a self-reported language survey, we present an assessment of the vitality of the languages spoken in this region and the attitudes of the speakers towards these languages. While previous literature has reported the existence of English speakers in this region, the literature does not provide more details about domains of use or the attitudes towards the English language in contrast with Portuguese and the Indigenous languages. This paper helps to address this gap. In sum, the goals of this paper are twofold: first, in light of the results of the survey, to discuss the vitality of the Macuxi and Wapichana languages in the Serra da Lua communities according to the criteria set out by UNESCO’s 'Nine Factors' for assessing language vitality; and second, to provide insight about the use of English in this region.

Suzi also has a solo paper: "The Kawaiwete pedagogical grammar: Linguistic theory, collaborative language documentation, and the production of pedagogical materials."

This paper describes the intersection between linguistic theory and collaborative language documentation as a fundamental step in developing pedagogical materials for Indigenous communities. More specifically, we discuss the process of writing a mono-lingual pedagogical grammar of the Kawaiwete language (a Brazilian Indigenous language). This material was intended to motivate L1 speakers of Kawaiwete to think about language as researchers: by exploring linguistic datasets through the production and revision of hypotheses, testing predictions empirically and assessing the consistency of hypotheses through logical reasoning. By means of linguistic workshops in Kawaiwete communities, linguistic training of Indigenous researchers and production of pedagogical materials, we intended to motivate younger generations of Kawaiwete speakers to become researchers of their own language.

May 10, 2020

Research Groups: Week of May 11-15

Wednesday, May 13, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM, online
Syntax Group
Guest speaker: Monica Irimia (Ph.D. 2011, now at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia): "Oblique DOM in enriched case hierarchies."

In a cross-linguistically robust type of differential object marking (DOM), specifications at the higher end of animacy/referentiality scales are signalled via oblique morphology (Bossong 1991, 1998, Masica 1993, Torrego 1998, Lazard 2001, López 2012, Manzini and Franco 2016, 2019, Fernández and Rezac 2016, Odria 2017, 2019, a.o.). A well-known example comes from Spanish, illustrated in (1). The definite human DP in (1a) needs a marker which is homophonous with the dative; the same marker is ungrammatical with the inanimate in (1b). One challenge is that despite their oblique appearance, such objects exhibit the syntax of structural accusatives in many languages (Bárány 2018 for recent discussion, a.o). Thus, in numerous descriptive and formal accounts alike, oblique DOM reduces to a matter of allomorphy more generally seen with accusatives (the ‘prepositional accusative’ tradition, Rohlfs 1971, 1973, Roegiest 1979, Halle and Marantz 1993, Keine and Müller 2008, Keine 2010, López 2012, a.o.). However, this raises the question of how to capture the relevant syncretism without incurring an ABA pattern (Johnston 1996, Caha 2009, 2017, Bobaljik 2012, 2015, Harðarson 2016, Starke 2017, McFadden 2018, Smith et. al 2018, Zompì 2019, a.o., for syncretism and *ABA). More simply put, the DOM-oblique syncretism would require the two categories to be adjacent on the case sequence. But as individual languages use various oblique means (dative, locative, genitive, etc.) which can also interact with other licensing strategies, none of the ‘simple’ case hierarchies can derive the facts in a uniform manner. Examining data from a set of language families including Romance, Indo-Aryan, Basque, Slavic, etc., we propose that a solution comes from the use of so-called Enriched Case Hierarchies, which contain more than one accusative category (following observations in Stake 2017). As oblique DOM affects various alignment types, we also illustrate similar problems from ergative-absolutive systems. The logic behind enriched case hierarchies is moreover an opportunity to probe the similarities/differences oblique DOM shows with respect to other structural objects, leading to a better understanding of its nature.

(1) Spanish (Ormazabal and Romero 2013, ex.1 a,b)

a. He encontrado *(a) la niña.   
have.1sg found dat=dom def.f.sg girl
I have found the girl.'

b. He encontrado (*a) el libro.
have1sg found dat=dom def.m.sg book
I have found the book.'

May 9, 2020

Guest speaker: Lyn Tieu (Western Sydney University)

We are very pleased to (digitally) welcome back alumna Lyn Tieu (BA 2007, MA 2008, now at Western Sydney University). Following our MA program, she earned her Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 2013, focusing on syntax and semantics from an acquisitional and psycholinguistic perspective, and then completed two postdoctoral fellowships. She is now a Senior Research Fellow at Western Sydney University and an Honorary Senior Research Fellow in Linguistics at Macquarie University. Her talk, "Psycholinguistic investigations of linguistic inferences," will be held online via Zoom meeting on Friday, May 15, from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM. Please see the email for registration and room details.

Language conveys meaningful information through different kinds of 'inferences', a number of which have been investigated in contemporary linguistics. For example, the sentence "Mary liked some of your ideas" asserts a positive sentiment from Mary, but it can also convey the negative meaning that she didn't like all of your ideas. The ability to decipher the complexities of linguistic meaning and navigate the different inferences that abound in everyday conversation is integral to linguistic communication, and we typically deploy this ability without a moment's thought. But what exactly is the nature of this ability and where does it come from? Much of my research investigates the nature of linguistic inferences - how they are represented in the grammar, how children acquire them, and what their cognitive origins might be. In this talk, I’ll focus on two findings from recent work. First, children acquire some kinds of linguistic inferences before others, shedding light on the grammar behind linguistic inferences. Second, people can spontaneously draw linguistic inferences even from non-linguistic objects, such as gestures, sound effects, and emoji, suggesting a more general cognitive source for linguistic inferences than previously thought. Both of these findings exemplify how the cognitive architecture that underlies meaning can readily and reliably be investigated using modern psycholinguistic techniques in conjunction with formal linguistic theories.

May 8, 2020

Guest speaker: Dave Kush (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

We are delighted to welcome Dave Kush, who is a faculty member in linguistics at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, based in Trondheim. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 2013, and his research focuses on syntax, psycholinguistics, and typology. His talk, "How does the grammar guide incremental prediction during sentence processing?", will be held via Zoom meeting on Tuesday, May 12, from 3:15 to 4:45 PM. Note that you should register to attend via the link in the email.

Previous work (e.g. Stowe 1986) has argued that comprehenders pursue an active strategy when
processing incomplete wh-filler-gap dependencies such as (1):

(1) Frida wondered who...

