December 30, 2019

Report from Amsterdam Colloquium 2019

The 2019 Amsterdam Colloquium took place from December 18 through 20 at the Amsterdam Science Park.

Suzi Lima (faculty) gave one of the invited talks for the Workshop on Semantic Universals: "What do we count? A view from Brazilian indigenous languages."

Suzi (centre) with colleagues Maribel Romero (Universität Konstanz) and Bernhard Schwarz (McGill University).

Michela Ippolito (faculty) also gave a talk: "Gestures as markers of non-canonical questions."

Ailís Cournane (Ph.D. 2015, now at New York University) was part of a talk with Anouk Dieuleveut (University of Maryland), Annemarie van Dooren (University of Maryland), and Valentine Hacquard (University of Maryland): "Learning modal force: Evidence from children's production and input."

Ewan Dunbar (MA 2008, now at l'Université Paris Diderot) was part of a talk with Mélissa Berthet (École normale supérieure), Juan Benjumea (Ghent University), Juliette Millet (Université Paris Diderot), Cristiane Cäsar (Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais), and Klaus Zuberbühler (University of St. Andrews): "Animal linguistics and the puzzle of Titi monkeys' alarm sequences."

The 'lightning talks' also included two alumni:

Julie Goncharov (Ph.D. 2015, now at the University of Tromsø) and Lavi Wolf (Ben Gurion University of the Negev): "Time matters: The role of temporal boundaries in NPI licensing."

Ailís Cournane (Ph.D. 2015, now at New York University) with Maxime Tulling (New York University): "The role of 'fake' past tense in acquiring counterfactuals."

December 29, 2019

LSA et al. 2020

The Linguistic Society of American's 94th Annual Meeting is taking place in New Orleans from January 2nd through 5th. Alongside it are the annual meetings of a number of 'sister societies'. Current U of T linguists and alumni taking part are:

Linguistic Society of America

Karlien Franco (postdoc) and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty):
"Lexicalization in grammatical change? The simple past/present perfect alternation in Canadian English."

Keren Rice (faculty) is both a discussant and a speaker on a symposium about language documentation:
"A brief introduction to DEL: Reflections on the intellectual merit of language documentation."

Daniel Milway (Ph.D. 2019):
"A workspace-based analysis of adjuncts."

Ailís Cournane (Ph.D. 2015, now at New York University) with Alicia Parrish (New York University):
"Acquisition of quantity-related inferences in 4- and 5-year-olds."

Ailís also has a poster with Vishal Sunil Arvindam (University of California, Santa Cruz) and Maxime Tulling (New York University):
"Do 2-year-olds understand epistemic maybe? Maybe!"

Bettina Spreng (Ph.D. 2012, now at the University of Saskatchewan) has a poster:
"v-Asp Feature Inheritance: Some insights from Inuktitut and Swabian (Alemannic)."

Fulang Chen (MA 2017, now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
"Split partitivity in Mandarin: A diagnostic for argument-gap dependencies."

Michelle Yuan (MA 2013, now at the University of California, San Diego):
"Deriving ergativity from object shift across Eskimo-Aleut."

Michelle also has a talk with Ksenia Ershova (Stanford University):
"Dependent case in syntactically ergative languages: Evidence from Inuit and West Circassian."

Neil Banerjee (BA 2016, now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology):
"Ellipsis as Obliteration: Evidence from Bengali negative allomorphy."

Nicholas Rolle (MA 2010, now at Princeton University) with Emily Clem (University of California, San Diego) and Virginia Dawson (University of California, Berkeley):
"Altruistic inversion and doubling in Tiwa morphology."

Recent faculty member Nicholas LaCara:
"Synthetic compounding in Distributed Morphology with phrasal movement."

American Dialect Society

Karlien Franco (postdoc) and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty):
"How to gain a new guy in 10 decades: A study of lexical variation in Ontario dialects."

Derek Denis (faculty), Chantel Briana Campbell (BA), Eloisa Cervantes (BA), Keturah Mainye (BA), Michelle Sun (BA), Timothy Gadanidis (Ph.D.) and colleague Jeanne F. Nicole Dingle (University of British Columbia):
"Ideologies and social meanings around Multicultural Toronto English."

Lauren Bigelow (Ph.D.) and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty):
"Where have all the articles gone? Bare nominals in Marmora and Lake, Ontario."

Emily Blamire (Ph.D.) and Marisa Brook (faculty):
"Very quick reversal: Rapid real-time change in Canadian English intensifiers."

Naomi Nagy (faculty) and James Walker (BA 1989, now at La Trobe University) with Michol Hoffman (York University) and Ronald Beline Mendes (University of São Paulo):
"Sounds of the city: Perceptions of ethnically marked speech in Toronto."

Timothy Gadanidis (Ph.D.):
"Uh, that’s a little rude: Implicit judgments of um and uh in instant messaging."

Nicole Rosen (Ph.D. 2007, now at the University of Manitoba) has a poster with Sky Onosson (University of Manitoba):
"Ethnolinguistic vowel differentiation in Manitoba."

Alexandra D'Arcy (Ph.D. 2005, now at the University of Victoria) has a poster:
"On being a caregiver and a community member in the midst of language change."

Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the Americans (SSILA)

Michael Barrie (Ph.D. 2006, now at Sogang University)
"The prosody of anger and surprise in Cayuga."

Patricia A. Shaw (Ph.D. 1976, now at the University of British Columbia) and Severn Cullis-Suzuki (University of British Columbia):
"Xaayda kil intonation patterns: Empowering language learners to 'sing' like their elders."

Shay Hucklebridge (MA 2016, now at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst):
"Bare nouns and negation in Tłı̨chǫ Yatıì relative clauses."

Paulina Lyskawa (MA 2015, now at the University of Maryland) with Christopher Baron (Massachussetts Institute of Technology) and Rodrigo Ranero (University of Maryland):
"Narcissistic allomorphy in Santiago Tz'utujil."

American Name Society

Kate Brennan (Ph.D., Centre for Comparative Literature):
"Semantic relations and personal names in literature: Naming as authority."

North American Research Network in Historical Sociolinguistics (NARNiHS)

Alexandra D'Arcy (Ph.D. 2005, now at the University of Victoria) is part of a panel with Joseph Salmons (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Rik Vosters (Vrije Universiteit Brussel):
"Historical sociolinguistics: Lineage and leading edge."

Society for Computation in Linguistics (SCiL)

Ella Rabinovich (postdoc, Department of Computer Science) is part of a poster with Maria Ryskina (Carnegie Mellon University), Taylor Berg-Kirkpatrick (University of California, San Diego), David Mortensen (Carnegie Mellon University), and Yulia Tsvetkov (Carnegie Mellon University):
"Where new words are born: Distributional semantic analysis of neologisms and their semantic neighbourhoods."

Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics

James Walker (BA 1989, now at La Trobe University):
"Complements of the Eastern Caribbean."

December 26, 2019

Chris on CBC News

In conjunction with the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages for 2019, the CBC has profiled our own Chris Harvey (Ph.D.) and the extensive work that he has been doing for digital typography of Indigenous languages of Canada.

