November 30, 2009

Elan in New Orleans

Elan Dresher gave an invited talk on “Methodological Issues in the Dating of Linguistic Forms: Considerations from the Perspective of Contemporary Linguistic Theory,” at the National Association of Professors of Hebrew session on Diachrony in Biblical Hebrew, part of the 2009 annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, New Orleans, November 2009.

November 29, 2009

Naomi's trip to Italy

At the beginning of November, Naomi attended a conference, Corpus Linguistics and Language Variation, or CLAVIER '09, in Modena Italy. She presented the first findings from the Heritage Language Variation & Change in Toronto project -- a comparison of Faetar lexical variation in Faeto, Italy and the GTA. Following that, she met with linguists who have worked on the Calabrese dialect, another component of the HLVC project, in Firenze, Roma, and Cosenza. This is a link to some of the sites she saw on the way. []

Day in Niagara

Following an excellent lecture for the Department of Linguistics Speakers Series ("Early Null Objects: Pronominal phi-features and saving strategies in language development") Vincenzo Moscati, a visitor from the Universit√† di Siena, joined French Department post-doc Nelleke Strik, avid photographer Craig Diegel and assistant professor Naomi Nagy to venture to Niagara Falls, because none of them had been there (in the past few decades). Here's a taste of their day.

November 27, 2009

Recent Departmental Honours

In the last year, three members of the department have been honoured by both the University and externally.

  • Mary Hsu won the 2009 Dean's Student Life Award. The award committee writes that they were very impressed with Mary's work over the years as Graduate Administrator. The award was presented at a ceremony this spring.
Congradulations to Mary, Keren, and Jack!

Alana Johns on Canada AM talking about Dying Words

Alana appeared on Canada AM recently. Below is a link to the interview:

The written story is at:

Jack Chambers in Hungary

Jack Chambers is in Budapest in December 1-6.He is consulting with
researchers on the Hungarian Sociolinguistic Survey, directed by
Miklós Kontra of the Research Institute for Linguistics, Hungarian
Academy of Sciences. He will also present two talks while he is
there, one on "Talking Heads: Television and Your Language" and the
other on "Multilingualism and Nationalism."

November 26, 2009

Heritage Languages engage SLUGS

Exploring Heritage Language Variation in Toronto

As part of the SLUGS Academic Seminar Series, I gave a talk to a room full of interested, enthusiastic students (mostly undergrad) about the research project "Heritage Language Variation and Change" that I'm undertaking along with Alexei, Yoonjung, and James Walker, and ~18 student RAs. SLUGS provided wonderful refreshments and the students provided good suggestions. Info about the project, which is examining how Cantonese, Korean, Faetar, Italian, Russian, and Korean vary and change across 3 generations of immigrants, is at:

I gave a similar talk at the Corpus Linguistics and Language Variation Conference in Modena, Italy, a few weeks ago, which was also received enthusiastically and led to several possible collaborations for comparing Calabrese as it is spoken in the GTA to how it is spoken in Italy (specifically Calabria). Info on that conference, which was quite international, is at:

Happy Thanksgiving!


Sid Smith rooms

Here's a glimpse of current state of our new home. Two weeks to go!
Will they be done in time?

(Photos courtesy of Bill)

November 24, 2009

Elaine Gold on 'Fresh Air', CBC Radio

Sunday morning (November 22) I got up bright and early to get down to the CBC studio on Front Street for 7:15. Mary Ito had asked me to be on her show 'Fresh Air' to discuss the words of the year. Apparently it had been announced that 'admonish' and 'unfriend (a verb)' were chosen as the words of the year. We had a friendly discussion of those words and how language changes. A number of early birds heard me - including Ron Smyth, who was baking bread at the time. It was my second time for an interview with Mary Ito - she had me on last June to discuss words borrowed into English from other languages.


November 23, 2009

Suggest a blog post

Who can suggest a post?

Any current or former member of the department can suggest a post to the blog.

What can I submit?

Appropriate content might include text, links, and photos related to:

• Publications and presentations;
• Conferences and workshops hosted by the department;
• Conferences and workshops with major departmental participation;
• Guest talks in our department;
• Poster sessions in our department;
• Other events of interest to our department;
• Media appearances of people in our department;
• People from our department having travel adventures abroad;
• Academic honours;
• Research group meetings;
• Major research projects;
• Thesis defenses;
• Convocation ceremonies;
• Department parties and sometimes lighthearted everyday candid shots;
• Big accomplishments unrelated to linguistics but still worth celebrating;
• Weddings;
• New babies;
• Other alumni updates;
• Memorials;
• Faculty getting tenure;
• New jobs (particularly for Ph.D. alumni);
• New postdocs and faculty and visiting scholars;
• Departing postdocs and faculty (and sometimes grad students);
• The 'spotlight on...' category, for anything or anyone going unfairly unnoticed.

Note that this list is not exhaustive.

What shouldn’t I suggest?

Personal requests, advertisements, etc. that are not of general departmental interest should not be posted on this blog. Keep in mind that the site is for public viewing. A moderator will edit all content.

How do I post?

Send an email containing your post suggestion to utlinguistics AT gmail dot com.

How do I report an error or omission?

Send an email to, or email the committee members individually (see below).

Blog editor for 2019-2020:

Marisa Brook (

November 16, 2009

First blog post

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto has launched a new blog as a way to keep everyone in the loop. You are encouraged to send news to be posted on the site (