Comprehenders appear to predictively assign a gap/trace position for the dislocated wh-filler "who" in (1) before they receive evidence for the true gap position. In this talk I investigate (i) whether such instances of pre-emptive structural commitment reflect a more general strategy of active prediction across dependency types and (ii) how to best characterize the underlying motivation for active prediction. To this end I discuss recent studies that investigate the role of active prediction in the processing of cataphoric, relative-clause, and embedded question dependencies in English and Norwegian. In the first half of the talk I show that comprehenders incrementally predict yet-to-be-seen referents during the online resolution of cataphoric pronouns. I suggest that these results motivate a general, cross-dependency characterization of the mechanisms underlying active prediction. In the second part of the talk I consider how animacy information impacts predictions for gaps in filler-gap dependencies. Results suggest that comprehenders predict gaps for animate fillers, but not for inanimate fillers. I argue that these results are incompatible with most models of expectation-driven dependency parsing, including diagnostic utility models (Wagers and Phillips 2014) and models that treat expectation as arising via (rational) inference over statistical regularities in comprehenders’ language experience (e.g. Levy 2008).

May 5, 2020

Guest speaker: Christopher Hammerly (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)

We are very pleased to welcome Christopher Hammerly, who is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research is grounded in psycholinguistics and morphosyntax, and he is particularly interested in Ojibwe/Anishinaabemowin in accordance with his own heritage. His talk, "Processing obviation in Border Lakes Ojibwe," will be held on Friday, May 8, from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM, via Zoom meeting. Please see the email in order to register to attend.

Obviation systems provide a means to mark the relative 'prominence' of third person nouns. When more than one third person is introduced into the discourse, one is placed 'in the spotlight', a role known as proximate, and all others are 'outside of the spotlight', a role known as obviative. These systems are a hallmark of Algonquian languages. In this talk, I consider how proximate-obviative marking is used to comprehend filler-gap dependencies into relative clauses in the Border Lakes dialect of Ojibwe, an Algonquian language of Northwest Ontario. Using evidence from a preferential looking experiment with native speakers of Border Lakes Ojibwe, I show that two basic preferences govern the interaction between filler-gap dependency resolution and obviation: (i) an agent-first preference, which prefers parses where the first noun encountered in a sentence is encoded as the thematic agent, and (ii) a preference for proximate nouns to be agents and obviative nouns to be patients. The results reveal how obviation is understood by speakers of Ojibwe, showing that it is fundamentally similar to other types of prominence-based information such as animacy. Finally, the data support an analysis of the direct/inverse agreement system where proximate nouns uniformly undergo passive-like promotion to the syntactic subject position. This provides another productive analogy, where direct-marked verbs are compared to active sentences, and inverse-marked verbs to passive.

April 29, 2020

New paper: Konnelly and Cowper (2020)

Lex Konnelly (Ph.D.) and Elizabeth Cowper (faculty) have a new paper in Glossa, 5(1): "Gender diversity and morphosyntax: An account of singular they."

As one of the primary means of constructing gendered identities, language is a matter of central concern to transgender people (Zimman 2018). In this paper, we present an analysis of non-binary singular they; that is, they as used to refer to individuals whose gender identity is not, or is not exclusively, masculine or feminine. Despite singular they’s widespread usage and long history in English, not all speakers judge this most recent innovation to be grammatical, even if they do not object to singular they in quantified, generic, or otherwise gender non-specific contexts, and even if they produce the latter sort of examples natively. We argue that resistance to this new use of they can, at least in part, be attributed to speakers’ level of participation in a grammatical change in progress. Further, we propose that this change can be categorized into three distinct stages, with they’s most recent broadening – that is, as a non-binary singular pronoun of reference – dovetailing with wider socio-cultural changes (as well as featural changes beyond the pronominal system) that underscore the difficulty in separating grammatical and social judgements. As we aim to show, linguists from all subdisciplines – both theoretical and applied – are especially well suited to leverage theoretical insights to advocate for trans-affirming language practice.

April 27, 2020

Research Groups: Week of April 27-May 1

Wednesday, April 29, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM, online
Syntax Group
Collective viewing and discussion, hosted by Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty), of GLOW talk by András Bárány (Leiden University): "A typological gap in ditransitive alignment: No secundative case/indirective agreement."

April 24, 2020

Congratulations, Majed!

Majed Al-Solami defended his doctoral dissertation, "Vowel elision, epenthesis, and metrical systems in Bedouin Arabic dialects", on Friday, April 24. The committee consisted of Keren Rice (supervisor), Elan Dresher, Yoonjung Kang, Alexei Kochetov, Abdel-Khalig Ali, and external examiner Stuart Davis (Indiana University). Congratulations, Dr. Al-Solami!

April 11, 2020

New paper: Milway (2020)

Dan Milway (Ph.D. 2019) has a new squib in the Canadian Journal of Linguistics, 65(1): "Modifying Spatial P: A remark on Svenonius (2010)."

April 8, 2020


Generative Linguistics in the Old World (GLOW) 43 is taking place online from April 8th through 20th; Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin is hosting the conference virtually this year. Note that there is no charge to watch any of the talks.

Sahar Taghipour (Ph.D.) and Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty) are giving a presentation:
"A syntactic repair to a clitic cluster restriction: The case of Laki split agreement."

Monica Irimia (Ph.D. 2011, now at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia) is presenting:
"ABA, DOM, and other accusatives."

April 4, 2020

New paper: Han, Kim, Moulton, and Lidz (2020)

Keir Moulton (faculty) and colleagues Chung-hye Han (Simon Fraser University), Kyeong-min Kim (Simon Fraser University), and Jeffrey Lidz (University of Maryland) are coauthors of a new paper in Linguistic Inquiry, 51(2): "Null objects in Korean: Experimental evidence for the argument ellipsis analysis."

Null object (NO) constructions in Korean and Japanese have received different accounts: as (a) argument ellipsis (Oku 1998, S. Kim 1999, Saito 2007, Sakamoto 2015), (b) VP-ellipsis after verb raising (Otani and Whitman 1991, Funakoshi 2016), or (c) instances of base-generated pro (Park 1997, Hoji 1998, 2003). We report results from two experiments supporting the argument ellipsis analysis for Korean. Experiment 1 builds on K.-M. Kim and Han’s (2016) finding of interspeaker variation in whether the pronoun ku can be bound by a quantifier. Results showed that a speaker’s acceptance of quantifier-bound ku positively correlates with acceptance of sloppy readings in NO sentences. We argue that an ellipsis account, in which the NO site contains internal structure hosting the pronoun, accounts for this correlation. Experiment 2, testing the recovery of adverbials in NO sentences, showed that only the object (not the adverb) can be recovered in the NO site, excluding the possibility of VP-ellipsis. Taken together, our findings suggest that NOs result from argument ellipsis in Korean.