December 20, 2019

Alex in Arts & Science News

Alexandra D'Arcy (Ph.D. 2005, now at the University of Victoria) is profiled this week in the Arts & Science newsletter with a focus on her well-underway Kids Talk project, which follows young children from the age of three well into elementary school and explores when variation appears and what it looks like.

December 19, 2019

Update from Naomi

Naomi Nagy (faculty) has recently brought the holiday spirit into her sabbatical research activities through two talks! One was at the University of Maine on December 4: "How a linguist thinks about chocolate." The other, at the University of Duisberg-Essen on November 14, was: "Intergenerational change in Toronto's heritage languages?" It was part of a special lecture series, as follows:

December 13, 2019

Workshop on Speech and Attitude Reports in Brazilian Languages

Following their organization of the workshop on Complex Structures in Brazilian Languages at ABRALIN in May, Suzi Lima (faculty), Tonjes Veenstra (Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft), and Hein van der Voort (Museu Paraense Emílio Goeldi) joined forces on a second workshop: Speech and Attitude Reports in Brazilian Languages.

Suzi herself presented:
"Quotatives in Yudja."

Guillaume Thomas (faculty) presented:
"The landscape of attitude reports in Mbya."

A talk on quotatives in Ye'kwana and Taurepang included two of the undergraduates students from the U of T who took part in Suzi's REP course over the summer - Octavia Andrade-Dixon and Guilherme Akio Teruya - as well as Suzi and the local professor who helped organize the REP course, Isabella Coutinho Costa.

(Thanks to Suzi for the photos!)

Suzi and Tonjes

Most of the workshop presenters!

December 10, 2019

Some year-end milestones!

At the end of 2019, we have much to celebrate - even on top of conferences, publications, workshops, awards, new jobs, graduations, guest speakers, birthdays, outreach, and the U.N. International Year of Indigenous Languages.

Notably, six of our Ph.D. students presented successful thesis proposals this semester (Kaz Bamba, Emily Blamire, Frederick Gietz, Kiranpreet Nara, Fiona Wilson, and Heather Yawney) - spanning phonetics, phonology, syntax, language variation, psycholinguistics, computational linguistics, and language documentation. Congratulations to all!

We also have a couple of ten-year anniversaries to mark. For one thing, it has now been a decade since our relocation! We spent the week of December 14-18, 2009 moving from the sixth floor of Robarts Library to the fourth floor of Sidney Smith Hall. Given the choice between a classroom and a lounge in Sidney Smith Hall, we opted for a lounge - which has since become the central crossroads and gathering-place of the department. It has served not only as workshop venue, reception area, and lunchroom, but also a veritable incubator of friendships and research collaborations (sometimes both at once). Attesting to its value, graduate students talking to prospective students sometimes single out the lounge as a major advantage of our department.

This blog is also now ten years old, having been established in the second half of 2009. It has since been through several editing teams and underwent a visual overhaul in the autumn of 2015, but has been chronicling department life for a decade. Here's hoping this ultimately proves to have been just one decade of many!

December 9, 2019

Multiple new publications in CJL

This month's issue of the Canadian Journal of Linguistics - 64(4) - is a collection of papers from the Manitoba Workshop on Person in September 2017. The introduction is by organizers Will Oxford (Ph.D. 2014, now at the University of Manitoba) and Jila Ghomeshi (Ph.D. 1996, now at the University of Manitoba). Several of the papers are also by current departmental members and alumni:

Bronwyn M. Bjorkman (former postdoc, now at Queen's University), Elizabeth Cowper (faculty), Daniel Currie Hall (Ph.D. 2007, now at St. Mary's Unversity), and Andrew Peters (Ph.D.) have a paper: "Person and deixis in Heiltsuk pronouns."

Harbour (2016) argues for a parsimonious universal set of features for grammatical person distinctions, and suggests (ch. 7) that the same features may also form the basis for systems of deixis. We apply this proposal to an analysis of Heiltsuk, a Wakashan language with a particularly rich set of person-based deictic contrasts (Rath 1981). Heiltsuk demonstratives and third-person pronominal enclitics distinguish proximal-to-speaker, proximal-to-addressee, and distal (in addition to an orthogonal visibility contrast). There are no forms marking proximity to third persons (e.g., ‘near them’) or identifying the location of discourse participants (e.g., ‘you near me’ vs. ‘you over there’), nor does the deictic system make use of the clusivity contrast that appears in the pronoun paradigm (e.g., ‘this near you and me’ vs. ‘this near me and others’). We account for the pattern by implementing Harbour's spatial element χ as a function that yields proximity to its first- or second-person argument.

Richard Compton (Ph.D. 2012, now at l'Université du Québec à Montréal): "Person complementarity and (pseudo) Person Case Constraint effects: Evidence from Inuktitut."

This paper examines the nature of person complementarity in Eastern Canadian Inuktitut (Eskimo-Aleut), arguing that despite its apparent patterning as a Person Case Constraint (PCC) effect, it is not due to the presence of a defective intervener blocking person agreement with a lower argument, as is often the case in other languages. Instead, the observed effect is caused by a defective or missing person probe on C that cannot value local person features on absolutive arguments. Given the use of the PCC as a diagnostic for differentiating clitics and agreement, this result has implications for the proper identification of φ-marking in Inuktitut.

Tomohiro Yokoyama (Ph.D. 2019): "Dissociating the Person Case Constraint from its 'repair'."

In French ditransitive sentences, certain person combinations of the two internal arguments cannot be expressed with two co-occurring clitics (a phenomenon referred to as the Person Case Constraint or PCC). To fill the interpretational gap created by this restriction, there is an alternative construction characterized as a 'repair', where the goal is realized as an independent phrase. The fact that the double-clitic construction and the repair construction are in complementary distribution led to a proposal of an interface algorithm that provides a way to repair a non-convergent structure. This article proposes an alternative account of the PCC, and claims that the complementarity between the PCC and its repair is instead accidental and is an artefact of the feature structure of arguments. The proposed account explains the unavailability of certain clitic combinations and some repairs independently, without resorting to a trans-derivational device like the previously proposed algorithm.

December 5, 2019

New linguistics videos created by LIN101 students!

This semester, our teaching team for LIN101: Introduction to Linguistics: Sound Patterns (consisting of faculty member Peter Jurgec and fourteen TAs) had the students do small independent research projects of various types. Among the video projects, there were three standout submissions - which we are thrilled to share with the wider community!

Music and Language
Phonology of Elvish

December 4, 2019

New paper: Schertz, Kang, and Han (2019)

Jessamyn Schertz (faculty), Yoonjung Kang (faculty), and colleague Sungwoo Han (Inha University) have a new paper in Laboratory Phonology, 10(1): "Sources of variability in phonetic perception: The joint influence of listener and talker characteristics on perception of the Korean stop contrast."

Where there is dialectal variability in production of a sound contrast, listeners from the two dialects may show parallel differences in perception. At the same time, perception is not static and can be influenced by other factors, including listeners’ experience with, and expectations about, different talkers. This work examines perception of the Korean three-way stop phonation contrast by listeners of two dialects of Korean. We examine to what extent listeners’ perception reflects production norms in their local community and, via a reverse matched-guise task, test whether their knowledge of cross-dialectal variability plays an active role in the way they categorize the contrast. While perception appears to reflect production norms on a broad level, we found age-related differences in perception, even for listener groups who showed no sign of a parallel difference in production. Furthermore, listeners showed different response patterns depending on the apparent dialect of the talker. Our results suggest that exposure to dialectal variability and expectations about the talker influence perception.