April 3, 2020

New book: Massam (2020)

Congratulations to Diane Massam (faculty) on the publication of Niuean: Predicates and Arguments in an Isolating Language, newly available from Oxford University Press! This landmark book, which forms part of the 'Oxford Studies of Endangered Languages' series, represents the culmination of Diane and her consultants' and colleagues' 25 years of work on Niuean.

April 1, 2020

Research Groups: Friday, April 3

Note that this week's meeting of the Fieldwork Group is cancelled.

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM, online
Psycholinguistics Group
Presentation by Breanna Pratley (MA).

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM, online
Phonetics/Phonology Group
1. Lisa Sullivan (Ph.D.): "Gender-based sound symbolism in Korean given names."
2. Lisa Schlegl (Ph.D.): "Phonetic correlates of performative voicing."

March 27, 2020

Congratulations, Ross!

Ross Godfrey defended his doctoral dissertation, "Morphemes without morphs: A theory of syntactic arrangements and phonological processes", on Friday, March 27. The committee consisted of Keren Rice (supervisor), Elizabeth Cowper, Peter Jurgec, Susana Béjar, Daniel Currie Hall (St. Mary's University), and external examiner Jochen Trommer (Universität Leipzig). Congratulations, Dr. Godfrey!

March 25, 2020

New paper: Hall and Maddeaux (2020)

Erin Hall (Ph.D.) and Ruth Maddeaux (Ph.D.) have a new paper in the University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics, 25(2), among this year's invited papers from New Ways of Analyzing Variation: "/u/-fronting and /æ/-raising in Toronto families."

This paper examines the acquisition of both stable contextual variation and a change in progress by children aged four to twelve. Comparing children and their parents from 19 families, we investigate whether transmission and incrementation effects (Labov 2001, 2007) can be found in two vowel variables in Toronto English: /æ/-raising, a case of stable allophony, and /u/-fronting, an ongoing change. In /u/-fronting, children are extending the change to new, previously non-fronted environments. However, analysis does not reveal the expected incrementation pattern in which older children are more advanced. Instead we find the opposite: the youngest children are most advanced in the change, while the oldest are the most conservative, having retreated closer to the adult norm but still crucially further forward, allowing the change to progress. In the case of /æ/-raising, children are not extending the variation to new environments. Younger children do consistently overshoot the placement of /æ/ in raising environments, while older children appear to have retreated and stabilized in the same range as their parents, maintaining the contextual variation at the community level. We suggest that these patterns could be viewed as a kind of overgeneralization, similar to what is often seen in morphological acquisition.

March 24, 2020

Research Groups: Week of March 23-27

Please note that this week's meetings of the Language Variation and Change Research Group and Phonetics/Phonology Group are both cancelled, and that the other groups will be meeting virtually.

Thursday, March 26, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM, online
Morphology Reading Group

Friday, March 27, 1:15 PM - 2:45 PM, online
Syntax Group
Samuel Jambrovic (Ph.D., Department of Spanish and Portuguese): "A cross-linguistic analysis of DOM with animate indefinite quantifiers."

March 23, 2020

Guest speaker: Pedro Mateo Pedro (University of Maryland)

We are delighted to (virtually) welcome Pedro Mateo Pedro, who is the Executive Director of the Guatemala Field Station run by the University of Maryland, and an Assistant Research Professor in the associated Language Science Center. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas (2014) and also teaches at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. His research is focused on the Mayan languages, documentation and revitalization, and acquisition and variation. The talk that he will be giving for us, "Language documentation, revitalization, and research in Mayan languages," will be taking place at 3 PM on Friday, March 27, via Zoom meeting; please see the email from Jennifer for a link to the room.

This talk will be divided in three parts. In the first part, I will discuss the documentation projects that I am involved in: acquisition, dialectal variation, and languages in contact. I will highlight the role community members have played in these projects. The second part will be about revitalization projects, emphasizing on teaching method of Mayan languages, workshops in Mayan languages, and creating online materials. The third part will be about my current research projects, in particular my research on the acquisition of numeral classifiers in Q’anjob’al. Q’anjob’al is a language with a classifier system, which includes nominal, numeral, and mensurative. Q’anjob’al uses three numerical classifiers: -eb’, -k’on, and -wan, which are obligatorily suffixed to numbers to classify objects, animals, and people. The data come from three children: Xhuw (1;9-3;0), Xhim (2;3-4;0), Tum (2;7-3;6). This is the first study on the acquisition of numeral classifiers in Q’anjob’al. The study shows that children acquire numeral classifiers around the age of two. However, these children show extension errors; errors that are also seen in 10-year-old children. The data suggest that children seem to consider the numeral classifier -eb’ as a default form, especially Xhuw. The semantic complexity of what is being classified (objects, animals, or people) and the variation of use of these classifiers in the input may contribute to the extension errors. Errors of this type has also been reported in the acquisition of numeral classifiers in Yucatec (Pfeiler 2009) and Malay (Salehuddin 2009).

March 18, 2020

Chalkboard throwback #6: Wug Life (Spring 2014)

Isn't this what they call 'cyclical change'? Possibly by, or inspired by, Naomi Francis (faculty).

March 17, 2020


The 33rd Annual CUNY Human Sentence Processing Conference (CUNY 33) is taking place at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, from March 19th through 21st. Note that given international conditions, the talks are being streamed online and all of the posters are viewable through digital poster sessions. There is no charge for any of this. If you are interested, see the website for instructions.

We have a number of current and former departmental members presenting posters:

Nayoun Kim (postdoc), Keir Moulton (faculty), and Masaya Yoshida (Northwestern University):
 "Ambiguity resolution in wh-filler gap dependency."

Ailís Cournane (Ph.D. 2015, now at New York University) with Alicia Parrish (New York University):
"A within-subjects comparison of the acquisition of quantity-related inferences."

Ailís is also part of a poster presentation with Vishal Sunil Arvindam (University of California, Santa Cruz) and Maxime Tulling (New York University):
"Online processing of negation in 2-year-olds: Evidence from eye-tracking."