December 3, 2019

Research Groups: Friday, December 6

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Language Variation and Change Research Group
Thesis proposal of Fiona Wilson (Ph.D.): "Variation in Cree negation."

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Syntax Group
Two presentations by alumni:

Dan Milway (Ph.D. 2019): "A workspace-based analysis of adjuncts."
I present a novel analysis of adjunction, according to which host-adjunct structures are not generated by any form of Merge, but rather host and adjuncts are derived in parallel workspaces and collapsed into a single string upon externalization. I present three arguments in favor of this analysis. First, I argue that it follows directly from the basic properties of adjunction. Second I argue that it gives a natural account of adjunct island effects. And finally, I argue that it assumes a simpler grammar than other leading analyses of adjunction.

Will Oxford (Ph.D. 2014, now at the University of Manitoba): "Deriving variation in inverse marking."
Algonquian languages are known for the special 'inverse' agreement pattern that appears in some transitive verb forms. It is less well known that the precise distribution of the inverse pattern varies extensively: across the Algonquian family, transitive forms in which a non-SAP acts on an SAP show eleven different distributions of inverse marking. I show that these eleven contexts fall along a striking 'staircase' cline. I argue that each step along the cline - that is, each different distribution of inverse marking - can be derived simply by varying the features sought by the probe on Infl. This analysis is consistent with proposals that inverse marking is simply a special form of agreement morphology (Béjar and Rezac 2009) rather than an entirely distinct inflectional category (as proposed in, e.g., Bliss, Ritter, and Wiltschko 2014).

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Semantics Research Group
Thesis proposal of Frederick Gietz (Ph.D.): "A computational approach to complement coercion."

December 2, 2019

Quechuan Languages Workshop

With Suzi Lima (faculty) and two language consultants at the helm, this semester's Field Methods class investigated two varieties of Quechua. Following up from last year's workshop on Iranian languages and 2017's on Malagasy, we are holding a Quechua Languages Workshop on Thursday, December 5, in the department lounge. Come hear about the research the students have been doing! (Note: if you would like to attend part or all of the workshop, please register here. Thanks!)

Ewen Lee (BA):
"Resolving pronoun ambiguity in Calcauso Quechua."

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

Chanell Chlopowiec (BA):
"When in Peru, do as the Quechua do: A linguistic analysis of compounding in Cuzco and Apurimac Quechua."

Mark Smith (BA):
"Eliminating exceptions in Calcauso Quechua."

Christina Duong (BA) and Seo Hyun Hong (BA):
"Evidentiality: A comparison between Cusco and Apurimac Quechua."

Rosie Owen (BA):
"Metaphors in Cuzco Quechua."

Allyson Balaz (MA):
"The semantics of cutting and breaking events in Quechua: A brief typological overview."

December 1, 2019

Report from URLR

We hosted a workshop on Urban and Rural Language Research at Trinity College on November 9-10. Conceived by Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) and Arne Ziegler (University of Graz), the event brought a number of Austrian visitors to Canada. Fortunately, the snowstorm did not manage to call off the trip to Niagara Falls!

Special thanks to Karlien Franco (postdoc) for her exceptional organisational work throughout the planning process, and to Arne, to Jack Chambers (faculty) and to Derek Denis (faculty) for giving the plenary talks!

Pre-workshop dinner: Arne Ziegler (University of Graz), Derek Denis (faculty), Karlien Franco (postdoc), Kaleigh Woolford (Ph.D.), Katharina Pabst (Ph.D.), Dragana Rakocevic (University of Graz), Marisa Brook (faculty), Gerrit Tscheru (University of Graz), Stefanie Edler (University of Graz), Ann Kathrin Fischer (University of Graz), and Theresa Monsberger (University of Graz). (Photo by Sali.)

Dragana, Katharina, Teresa, Stefanie, and Lisa Schlegl (Ph.D.) were the panellists on a very lively session chaired by Sali about ethical/logistical issues arising in sociolinguistic fieldwork.
(Photo by Derek.)

November 29, 2019

Guest speaker: Yasutada Sudo (University College London)

We are very pleased to welcome Yasutada Sudo, who is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Linguistics at University College London and who works on semantics, pragmatics, and syntax. His talk, "Implicatures with discourse referents", will be taking place on Monday, December 2, from 10:30 AM through 12 PM, in OISE 8280.

Theories of discourse anaphora represent discourse referents separately from propositional content (Karttunen 1976, Heim 1982, Kamp 1983, etc.). It is then natural to expect information about discourse referents to be relevant for pragmatic inferences, but most current theories of pragmatics seem to ignore it. In this talk I will look at some cases of implicatures where information about discourse referents gives rise to non-trivial effects, and discuss possible ways in which pragmatic reasoning refers to discourse referents.

November 28, 2019

Naomi and Anne-Marie on Radio-Canada

Naomi Nagy (faculty) and Anne-Marie Brousseau (faculty, Department of French) were recently interviewed, en français, on Radio-Canada. Listen in on Naomi and Anne-Marie, hear about what they've been up to and a favourite song of each, and révisez votre français!

November 26, 2019

Research Groups: Week of November 25-29

Wednesday, November 27, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM in SS 2116
Morphology Reading Group
Alessandro Jaker (postdoc) presenting on his paper: "The 'productive' vs. 'thematic' prefix distinction in Tetsǫ́t’ıné: An LFG formalization."

Friday, November 29, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM in SS 4043
Psycholinguistics Group
Guest speaker: Victor Kuperman (McMaster University): "What spelling errors tell us about dynamics of learning: A cross-linguistic study."

Friday, November 29, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM in SS 560A
Phonology Group
Thesis proposal of Kiranpreet Nara (Ph.D.): "An acoustic and electroglottographic study of Punjabi tone and voice quality."

Friday, November 29, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM in SS 560A
Fieldwork Group

November 25, 2019

Congratulations, Andrea!

We are thrilled to have learned that Andrea Johns (BA) is one of two Indigenous students recognized by President Meric Gertler for their commitment to academics and Indigenous outreach. Andrea, who is Kanien'kéha/Mohawk and currently a fourth-year student in Indigenous Studies, has thrown herself into advocating for Indigenous language rights. On top of herself learning the Kanien'kéha/Mohawk language in classes taught by Ryan DeCaire (faculty), she has established the Indigenous Languages Club here and studied abroad in New Zealand to investigate the language revitalization and other cultural reclamation efforts on the part of the Maori. Following her graduation, she intends to continue to advocate for linguistic human rights among the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island. Congratulations, Andrea, on this recognition, and all our best!

November 24, 2019

Ruth at UTM Linguistics Brown Bag

Ruth Maddeaux (Ph.D.) is the next guest speaker for the Linguistics Brown Bag Lunch series of talks at UTM. Her talk, "Individual cognitive differences as predictors of participation in sound change", will be taking place on Monday, December 2, from 2:00 PM to 3:00 PM in room 3235 (partition room) of Maanjiwe nendamowinan. Feel free to bring your lunch!

Sociolinguistic research is built on analyzing variation among speakers grouped into macro-social categories – e.g., age, gender, socio-economic background (Labov 2001 and many others) – with relatively little attention paid to the individual speaker. But, models of sound change rely on the individual listener/speaker to initiate, adopt and propel change (Ohala 1981; Janda and Joseph 2003). And, psycholinguistic research finds robust correlations between aspects of the individual's cognitive function and linguistic performance. This leads to a question that brings these three facts together: What individual differences in cognitive function play a role in perceiving and producing sociolinguistically evaluated sound change?

As a starting point for investigating the role of individual differences within a group, I employ two cognitive measures: Empathy Quotient (EQ) quantifies our ability to identify another person’s emotions and to respond appropriately, and Systematizing Quotient (SQ) is our ability to construct and analyze rule-based systems (Baron-Cohen 2009). In perceptual tasks, individuals with either low EQ or low SQ scores compensate less for vocalic context when categorizing ambiguous segments (Yu 2013). I examine whether these results extend to production by testing correlations between these measures and the F2 of /u/ in the speech of Toronto English speakers. The vowel /u/ is fronting in apparent time in Toronto (Boberg 2010, 2011). It is at the onset of a change, is highly variable among speakers, and is phonetically conditioned, making it a promising locus for individual differences to emerge.

Statistical analysis reveals that neither EQ nor SQ alone predict a speaker's degree of frontedness. But, speakers who have a high drive towards both empathy and systematizing are significantly more fronted than any other speakers, most dramatically in the environment that has long favoured fronting (post-coronally). I argue that the cognitive differences are the most apparent in environments in which fronting is occurring as a phonetic, coarticulatory process. In other environments (e.g., post-labially), where fronting is not co-articulatorily motivated and in fact is happening as a result of the loss of the conditioning environment (cf. Janda and Joseph 2003), cognitive effects play a smaller role. Overall, results indicate that, alongside macrosocial group membership and identity, we need also look to individuals’ cognitive profile as predictors of their participation in language change.

November 22, 2019

Nathan and several undergraduates in the Arts & Science News

Nathan Sanders (faculty) and some of his students are in the Arts & Science newsletter this week talking about Nathan's well-received Language and Social Justice seminar from this semester.

November 21, 2019

Guest speaker: Christine Shea (University of Iowa)

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese is pleased to host an invited talk by Christine Shea, an applied linguist from the University of Iowa who works on phonetic and phonological aspects of L2 learning. Her presentation, "Activation across three lexicons", will be held on Friday, November 29, at 2:00 PM in the Regents Room at the Goldring Centre (GSC 206).

A fundamental challenge of communicating in more than one language is that the speech signal often calls for different interpretations, depending on which language is being spoken. When multilingual listeners hear words in one of their languages, multiple candidates are activated across all their languages. Sublexically, however, differences do exist and can serve to inhibit unwanted activation if they are perceived by the listener. A well-studied example of such sublexical differences is VOT across languages such as Portuguese and Spanish, compared to English. English has long-lag VOT while Spanish and Portuguese have short-lag VOT for the same phonological categories. Another sublexical difference is vowel nasalization. In Portuguese, vowel nasalization can be phonological while in Spanish and English, it is allophonic. Sublexical ambiguities of this type pose an interesting question for multilingual speech processing. Specifically, what happens when a trilingual (e.g., Spanish-Portuguese- English) listener hears input that is ambiguous between two of her languages? Does ambiguous input activate language-specific lexical representations? To answer these questions, we recruited L1 Spanish and L1 Brazilian Portuguese trilingual participants (English was either L2 or L3) living in Uruguay and Brazil.

We first determined how listeners identify the multilingual stimuli by means of a categorization task. Subsequently, we determined how listeners classify the same input as belonging to specific languages. Stimuli were bisyllabic nonwords of the form [Ce(N).Ca]. The initial consonant was drawn from a [b-p] voicing continuum (-40ms to 40ms, 10ms intervals) and spliced onto one of three vowels: full nasal vowel (contrastive in Portuguese), nasalized vowel (allophonic in English, Spanish and Portuguese) or oral vowel from each language. For example, the nonword [bẽmpa] with -30 VOT included the nasal vowel and negative VOT characteristic of Portuguese while the nonword [phepa], included VOT of at least 30ms, which phonetically corresponds to English. Participants then completed an auditory form priming task in which they heard the nonword syllables (prime), followed by a real-word (target) from English, Spanish or Portuguese and had to identify the language of the target.

Preliminary analysis shows that for phonetically ambiguous primes, RTs were longer and accuracy rates lower compared to non-ambiguous primes. We discuss the relevance of these results for self-organizing models of language selection in multilingual lexical activation.

November 20, 2019

Research Groups: Friday, November 22

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM in SS 560A
Language Variation and Change Research Group
Lisa Schlegl (Ph.D.):  "Place identity and variation in Northern Ontario".

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM in SS 560A
Syntax Group
Thesis proposal of Kaz Bamba (Ph.D.): "Subjects and discourse: Japanese sentence-final particles and their person restrictions."

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM in SS 560A
Semantics Group
Jessica Yeung (Ph.D.): "Processing events in Cantonese: Aspect without aspect marking."

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM in 69 Wetmore Hall
Fieldwork Group
Gloria Mellesmoen (MA 2016, now at the University of British Columbia): "The grammar of reduplication in Salish."
My survey of existing description and documentation of reduplication across all 23 Salish languages is complemented by original fieldwork on the phonology and semantics of Comox-Sliammon, a Central Salish language traditionally spoken in the Sliammon, Klahoose, Homalco, and Comox communities. It is estimated to have approximately 47 fluent speakers (FPCC 2018). Watanabe (1994a; 1994b; 2003) presents the most thorough description of the Comox-Sliammon reduplicative inventory to date, though it has also been documented in Harris (1981), Hagége (1981), and Blake (2000). Watanabe (2003) identifies 11 types of reduplication, some of which can be reanalyzed as a combination of affixes. I will outline the reanalysis that I am pursuing in my dissertation and I will argue there are four main patterns in Comox-Sliammon (as in Salish as a whole): C1C2, C1, C2, and V1.

November 19, 2019

Derek at York University this week

Derek Denis (faculty) is giving a talk as part of the Linguistics Lecture Series at York University: "Enregisterment, resistance, and the spread of linguistic alterity in the most multicultural city in the world". This will be taking place on Wednesday, November 20, from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM, in Ross South 552. A reception will follow in the department lounge. Everyone is welcome.