Giuseppe Ricciardi (MA 2016, now at Harvard University), Rachel Ryskin (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and Ted Gibson (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) are presenting two posters:
1. "The distribution of locative inversions: Testing structural versus processing accounts."
2. "Epistemic must p is literally a strong statement."

March 15, 2020

Research Groups: Friday, March 20

Each of the research group meetings this week has been cancelled. The few that will be going ahead in subsequent weeks are those that are required for graduate students' progression through the Generals Paper stages. These will be held digitally. Watch for more details to follow.

March 14, 2020

Departmental scheduling rearrangements

Undergraduate and graduate classes in the Department of Linguistics are cancelled from now until the end of the semester; teaching material will be disseminated online. We will no longer be holding our Undergraduate Graduation Lunch (March 16) or End-of-Term Party (March 27).

These workshops/conferences are postponed until further notice: the Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal Semantics Workshop (TOM 13) (March 21), the 3rd Buffalo-Toronto Workshop (April 4), and the Workshop on Agreement in Copular Clauses (April 8-9).

The visit of one of our remaining planned guest speakers, Pollet Samvelian (Université Paris III - Sorbonne Nouvelle), has been cancelled. That of another, Heejeong Ko (Seoul National University) has been postponed. The other guest speakers will be presenting their work from a distance via digital platform.

Thank you for your patience and efforts in a challenging time.

March 13, 2020

New paper: Kim, Han, and Moulton (2020)

Keir Moulton (faculty) and colleagues Kyeong-min Kim (Simon Fraser University) and Chung-hye Han (Simon Fraser University) are coauthors of a new paper in the Journal of East Asian Linguistics, 29: "The syntax of Korean VP anaphora: An experimental investigation."

The Korean VP anaphor (VPA) kuleha or kulay ‘do so’ has often been argued to involve ellipsis of an articulated VP structure, which is replaced with the surface form at PF (e.g., Cho 1996, Ha 2010, Park 2015). In this paper, we present empirical data that does not support such a characterization, obtained from two experimental studies designed to diagnose the presence of 'hidden' syntactic structure. In Experiment 1, building upon Kim and Han’s (2016) finding that quantificational binding of the Korean pronoun ku ‘he’ is subject to inter-speaker variation, we conducted a truth-value judgment task experiment to examine the (un)acceptability of sloppy identity interpretation in the VPA construction. If the VPA is indeed derived from the deletion of an articulated VP, and thus has an unpronounced internal structure to house ku, the distributions of the sloppy reading of ku and the quantificational binding of ku should be correlated across the sampled population; however, such a pattern was not found. In Experiment 2, we conducted a Likert scale rating experiment testing whether extraction out of the VPA site is possible. If the VPA is an instance of ellipsis, extraction from the VPA site should be possible since there would be a syntactic structure that hosts an extractable constituent. This prediction, however, was not confirmed. On the basis of these empirical findings, we argue that Korean VP anaphora are base-generated pro-forms (Bae and Kim 2012, Park 2013), and retrieve their semantic values from the context through interpretive rules (Hoji 1998, Hoji 2003), as in the case of pronominal resolution.

March 12, 2020

New paper: Jurgec and Schertz (2019)

Peter Jurgec (faculty) and Jessamyn Schertz (faculty) have a new paper out in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory: "Postalveolar co-occurrence restrictions in Slovenian."

This paper shows that a postalveolar co-occurrence restriction (Obligatory Contour Principle, OCP) is a productive component of Slovenian phonology. We first examine whether an apparent OCP-based restriction on derived palatalization, previously observed in corpus data (Jurgec 2016), extends to novel forms via a goodness-rating task. We then explore the generality of the restriction across the lexicon, in non-derived novel words as well as derived forms. Our results confirm that native speakers judge derived palatalized nonce forms to be less acceptable when the stem contains another postalveolar, reflecting the pattern found in the previous corpus study. We further demonstrate that multiple postalveolars are dispreferred even in non-derived words, which suggests that the effect is a general case of OCP. This is additionally supported by effects of proximity (the restriction is stronger for postalveolars separated only by a single vowel than for those further apart from one another) and identity (the restriction is stronger for identical than non-identical postalveolars), reflecting cross-linguistic tendencies in the manifestation of OCP and non-local consonant dissimilation. Finally, we show that the restriction does not appear to apply to all places of articulation, suggesting that the co-occurrence restriction in Slovenian specifically targets postalveolars, and adding a previously unattested pattern to the typology of OCP phenomena on consonant place.

March 11, 2020

Research Groups: Week of March 9-13

Note that this week's meeting of the Psycholinguistics Group is cancelled.

Thursday, March 12, 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM in SS 1078
Morphology Reading Group
Sahar Taghipour (Ph.D.) and Phil Monahan (faculty): "Paradigmatic gaps impact early morphological decomposition: Evidence from masked priming."

Friday, March 13, 1:15 PM - 2:45 PM in SS 560A
Fieldwork Group
Guest speaker: Bruce Connell (York University), on his work compiling a dictionary of Mambila (Mambiloid).

March 10, 2020

Guest speaker: Julia Nee (University of California, Berkeley)

We are very pleased to welcome Julia Nee, a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Berkeley. Her work is centered on language revitalization and documentation, both with respect to case studies (Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec and on Northern Pomo) and the processes and pedagogy of the revitalization process itself. She will be giving a talk, "Language revitalization is about more than language: The role of community building in revitalizing Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec," at 3:00 PM on Friday, March 13, in SS560A.

One common barrier to language revitalization is the presence of an 'ideology of contempt' towards a language as a result of colonial and racist practices (Dorian, 1998). But the role of language ideologies in shaping language use is profound (Silverstein, 1979; Wollard and Schieffelin, 1994; Irvine and Gal, 2000; Kroskrity, 2006; among others), and language revitalization projects will not be successful in the long run if the negative language attitudes that supported language loss are not addressed (Dauenhauer and Dauenhauer, 1998; Hinton, 2001; Bradley, 2002; Beier and Michael, 2018). In strategizing ways to revitalize Teotitlán del Valle Zapotec use through Participatory Action Research, or PAR (White et al., 1991; Czaykowska-Higgins, 2009; Tuck, 2009; Martin et al., 2018), involving interviews, focus groups, and photovoice (Wang and Burris, 1997) with language activists, parents, and children, one common theme that emerged was the importance not only of teaching linguistic forms and structures, but also of building a supportive community of language learners and users. In this talk, I explore how PAR was implemented in Teotitlán, and how insights gained through using this methodology have allowed for improvements to the Zapotec language camps for kids that have been hosted since 2017. Specifically, I consider speaker-learner interactions and student-generated work (such as creative storybooks) to better understand the ways in which community-building activities such as field trips to archaeological sites increase learner investment (Pavlenko, 2001; Riestenberg and Sherris, 2018) and lead to greater acquisition and use of Zapotec among children. Additionally, I respond to previous calls in the literature to expand the range of genres studied in language documentation (Meek, 2011; Vallejos, 2016), and I argue for the importance of documenting the language revitalization process itself as a way to better understand how language is (or is not) being transmitted intergenerationally.

March 9, 2020

Guest speaker: Christian Brodbeck (University of Maryland, College Park)

We are delighted to welcome Christian Brodbeck, who is a postdoc at the University of Maryland, College Park, having completed his Ph.D. at New York University in 2016. His research is on neurolinguistics and cognition, especially with respect to processing on the semantic/pragmatic level. He will be giving a talk, "Time-locked cortical processing of continuous speech: From sound to words, and effects of selective attention," on Wednesday, March 11, from 2 PM to 4 PM, in SS 560A.

In most realistic contexts, speech is experienced as a continuous acoustic signal. MEG and EEG have the temporal resolution to track neural processes with millisecond accuracy, but the inherent temporal dynamics of natural, continuous speech pose a challenge for traditional data analysis techniques. In this talk I will introduce an approach modeling MEG responses to speech as a continuous, linear response to multiple concurrent, continuous predictor variables. This approach makes it possible to disentangle overlapping brain responses to successive events in naturalistic speech stimuli, such as an audiobook. By generating predictor variables based on cognitive models of neural processes, we can distinguish different cognitive processes involved in speech processing.

March 8, 2020

Jack and Elaine in the Los Angeles Times

Jack Chambers (faculty) and Elaine Gold (faculty) were interviewed for a recent story in the Los Angeles Times about the extent to which the stereotype matches the reality when it comes to the supposedly Canadian tag question 'eh?'.

March 7, 2020


The 38th meeting of the West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics is taking place at the University of British Columbia from March 6th through 8th, and several current or former department members are giving presentations:

Sahar Taghipour (Ph.D.) and Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty):
"Agreement with deficient pronouns in Laki: A syntactic repair to a clitic cluster restriction."

Cassandra Chapman (postdoc) and Keir Moulton (faculty) are part of a talk with Ivona Kucerova (McMaster University):
"How to value gender: Lexicon, Agree, and feature transmission under ellipsis."

Former faculty member Meg Grant (Simon Fraser University) is giving one of the plenary talks:
"Processing polysemy: Expanding the empirical domain."

Gloria Mellesmoen (MA 2016, now at the University of British Columbia) and Suzanne Urbanczyk (University of Victoria):
"Avoiding multiple reduplication without INTEGRITY."

Gloria is also presenting a poster with Nico Baier (McGill University):
"Spelling out object agreement in Central Salish."

March 6, 2020


This weekend is the 13th Toronto Undergraduate Linguistics Conference (TULCON 13), taking place primarily in SS1069, with the poster session in the fourth-floor hallway (by the department offices). The program is available here. Note that if you are interested in attending, you should register.

Keren Rice (faculty) is giving one of the keynote speeches:
"Theoretical and practical challenges of phonological variation."

Pocholo Umbal (Ph.D.) is giving the other keynote speech:
"Towards increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion in the linguistics classroom."

Milena Injac (BA):
"The use of the negative particle ne in Québec French news media."

Justin Leung (BA):
"The unified loss of verb particles in Medieval French: A quantitative analysis."

Christopher Legerme (BA):
"Antimarkedness constraints in the lexicon?: Evidence from Haitian Creole."

Anissa Baird (BA):
"I am not my body: A preliminary study of gender identity, gender expression, and their effects on sex-based and gender-based variability."

Rosie Owen (BA):
"Sweet songs and soft hearts: Metaphor in Cuzco Quechua."

Ernest Leung (BA):
"Derogatory terms in Hong Kong English's first dictionary and their sociocultural impacts."

Jingshu Yao (BA):
"Mom, talk to me in my mother tongue: SES and heritage language maintenance of East and South Asian Canadian community."

Ryan MacDonald (BA) is presenting a poster:
"Onset and coda repair in phonetic loanwords from English into Mandarin Chinese."

Ewen Lee (BA) is also presenting a poster:
"Fuzhou tone sandhi: Complications and implications of an OT account."

March 5, 2020

Research Groups: Friday, March 6

As part of our prospective graduate students' day (by invitation), we're holding a research group extravaganza. Five of our seven groups will be meeting and holding a sequence of short mini-presentations to highlight our ongoing research.

10:00 AM - 10:50 AM in SS 4043
Psycholinguistics Group
Phil Monahan (faculty), Zhanao Fu (Ph.D.), Barend Beekhuizen (faculty), Julia Watson (BA 2018), Breanna Pratley (MA), Nayoun Kim (postdoc), and Daphna Heller (faculty)

10:50 AM -11:40 AM in SS560A
Language Variation and Change Research Group
Derek Denis (faculty), Shabri Kapoor (Ph.D.), Lisa Schlegl (Ph.D.), Katharina Pabst (Ph.D.), and Tim Gadanidis (Ph.D.)

11:40 AM - 12:30 PM in SS560A
Syntax Group
Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty), Zoë McKenzie (Ph.D.), Virgilio Partida Peñalva (Ph.D.), and Andrew Peters (Ph.D.)

1:30 PM - 2:10 PM
Phonetics/Phonology Research Group
Alexei Kochetov (faculty), Yoonjung Kang (faculty), Alex Jaker (postdoc), Andrei Munteanu (Ph.D.), Angelika Kiss (Ph.D.), Koorosh Ariyaee (Ph.D.), Heather Yawney (Ph.D.), and Jessamyn Schertz (faculty)

2:10 PM - 3:00 PM in SS560A
Semantics Research Group
Nadia Takhtaganova (MA), Heather Stephens (Ph.D.), Angelika Kiss (Ph.D.), and Bruno de Oliveira Andreotti (Ph.D.)