In 1988, Kotsinas spoke of the 'great migration' to Sweden that resulted in one tenth of children in Swedish schools being born outside the country. Linguists have documented that this great migration has resulted in the development of a multiethnolect: a variety of a language spoken (typically) by immigrant adolescents who themselves are native speakers of a diversity of languages. Features of these can be traced to the multilingual context of their emergence. Such multiethnolects have been documented in major European metropolises: Stockholm, Berlin, Oslo, London, Paris, and Amsterdam. While at the time a 10% immigration rate may have seemed like a great deal, today every other Torontonian was born outside of Canada and/or speaks a language other than English. In the most multicultural city in the world, we can ask: is there a Toronto multiethnolect? In this talk, I describe what I call Multicultural Toronto English (MTE) which I understand to be a multiethnolect. In particular, I focus on the enregisterment and diffusion of features of MTE, paying particular attention to the source of features: the vast majority of enregistered words are borrowings from Jamaican Patwah (e.g., wasteyute, bare, ahlie) or Somali (wallahi, bucktee) (languages of two of Toronto’s Black diaspora communities). However, their use has diffused beyond speakers of those languages. Through qualitative content analysis of media and online discourse and through a formal language attitudes questionnaire, I have observed a diversity of attitudes about the use of these borrowings by Torontonians, especially those not of Afro-Caribbean descent. On the one hand, there are strong reservations about the appropriation (and in some cases derision) of loanwords from Black communities. On the other hand, some express pride in the transcultural nature of the English spoken by young people. I grapple with this tension and the prevalent racial and linguistic ideologies that underlie it.

November 17, 2019

Elaine on the Lingoblog

Elaine Gold (faculty) has contributed an extensive post to the communal Lingoblog on the foundation of the Canadian Language Museum, a project to which Elaine has been tirelessly devoted (and for which she has been very deservedly recognized) since 2011.

November 13, 2019

Derek in JSTOR Daily

Derek Denis (faculty) is one of several linguists interviewed in an article for JSTOR Daily on the subject of how linguists are using

November 11, 2019

Research Groups: Week of November 11-15

Wednesday, November 13, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM in SS2116
Morphology Reading Group
Gavin Bembridge (York University) leading a discussion of his paper: "Negative incorporation as polarity conditioned stem allomorphy."

Friday, November 15, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM in SS560A
Psycholinguistics Group
Jie Ren (postdoc, Department of Psychology): "Feature specification in toddlers' and adults' lexical representations: A study of developmental continuity."

Friday, November 15, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM in SS560A
Phonology Group
Thesis proposal of Heather Yawney (Ph.D): "Velars and uvulars in Kazakh."

Friday, November 15, 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM in SS 560A
Fieldwork Group
Nadia Takhtaganova (MA): "Allons enfants de la patrie ! Minority language documentation and revitalisation in metropolitan France."

November 10, 2019

Congratulations, Barend and colleagues!

Congratulations to Ella Rabinovich (postdoc, Department of Computer Science), Julia Watson (BA 2018), Barend Beekhuizen (faculty), and Suzanne Stevenson (faculty, Department of Computer Science)! At the 23rd Conference on Computational Natural Language Learning (CoNLL), held on November 3 and 4 in Hong Kong, their presentation - "Say anything: Automatic semantic infelicity detection in L2 English indefinite pronouns" - won the conference's award for Best Paper for Research Inspired by Human Language Learning. Well done, all!

November 8, 2019

Indigenous language materials at the Fisher Rare Book Library

On Friday, November 15 from 3 PM through 5 PM, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is holding an open house on the Indigenous language documents and resources that it has available for use in research!

November 7, 2019

Fall Convocation 2019

Our department held receptions on Tuesday, November 5, and Wednesday, November 6, celebrating the convocations of our latest Ph.D. and MA graduates!

Seven alumni, along with family members and/or partners, celebrated receiving their Ph.D. diplomas: Joanna Chociej, Julianne Doner, Dan Milway, Patrick Murphy, Na-Young Ryu, Becky Tollan, and Tomohiro Yokoyama.

And our new MA alumni from 2019 are: Lauren Bigelow, Liam Donohue, Jida Jaffan, Caitlyn Martinuzzi, Ekaterina Prigaro, Xiaochuan Qin, Sadaf Rahmanian, Matthew Riopelle, and Philippe Thompson.

We are so proud of you all!

Special thanks to Jennifer McCallum (staff) for her considerable efforts in preparing the receptions despite a noticeably above-average number of problems acquiring pre-ordered cakes.

November 4, 2019

Urban and Rural Language Research: Variation, Identity, and Innovation

In conjunction with colleagues at the University of Graz, Austria, our departmental sociolinguists are holding a small workshop at Trinity College this weekend on dialects inside and outside urban areas. Note: if you are interested in attending any of the talks, please email Sali.

U of T sociolinguists presenting are as follows.

Jack Chambers (faculty) is giving one of the keynote talks:
"Discontinuities in the dialect continuum."

Derek Denis (faculty) is giving another of the keynote talks:
"Enregisterment, resistance, and the spread of linguistic alterity in the most multicultural city in the world."

Marisa Brook (faculty) and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty):
"City rels, country rels: Prestige and the urban-rural divide in Ontario."

Karlien Franco (postdoc) and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty):
"Lexicalization in grammatical change? The simple past/present perfect alternation in Canadian English."

Katharina Pabst (Ph.D.) and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty):
"'I think (that) you have to have a certain confidence': The influence of urban professional life on complementizer that."

Lauren Bigelow (Ph.D.):
"Neo-hosers up north: Locally constructed meaning and FACE and GOAT ungliding in rural Ontario."

Michael Iannozzi (BA 2014, now at the University of Western Ontario):
"A road diverged on a farm: Diverging identites from a shared beginning."

Katharina Pabst (Ph.D.) and Lisa Schlegl (Ph.D.) are both serving on a panel: 'The social and psychological challenges of fieldwork'.

November 2, 2019

Mo-MOT 4

The fourth workshop on Morphology in the Montréal/Ottawa/Toronto Area (Mo-MOT) is taking place at Queen's University on November 8 and 9. Several current graduate students are presenting:

Liam Donohue (Ph.D.):
"Making perfect sense: The morphosemantics of Georgian present perfects."

Andrew Peters (Ph.D.):
"Accusative in Mongolian and Dependent Case Theory."

Jean-François Juneau (Ph.D.) is part of a talk with Gavin Bembridge (York University):
"Root alternations for discourse effects in Japanese: A challenge for locality?"

Recent faculty member Nicholas LaCara is also giving a presentation:
"Synthetic compounding in Distributed Morphology with phrasal movement."

November 1, 2019

Sali and Katharina in Arts & Science News

Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) and Katharina Pabst (Ph.D.) are featured in the Arts & Science newsletter with a look into their research on linguistic lifespan change in 30 continuous years of a Toronto woman's diary entries.

October 31, 2019

Halloween wug cookies!

(Photo by Mia Sara Misic.)

Happy Halloween, linguists! Laura Davidson (a graduate student in Speech-Language Pathology) and Mia Sara Misic (MA 2018, now also in Speech-Language Pathology) baked a whole bunch of mummy-wug and Frankenstein-wug cookies - plus some chocolate pops - for the bake-sale in the Sidney Smith lobby earlier this afternoon.

The proceeds went to Hear2Speak, a charity established by Speech-Language Pathology students and faculty at the U of T. Hear2Speak aims to improve the quality and accessibility of speech-language and hearing services around the world. The Halloween bake-sale is specifically supporting underserved clinics in Pakistan with resources and various assessment tools.

Laura and Mia and wug cookies all getting into the holiday spirit. (Photo by Marisa Brook.)

October 30, 2019

NELS 50: alumni extravaganza!