March 4, 2020

Chalkboard throwback #5: Superheroism (Spring 2011)

Presumably by Christopher Spahr (Ph.D. 2015), who later went as Max Mora for Halloween. 
Or perhaps it was more than a clever costume idea?

March 3, 2020

Newcomers for March 2020

We've had two more people join us recently:

Jeremy Needle (postdoc) comes to us following a postdoc at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and a Ph.D. (2018) at Northwestern University. He's here working with Sali A. Tagliamonte on dialectology and change over time.

Annika Rossmanith (University of Groningen) an MA student originally from Germany, now studying in the Netherlands. She is here to work with Naomi Nagy on the Heritage Language Variation and Change project, as her current research is on heritage speakers of Russian.


March 2, 2020

Jack on the Sunday Edition

Our own Jack Chambers (faculty) is a dialectological legend who has been a professor here for fifty years, but he has long maintained a second life as a noted scholar of jazz music, and in this capacity is known for several books including a two-volume biography of Miles Davis. Yesterday, in the first of several planned installments, he and host Michael Enright of the CBC's Sunday Edition sat down to launch 'a series called 'Jazz for People Who Don't Like Jazz'. Check it out if you're either into jazz or not into jazz.

March 1, 2020


The 2020 Western Interdisciplinary Student Symposium on Language Research (WISSLR) took place at the University of Western Ontario on Saturday, February 29.

Derek Denis (faculty) gave the keynote speech:
"The enregisterment and the spread of Multicultural Toronto English."

Michael Iannozzi (BA 2014, now at the University of Western Ontario):
"An emigrated Italian dialect and its variable realization of /v/ as [w]."

Olga Tararova (Ph.D. 2018, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, now at the University of Western Ontario) was part of a presentation with Giulia Cortiana (University of Western Ontario):
"The complete deletion of /d/ in past participle -ar verbs: A comparative sociophonetic analysis between Spanish native speakers and English-speaking learners of Spanish."

February 29, 2020

Guest speaker: Félix Desmeules-Trudel (University of Western Ontario)

The Department of French is hosting a talk by Félix Desmeules-Trudel, who is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Western Ontario, having completed his Ph.D. in linguistics at the University of Ottawa in 2018 with a focus on perception, acquisition, and computational methods - especially when it comes to phonetics. His talk is taking place on Monday, March 2, at 3 PM, in 201 Odette Hall on St. Joseph Street: "Modéliser la dynamique du language : Outils expérimentaux, statistiques, et computationnels" (Modelling the dynamics of language: Experimental, statistical, and computational tools.") Note that the talk will be held in French.

(A substantial proportion of the population is able to use more than one language on an everyday basis, but most models of language processing are based on monolingual speakers. Moreover, some major theoretical frameworks consider cognitive representations to be relatively fixed over time. However, language is a dynamic phenomenon. With a view to examining this dynamic reality, I will present a series of projects using sophisticated experimental methods that will allow the modelling of real-time language processing in order to probe more deeply the interactions between phonetic variation and L2 learning. I pay particular attention to the variability and dynamics of nasal vowel production in French (measured according to changes in nasal airflow), to the real-time processing of these vowels in French as an L1 and as an L2 (eye-tracking), and to various linguistic and cognitive factors that influence processing in bilingual children and L2 lexical learning in adults. In conjunction with advanced statistical methods, the results suggest that phonetic features usually thought to be redundant in phono-lexical representations in the mind do contribute to improving linguistic processing. That said, the use of these phonetic features seems to be inextricably linked to speakers' linguistic background. Late bilinguals have perceptual patterns less precise than those of monolingual speakers. Ultimately, this research will allow me to adapt computational models of word recognition (jtrace) to L2 learners, and thus to acquire a more realistic understanding of how language processing and learning function, in tandem with phonetic, phonological, and lexical representations.)

February 28, 2020

LGCU pub night with Susana

As announced at one of our recent department parties, the winner of the TA/Grader Supervision Excellence Award for 2018-19 from the Linguistics Graduate Course Union was Susana Béjar (faculty). She earned a certificate and a special pub night with the graduate students; Kaz Bamba (Ph.D.) has sent along this photo of himself and Susana from the official ceremony, which took place recently. Congratulations, Susana, and thanks for all your efforts!

February 27, 2020

Guest speaker: Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada (University of Alberta)

Our department is very pleased to welcome Jorge Emilio Rosés Labrada, who is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Alberta. He earned his Ph.D. in 2015 jointly from the University of Western Ontario and l'Université Lumière-Lyon 2, then spent two years as a Banting postdoc at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on documentation and revitalization of Indigenous languages of the Americas (especially of the Pacific Northwest and the Amazon), often with an emphasis on morphosyntax and/or diachronic perspectives. His talk, "Legacy text collections and their importance for communities, student training, and research", will be taking place at 3:00 PM on Friday, February 28, in SS 560A.

In language documentation, the 'Boasian trilogy' - which has come to be seen as the gold standard - refers to a grammar, a dictionary, and a text collection. Grammars and dictionaries have received substantial attention in the literature over the last 30 years, with many discussions centering on best practices for their creation and on their role in language revitalization and maintenance efforts. Text collections, on the other hand, remain understudied. Yet for many communities, legacy texts - broadly understood here to include narratives, procedural texts, songs, etc. collected in the past - constitute invaluable sources of language and culture. In this talk, I focus on the role that legacy text collections can play in the cultural and linguistic strengthening of communities, in student and community training and capacity building, and in linguistic research. While drawing on multiple examples from my work, the primary focus of the talk will be a case study on the mobilization of such a collection for Makah (Wakashan, Washington State, USA) and the potential applicability of that work to the Canadian context.

February 26, 2020

Applications now open for LIN398

As with last year, Suzi Lima (faculty) is leading a Research Excursion Program (LIN398) course to Brazil to do intensive collaborative fieldwork on multiple endangered indigenous languages of the Amazon region. She and several undergraduates will be travelling to Boa Vista from May 3rd through 15th. If you are an undergraduate student in Arts & Science at the St. George campus and you have an intermediate number of credits, you are eligible. Applications for the course are due on Monday, March 10. For more details, see below or email Suzi.

February 25, 2020

Suzi at York University this week

Suzi Lima (faculty) is giving a talk as part of the Linguistics Lecture Series at York University: "What do we count? A view from Brazilian Indigenous Languages." This will be taking place on Thursday, February 27, from 5:30 to 6:30 PM, in Ross South 552/562. A reception in the department lounge will follow. Everyone is welcome!

In classical theories of countability, the minimal elements in the extension of count nouns are atoms, and the material parts of these atoms are not themselves part of the extension of the nouns (cf. Link 1983, Chierchia 1998, 2010 among many others). According to these theories, grammatical atomicity (what counts as an atom for purposes of counting in language) is strongly associated with natural atomicity (what constitutes as an individual of the kind described by a noun). Against this view, Rothstein (2010) argues that natural atomicity is neither required nor necessary for grammatical counting. Rothstein (2010) argues that atoms can be contextually defined. That is, count nouns like fence, wall and bouquet denote “different sets of atoms depending on the context of interpretation”. For example, what counts as a wall-atom in a particular context (the four wall-sides of a castle that we can consider as ‘a wall’) might not count as a wall-atom in a different context (the north wall of a castle, which we can also name as ‘a wall’). Empirical facts across languages provide ample evidence that discrete individuals are not necessarily countable (see object mass nouns such as furniture in English) and that nouns that denote substances are not necessarily uncountable (cf. Mathieu 2012, Lima 2014 among many others). Such evidence suggests a dissociation between natural and semantic atomicity. Given this debate, the question we intend to address in this talk is: how much does the conceptual content of a noun and natural atomicity influence how units of individuation are specified? Are units of individuation grammaticalized in the semantics of the nouns? Or are units of individuation contextually/pragmatically specified?

February 24, 2020

Research Groups: Week of February 24-28

Thursday, February 27, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM in SS 1078
Morphology Reading Group
Jean-François Juneau (Ph.D.): "A case of mismatch between syntax and phonology in Georgian PPs."

Friday, February 28, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM in SS 4043
Psycholinguistics Group
Daniel Grodner (Swarthmore College): "They in transition: Morphosyntactic, pragmatic, and sociolinguistic contributors to the licensing and processing of singular they."

Friday, February 28, 1:15 PM - 2:45 PM in SS 560A
Syntax Group
Thesis proposal of Virgilio Partida Peñalva (Ph.D.): "Split intransitivity in Mazahua."

February 23, 2020


The seventh annual Scarborough Undergraduate Linguistics Conference is taking place on Friday, February 28, from 8:45 AM through 4:30 PM, in rooms 151-152 of the Environmental Science and Chemistry building (Catalyst Centre). Come along and find out about some of the original research our undergrads have been working on - plus hear an invited keynote talk by linguist and cognitive scientist Rick Dale (BA 2000, now at the University of California, Los Angeles), himself an alumnus of the linguistics program at our Scarborough campus.

February 22, 2020

Guest speaker: Ewan Dunbar (Université de Paris Diderot)

The Department of French is hosting a talk by Ewan Dunbar. After finishing our department's BA (2007) and MA (2008) programs, Ewan earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in 2013. He is now a maître de conférences (Assistant Professor) at l'Université de Paris - Paris Diderot (Paris 7), where his research focuses on computational approaches to learning and perception, especially on the phonological level. His talk is taking place on Monday, February 24, at 3 PM, in 201 Odette Hall on St. Joseph Street: "Un jour, Google, tu deviendras un vrai garçon" ("Someday, Google, you'll be a real boy"). Note that the language of the talk is French.

(We increasingly speak to our computers, smartphones, and digital assistants. In many cases, these devices understand us perfectly. But it doesn't take long to realise that that our devices don't perceive speech the same way human beings do: they can make offbeat errors even under relatively normal listening conditions. Understanding the processes and representations involved in human speech perception is one of the primary goals of phonetics and phonology. I will show how we have approached fundamental questions for speech sciences through the use of reverse-engineering methods, as we attempt to ensure that the technology underlying our digital assistants behaves exactly the same way as human speech perception does. As an example, I describe our initial progress towards developing a teaching tool able to suggest targeted interventions for improving pronunciation in a second language – an application that needs to model and predict the likely difficulties that speakers of a given L1 will have when learning a given L2. I present experimental results gathered in English and French and compare the behaviour of our current models with that of human participants. I show how this work is integrated into a larger research program of modelling human speech perception, and the implications of such models for the speech-based technology that we interact with more and more in daily life.)

February 21, 2020

New paper: Wilson et al. (2019)

Fiona M. Wilson (Ph.D.) and colleagues Panayiotis A. Pappas (Simon Fraser University) and Arne O. Mooers (Simon Fraser University) have a new paper in Diachronica, 36(4): "The role of frequency of use in lexical change."

Based on the number of words per meaning across the Indo-European Swadesh list, Pagel et al. (2007) suggest that frequency of use is a general mechanism of linguistic evolution. We test this claim using within-language change. From the IDS (Key and Comrie 2015) we compiled a comparative word list of 1,147 cognate pairs for Classical Latin and Modern Spanish, and 1,231 cognate pairs for Classical and Modern Greek. We scored the amount of change for each cognate pair in the two language histories according to a novel 6-point scale reflecting increasing levels of change from regular sound change to external borrowing. We find a weak negative correlation between frequency of use and lexical change for both the Latin-Spanish and Classical-Modern Greek language developments, but post-hoc tests reveal that low frequency of use of borrowed words drive these patterns, casting some doubt on frequency of use as a general mechanism of language change.

February 20, 2020

Workshop on Bilingual Development: From Theory to Clinical Practice

The Department of Speech-Language Pathology has organized a mini-workshop on bilingualism and development and practice for Friday, February 21. This will be taking place from 1 PM to 4 PM. Note that it is possible to attend either in person or online. In person, the workshop will be taking place in room 235 of the Rehabilitation Sciences Building (500 University Avenue); attending online via Blackboard is also possible. Either way, please register here.

The workshop features two invited speakers:

Linda Polka (McGill University) (who will also be giving a guest talk on Friday morning): "Bilingual from the start: Variable language experiences and their relationship to vocalization and word segmentation in infants exposed to two languages."

Ellen Bialystok (York University): "How bilingualism changes minds."

February 19, 2020

Chalkboard throwback #4: Alternative Indices (Spring 2014)

Indexicality and variation. We might need to call the sociolinguists. (Origins obscure.)

February 18, 2020

Guest speaker: Linda Polka (McGill University)

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is hosting a talk by Linda Polka, who is a Professor in the School of Communication Science and Disorders at McGill University. She works on speech processing, L1 acquisition, and phonetics. Her talk, "Understanding biases in adult vowel perception," will be taking place on Friday, February 21, at 10:00 AM, in the Private Dining Room of Burwash Hall at Victoria College (89 Charles Street West).