This year's meeting of the North East Linguistics Society (NELS) - the 50th so far - took place at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from October 25 through 27. Not only were our alumni all over the program, a bunch of them even banded together to get a photograph of people with U of T connections!

Julie Goncharov (Ph.D. 2015, now at the University of Tromsø) and Lavi Wolf (Ben Gurion University of the Negev):
"The role of time in double NPI constructions with epistemic accessibility relations."

Will Oxford (Ph.D. 2014, now at the University of Manitoba):
"It’s all in the probe: Variation in inverse marking and its implications for probe structure."

Will also had a poster with Yadong Xu (University of Manitoba):
"One probe to Agree with them all: Kickapoo portmanteau agreement is syntactic."

Fulang Chen (MA 2017, now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology):
"Split partitivity in Mandarin: A diagnostic for argument-gap dependencies."

Shay Hucklebridge (MA 2016, now at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst):
"Quantified nouns in Tłı̨chǫ Yatıı̀ relative clauses."

Michelle Yuan (MA 2013, now at the University of California, San Diego):
"Deriving variation in ergativity across Eskimo-Aleut."

Nicholas Rolle (MA 2010, now at Princeton University) was part of a talk with Emily Clem (University of California, San Diego) and Virginia Dawson (University of California, Berkeley):
"Post-syntactic altruism."

Rachel Walker (MA 1993, now at the University of Southern California):
"Gradient feature activity in Korean place assimilation."

Maayan Abenina-Adar (BA 2012, now at the University of California, Los Angeles):
"Ever free-relative clauses and Maximize Presupposition."

Bronwyn M. Bjorkman (former postdoc, now at Queen's University) presented a poster:
"Reduplication without segments: Verb doubling as a prosodic repair."

U of T alumni! Front: Bronwyn, Michelle, and Fulang. Back: Will, Maayan, Shay, Neil Banerjee (BA 2016, now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and Filipe Hisao Kobayashi (who has an MA from the U of T Department of Spanish and Portuguese, now also at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Photo courtesy of Bronwyn.

October 29, 2019

Congratulations, Paul and Piper!

Congratulations to Paul Poirier (MA) and his athletic partner Piper Gilles on their spectacular first-place finish in ice dancing at Skate Canada on Saturday the 26th! A video can be found at the link.

October 28, 2019

Report from Welcome Workshop 11

On Friday, October 25, the LGCU held its 11th annual Welcome Workshop, a casual and amiable way for new graduate students to introduce themselves and their research thus far to each other and to other departmental members. The afternoon was lively and followed by a reception in the department lounge. Well done to all the organizers and presenters! Thanks to Tim Gadanidis (Ph.D.) for the photos.

Greg Antono (MA): "Pluractionality in Macuxi: A first look."

Sadaf Kalami (MA): "The structure of DP in Ardalani Kurdish."

Gabrielle Dumais (MA): "Gender-neutral speech in Canadian French: How are non-binary identities expressed in a gendered language?"

Nadia Takhtaganova (MA): "Devoir devrait devoir: Epistemic modality in French."

Lauren Bigelow (Ph.D.): "Neo-hosers up north: Locally constructed meaning and FACE and GOAT ungliding in rural Ontario."

Kaleigh Woolford (Ph.D.): "'They just say, oh, you're a Geordie': The development of just in Tyneside English."

Zhanao Fu (Ph.D.): "Decay of memory traces for pitch."

Shabri Kapoor (Ph.D.): "Language contact in Canada: Restructuring of ditransitive constructions in Heritage Hindi."

Time to celebrate!

October 27, 2019

Research Groups: Friday, November 1

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Language Variation and Change Research Group
Pocholo Umbal (Ph.D.): "Adjective intensifiers in heritage and homeland Tagalog."
Tim Gadanidis (Ph.D.): "Perceiving um and uh across registers."

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Syntax Group
Andrew Peters (Ph.D.) presenting on accusative subjects in Mongolian.

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Semantics Research Group
Ilia Nicoll (Ph.D.) leading a discussion of: Partee, Barbara H., and Vladimir Borschev (2012). Sortal, relational, and functional interpretations of nouns and Russian container constructions. Journal of Semantics, 29(4), 445-486.

October 26, 2019

Elan at COLMEX

Elan Dresher (faculty) was an invited speaker at the launch of a new Spanish translation and critical edition by Esther Herrera Zendeyas and Michael Herbert Knapp of N. S. Trubetzkoy's Grundzüge der Phonologie (1939) at El Colegio de México (COLMEX) on October 15, 2019. The event was attended by 150 people! The following day, Elan gave a talk: 'Foundations of Contrastive Hierarchy Theory' for COLMEX’s Centro de Estudios Lingüísticos y Literarios (CELL). (Photos courtesy of Elan.)

Elan (second from left) among the invited speakers.

A well-attended event!

October 25, 2019

Happy many birthdays!

Around the table, left to right: Ph.D. students Radu Craioveanu, Fiona Wilson,
Jessica Yeung, Lex Konnelly, and Robert Prazeres (photo by Marisa Brook).

Our department has a statistically improbable number of people born in October. On Friday, October 18, in order to celebrate, ardent baker Emily Blamire (Ph.D.) brought along a vegan pumpkin cake and we had a birthday party for a whole bunch of us.

October 24, 2019


The seventh Annual Meeting on Phonology (AMP) was held from October 11 through 13 at Stony Brook University.

Maida Percival (Ph.D.) and Alexei Kochetov (faculty) were part of a talk with Laura Spinu (City University of New York):
"An articulatory perspective on the secondary palatalization contrast in Romanian postalveolar fricatives."

Nicholas Rolle (MA 2010, now at Princeton University) and Princeton colleague Florian Lionnet presented a poster:
"Phantom structure: A representational account of floating tone association."

October 23, 2019

Guest speaker: Amanda Edmonds (Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3)

The Department of French and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese are very pleased to be co-hosting a talk by Amanda Edmonds, a faculty member in the department of English-language studies from l'Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3: "Grammatical gender marking in additional-language French and Spanish before, during and after a stay abroad." This will be taking place on Monday, October 28, at 2 PM, in 231 Northrup Frye Hall.

According to many authors, acquiring the ability to express grammatical gender in an additional language (AL) is often "notoriously difficult" (Lyster, 2006, p. 71, with respect to French), particularly for speakers whose native language does not instantiate grammatical gender (Costa et al. 2003). This morphosyntactic phenomenon has moreover attracted the attention of numerous researchers in the field of second language acquisition, who have identified various linguistic and extralinguistic factors thought to influence the expression of gender. However, these previous studies have largely focused on one or a small number of these factors, leaving open the question of if and how they interact with one another to explain gender-marking behavior. Moreover, the bulk of previous research on gender marking in an AL has taken a cross-sectional approach; given the often non-linear nature of development and variation among individuals, taking a long view on the development of gender expression has the potential to provide new insights into the “longitudinal pace and pattern of development” (Ortega and Byrnes, 2008, p. 3). In this talk, I will report on collaborative research (conducted with Aarnes Gudmestad) in which we have built on insights from previous research in order to analyze the longitudinal development of gender-marking behavior in AL French and in AL Spanish with respect to a wide range of potentially influential factors. Both analyses were carried out on the longitudinal LANGSNAP corpus (Mitchell, Tracy-Ventura, and McManus, 2017). This publicly available corpus contains data from British learners of Spanish (n= 27) and French (n= 29) who were followed over a period of 21 months, including an academic year spent in a target language community. Oral and written data were collected from these participants six times; in the context of the current project, data from three of the six data-collection periods have been analyzed in order to identify all instances of either a determiner or an adjective modifying a referent. In total, more than 16,000 tokens in AL Spanish and 14,000 tokens in AL French were coded for a wide set of factors identified in previous research as influencing gender-marking behavior. Generalized linear mixed models were carried out on the datasets from the two languages in order to identify which linguistic and extralinguistic factors worked in concert to significantly predict target-like use of gender marking. In addition, for each significant effect, a possible interaction with time was explored in order to identify how the learners' gender-marking system may change over the course of 21 months. Taken together, the results from these two analyses contribute to our understanding of gender-marking expression by characterizing the complex interplay among predictive factors and how this interplay changes over time.