February 17, 2020

New paper: Schertz and Clare (2019)

Jessamyn Schertz (faculty) and Emily Clare (Ph.D. 2019) have a paper in WIREs (Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Sciences): "Phonetic cue weighting in perception and production."

Speech sound contrasts differ along multiple phonetic dimensions. During speech perception, listeners must decide which cues are relevant, and determine the relative importance of each cue, while also integrating other, signal‐external cues. The comparison of cue weighting in perception and production bears on a range of theoretical issues including the processes underlying sound change, the time course of learning, the nature of cues, and the perception‐production interface. Research examining the relative alignment of cue weighting across the modalities, on both a community and individual level, has revealed both parallels and asymmetries between the modalities. The extraordinarily wide range of ways that have been used to conceptualize and quantify cue weights reflects the inherent theoretical, methodological, and analytical differences between the two modalities. More consideration of the choices of analytical metrics, explicit discussion of the theoretical assumptions that underlie them, and systematic investigations of different types of cues will lead to more generalizable findings that can be incorporated into computational implementable models of speech processing.

February 15, 2020

Red-and-grey day

Several times recently, multiple faculty members have unwittingly selected the same colour palette for the day. Here, Craig Chambers, Sali A. Tagliamonte, and Derek Denis provide an example (photo courtesy of Sali).

February 14, 2020

New paper: Tagliamonte and Pabst (2020)

Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) and Katharina Pabst (Ph.D.) have a new paper in the Journal of English Linguistics, 48(1): "A cool comparison: Adjectives of positive evaluation in Toronto, Canada and York, England."

This paper examines variation and change in the adjectives used to express 'highly positive evaluation' in the varieties of English spoken in Toronto, Canada, and York, England. Building on earlier work on another semantic field, strangeness, we analyze over 4800 tokens and thirty-four different types, as in 'That’s great' and 'She’s awesome'. Our results show both similarities and differences between these two semantic fields. While individual forms in both fields tend to be popular for a long time, many forms fall in and out of favor. In the case of adjectives of highly positive evaluation, the adjectival set is particularly rich. Distributional analysis and statistical modeling of constraints on the major forms and their underlying social and linguistic correlates reveals that these changes are not progressing in parallel across varieties of English. There are robust linguistic patterns that suggest a systemic underlying explanation. New additions to this field arise in predicative position and as stand-alones, and in a later stage extend to attributive position. Finally, consistent with earlier findings on adjectives and (intensifying) adverbs, there are notable links to social trends and popular culture, affirming the link between open class categories and their sociolinguistic embedding.

February 13, 2020

Research Groups: Friday, February 14

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM in SS 560A
Phonology Group

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM in BA 2139
Language Variation and Change Research Group
Marisa Brook (faculty) reporting on work on intensification with Emily Blamire (Ph.D.) and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty).

1:15 PM - 2:45 PM in SS 560A
Semantics Group
Nadia Takhtaganova (MA) on French epistemic modals:

In their paper on strong and weak universal modals, Von Fintel and Iatridou identify a cross-linguistic tendency that 'counterfactual', e.g. conditional, inflectional morphology on a modal verb marks a weaker modal claim than indicative morphology (2008:2). This is explained in the context of Domain Restriction Theory as follows. The conditional morphology signals an additional ordering source that is applied on top of a modal base and primary ordering source in order to restrict the domain of worlds evaluated. But what about existential epistemic modals? In work to appear, Silk claims that the notion of a secondary ordering source incorrectly predicts a stronger reading with counterfactual morphology on existential modals. It seems that his conjecture is corroborated by native French speaker intuitions, which suggest that conditional morphology on the verb pouvoir, roughly equivalent to the English 'can/could', signals a 'weaker possibility' than indicative morphology would. My forum paper compares the epistemic uses of the French modal verbs devoir (“must, have to”) and pouvoir in their conditional and indicative inflectional paradigms to test Silk’s prediction. I will do this by examining the relationship between negative polarity and domain widening and the blocking effects that arise with the use of stronger modality in positive polarity environments.

February 12, 2020

Guest speaker: Tahohtharátye Joe Brant (Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Cultural Center)

Our department is delighted to welcome Tahohtharátye Joe Brant (Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Cultural Center) He is an educator and community leader in Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory heavily involved in the core of Indigenous cultural practice, and also working in language revitalization. A graduate of the M.Ed. program at the University of Victoria, he has taught at every level from elementary school to university, and conducts ethnographic work on L1 speakers of Mohawk.

His talk, "Ratiwennókwas (They are Pulling the Words out of the Water)", will be taking place at 3:00 PM in SS 560A.

'Ratiwennókwas' has centred on researching language acquisition and documentation methodologies as part of a SSHRC-funded project partnership between Tsi Tyónnheht Onkwawén:na Language and Cultural Center in Tyendinaga and NEȾOLṈEW̱, led by Dr. Onowa McIvor and Dr. Peter Jacobs through the University of Victoria. Ratiwennókwas literally translates to English as 'they are pulling the words out of the water'. This title correlates with the project goals of documenting, retaining, activating, and transmitting Kanyen'kéha first-language speaker data that may have otherwise been lost 'down the river' forever. Ratiwennókwas gatherins capture invaluable audio and video recordings of first-language Kanyen'kéha speakers and help produce authentic second-language learning resources. This presentation will share the process of activating first-language speaker data and its impact on Kanyen'kéha learning. Audio and video recordings from the Ratiwennókwas are being edited and transcribed to create authentic materials and interactive language-learning activities on a range of topics. Some examples of the topics captured in Ratiwennókwas are: introducing, apologizing, condoling, consoling, offering help, promising, cancelling, defending, thanking and saying goodbye. For each of these topics, a range of levels of speech are explored by first-language speakers, for example condoling a child on the loss of a pet vs. condoling an elderly person on the loss of a family member. Eliciting this language ensures that learners have access to language for a range of emotional states and levels of formal and casual speech. The process and products documented throughout the Ratiwennókwas project are increasingly important in Mohawk Nation communities such as Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory where there are no longer adult first-language fluent Mohawk speakers. As the population of first-language Indigenous speakers continues to decline internationally, the documentation, activation, and transmission of authentic second-language learning material is crucial in maintaining Indigenous languages' cultural and linguistic integrity.