October 22, 2019

LGCU Welcome Workshop 11

The LGCU's Welcome Workshop, an informal and friendly event held annually in the autumn to help introduce new graduate students to each other and each other's research, is now in its 11th year! This time around, it will be held in the afternoon of Friday, October 25, with the introductory remarks at 1 PM. Note that the meeting of the Fieldwork Group normally scheduled for this time has been cancelled to allow the workshop to be held in SS560A. The presenters - all beginning graduate programs in our department this year - are as follows:

Greg Antono (MA):
"Pluractionality in Macuxi: A first look."

Sadaf Kalami (MA):
"The structure of DP in Ardalani Kurdish."

Gabrielle Dumais (MA):
"Gender-neutral speech in Canadian French: How are non-binary identities expressed in a gendered language?"

Nadia Takhtaganova (MA):
"Devoir devrait devoir: Epistemic modality in French."

Lauren Bigelow (Ph.D.):
"Neo-hosers up north: Locally constructed meaning and FACE and GOAT ungliding in rural Ontario."

Kaleigh Woolford (Ph.D.):
"'They just say, oh, you're a Geordie': The development of just in Tyneside English."

Zhanao Fu (Ph.D.):
"Decay of memory traces for pitch."

Shabri Kapoor (Ph.D.):
"Language contact in Canada: Restructuring of ditransitive constructions in Heritage Hindi."

A reception will follow in the department lounge. Kudos to the organizers: Koorosh Ariyaee (Ph.D.), Tim Gadanidis (Ph.D.), Bruno de Oliveira Andreotti (Ph.D.), and Lisa Schlegl (Ph.D.).

October 21, 2019

Hispanic Linguistics Symposium 2019

The Hispanic Linguistics Symposium 2019 is taking place at the University of Texas at El Paso, from October 24 through 26. Among the organizers is Natalia Mazzaro (Ph.D. 2011, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, now at the University of Texas at El Paso).

Laura Colantoni (faculty) is giving a plenary talk:
"Coarticulation and language acquisition."

Cristina Cuervo (faculty) and Ana-Teresa Pérez-Leroux (faculty) are presenting:
"Restricted prepositions in the nominal domain."

October 20, 2019

Research Groups: Week of October 21-25

Note: this week's meeting of the Fieldwork Group is cancelled; also, the Syntax Group will be meeting next week, not this week.

Wednesday, October 23, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM in SS2116
Morphology Reading Group
Liam Donohue (Ph.D.): "Morphosemantics of Georgian present perfects."

Friday, October 25, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM in SS560A
Psycholinguistics Group
Guest talk by Elizabeth Spelke (Harvard University).

Friday, October 25, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM in SS560A
Phonology Group

October 19, 2019

51st Algonquian Conference

The 51st Algonquian Conference is taking place at McGill University from October 24 through 27.

Fiona Wilson (Ph.D.) is presenting "Negative particles in Muskeg Cree: A variationist approach."

Katherine Schmirler (MA 2015, now at the University of Alberta) is presenting "Negation in a Plains Cree corpus." She is also a part of two joint talks. One, with Antti Arppe (University of Alberta), is "Plains Cree actors and goals: Across time periods and genres." The other, with Antti as well as Eddie Antonio Santos (University of Alberta), Atticus Harrigan (University of Alberta), and Arok Wolvengrey (First Nations University of Canada): "Towards a morphologically intelligent on-line dictionary of Plains."

October 18, 2019

Peter at Symposium Obdobja 38

Peter Jurgec (faculty) will shortly be off to the Symposium Obdobja 38 in Ljubljana, Slovenia, taking place from October 23 through 25. Based on extensive research that he and research assistants have been conducting, Peter will be presenting "Phonological studies of Slovenian dialects at the University of Toronto."

This paper summarizes the results of three recent phonological studies of Slovenian di­alects at the University of Toronto: compensatory lengthening in the speech of Šmartno, nasal harmony in Mostec, and palatalization consonant harmony in the Zadrečka Valley. We use new methods for acoustic and articulatory analysis (ultrasound and nasalance mask) to uncover previously misunderstood phenomena, which complement our know­ledge of possible variation in the world’s languages.

October 17, 2019

Linguistic events at Indigenous Education Week

For Indigenous Education Week at the University of Toronto (plus some overlap with the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages) there are several language-related events occurring next week on our campus.

The first is the imagineNATIVE Wiki Page Edit-A-Thon, related to Indigenous languages as represented in film. This event will be taking place on Tuesday, October 29, from 11 AM to 1 PM in Robarts 4033 (the Electronic Classroom), and will be led by Jamie Lee Morin (staff, University of Toronto Libraries), the Indigenous Metadata Initiatives (TALint) Intern. Note that attendance is free but that registration is required to guarantee a spot at a computer.

Then there are two talks on Wednesday, October 30. The first is by Khelsilem Rivers (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Council), on Indigenous language rights; this will be held from 1 PM to 2:30 PM in the Main Activity Hall of the Multi-Faith Centre. The second is by Bonnie Jane Maracle (faculty), on language revitalization, from 6 PM to 8 PM in room 360 of the Myhal Centre.

October 16, 2019

Report from NWAV 48

A (decidedly non-comprehensive) set of NWAV 48 folks with links to either the U of T or York! Back: Miriam Neuhausen (former visiting scholar, now at Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg), Lex Konnelly (Ph.D.), Katharina Pabst (Ph.D.), Lisa Schlegl (Ph.D.), Naomi Nagy (faculty), and Ruth Maddeaux (Ph.D.). Front: Marisa Brook (faculty), Pocholo Umbal (Ph.D.), Tim Gadanidis (Ph.D.), Robert Prazeres (Ph.D.), Lauren Bigelow (Ph.D.), and Greg Guy (formerly at York University, now at New York University).

New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV) 48 took place at the University of Oregon from October 10th through 12th. We had four faculty, one postdoc, several alumni, and an impressive eight Ph.D. students on the program. Thanks to Pocholo Umbal (Ph.D.) for all the awesome photos!

One of this year's plenary speakers was Alexandra D'Arcy (Ph.D. 2005, now at the University of Victoria), introduced by Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty).

The Lillian B. Stueber Prize, a new award recognizing "the best student paper that treats variation in languages that have been missing from or are less frequently represented at NWAV", went to Ph.D. student Robert Prazeres, for "Profiling nominal genitive variability in Moroccan Arabic". Congratulations, Robert!

Panayiotis Pappas (Simon Fraser University), Robert, and Naomi.

Tim, Lauren, Lisa, and Pocholo present their talk on Multicultural Toronto English with Derek Denis (faculty).

Lex Konnelly (Ph.D.) and their poster on the linguistic features of craft-beer talk.

Katharina's talk on yod-dropping (or not?) in Toronto.

Miriam reporting on the fieldwork she conducted last year on English in Ontario Mennonite communities.

Pocholo's poster on what Canadians of Filipino descent are doing with respect to sound changes.

October 15, 2019

Sali and Derek in Maclean's

Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) and Derek Denis (faculty) are are in Maclean's magazine this week talking about federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh and his ability to code-switch/style-shift on the political stage.

October 14, 2019

Research Groups: Friday, October 18

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Language Variation and Change Research Group
Group discussion on methodology anchored on: Angouri, Jo (2010). Quantitative, qualitative or both? Combining methods in linguistic research. In Lia Litosseliti (ed.), Research methods in linguistics, 29-45. London: Continuum International.

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Phonology Research Group
Presentation by Koorosh Ariyaee (Ph.D.).

1:00 PM - 2:30 PM
Semantics Research Group
Liam Donohue (Ph.D.): "Morphosemantics of Georgian present perfects."

October 13, 2019

2019 Undergrad Tea

We held our annual Undergrad Tea on Thursday, September 26, from 4 through 6 PM. Thanks to Deem Waham (staff) for her organizational efforts and for the photos!

Alexei Kochetov (faculty) and Nathan Sanders (faculty) with the new SLUGS executives!

October 12, 2019

21st Inuit Studies Conference

The 21st Inuit Studies Conference took place at the Université du Québec à Montréal from October 3 through 6, with Richard Compton (Ph.D. 2012, now at l'Université du Québec à Montréal) at the helm of the organising committee. Two current department members made presentations about Inuit linguistics:

Alana Johns (faculty): "Inuttut kautâmat ukauset, Inuttitut everyday words: New app!"

Julien Carrier (Ph.D.): "Century of changes."

October 11, 2019

Congratulations, Matt!

Congratulations to Matt Hunt Gardner (Ph.D. 2017, now at St. Mary's University), who has accepted a two-year postdoc position at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium, on the project 'Variation is difficult, uniformity is easy - or is it? Complexity and choice in language production', under the direction of Benedikt Szmrecsanyi. All the best, Matt, on this new European adventure!

October 10, 2019


New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV) 48 is taking place at the University of Oregon from October 10 through 12. Current and former department sociolinguists are all over the program!

Karlien Franco (postdoc) and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty):
"What’s going on here anyway(s)? A sociolinguistic perspective on specialization."

Katharina Pabst (Ph.D.) and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty):
"I/Ø fed the squirrels: The impact of cognitive decline on subject omission in one individual's diaries over the lifespan (1985-2016)."

Naomi Nagy (faculty) with Miriam Meyerhoff (University of Auckland):
"The role of standards in the field of variation."

Lauren Bigelow (Ph.D.), Tim Gadanidis (Ph.D.), Lisa Schlegl (Ph.D.), Pocholo Umbal (Ph.D.), and Derek Denis (faculty):
"Why are wasteyutes a ting?"

Lauren Bigelow (Ph.D.):
"Neo-hosers up north: Locally constructed meaning and FACE and GOAT ungliding in rural Ontario."

Ruth Maddeaux (Ph.D.):
"Individual cognitive differences as predictors of participation in sound change."

Katharina Pabst (Ph.D.):
"Is [nuz] really the new [njuz]? Yod dropping in Toronto English."

Robert Prazeres (Ph.D.):
"Profiling nominal genitive variability in Moroccan Arabic."

Patrick Murphy (Ph.D. 2019) and Phil Monahan (faculty) have a poster:
"Cross-dialectal perception of Canadian Raising."

Lex Konnelly (Ph.D.) has a poster:
"Brutoglossia: Democracy, authenticity, and the enregisterment of connoisseurship in 'craft beer talk'."

Lisa Schlegl (Ph.D.) has a poster:
"That's what we do in the North: Place identity and variation in Northern Ontario."

Pocholo Umbal (Ph.D.) has a poster:
"Filipinos front too! A sociophonetic analysis of Toronto English /u/-fronting."

Alexandra D'Arcy (Ph.D. 2005, now at the University of Victoria) is giving one of the plenary talks: "Language history, language synchrony, and kids these days."

Former visiting scholar Miriam Neuhausen (Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg) will be reporting on her data collection from last year: "To raise or not to raise in Pennsylvania German English in Canada."

Former postdoc Heather Burnett (Centre nationale de la recherche scientifique) is part of a talk with Andrea Beltrama (University of Pennsylvania) and Stephanie Solt (Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft): "How pragmatic precision affects social perception: A socio-pragmatic study."

October 9, 2019

Report from SPIPS

Peter Jurgec (faculty) and Radu Craioveanu (Ph.D.) were recently in Tromsø, Norway, for the Segmental Processes in Interaction with Prosodic Structure (SPIPS) workshop held on September 19 and 20. Thanks to Peter for sharing this photo!

Radu and Peter in front of the Tromsø Cathedral after the conference dinner.

October 8, 2019

New rooms!

Following the rapid construction last week, we now have two glass-walled rooms in the library area. Kudos to the staff and the faculty nearby who endured the noise and dust!

To honour two beloved late members of the faculty who were instrumental in the development of our department, we have named the new room at the end of the library by the east-facing windows the Ed Burstynsky Room, and the one closer to the office the Hank Rogers Room.

Please note that the walls do not extend all the way up to the ceiling and so neither of these spaces is soundproof. Please be careful about sensitive information and about sound levels.

Both rooms can be booked via the departmental Google Calendar, or through Jennifer if need be. Graduate/emeritus faculty who do not have their own private offices in our department have priority (and exclusive use of these rooms on Fridays), followed by course instructors who need space to meet with students.

October 7, 2019

Research Groups: Week of October 7-11

Wednesday, October 9, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM in SS2116
Morphology Reading Group
Sahar Taghipour (Ph.D.) reporting on the progress of her experiment investigating multiple suffixation in English.

Friday, October 11, 2019, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM in SS560A
Psycholinguistics Group
Emily Blamire (Ph.D.)'s thesis proposal: "Guess who: Linguistic and social factors of voice recognition."

Friday, October 11, 2019, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM in SS560A
Syntax Group
Songül Gündoğdu (postdoc): "Complex predicates in Northern Kurdish revisited."

Friday, October 11, 2019, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM in SS560A
Fieldwork Group
Paper discussion led by Virgilio Partida Peñalva (Ph.D.): Bird, Sonya (2018). Designing mobile applications for endangered languages. In K. L. Rehg and L. Campbell (eds.), The Oxford handbook of endangered languages, 841–861. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

October 6, 2019

Freaky Friday

Did someone tell Marisa Brook (faculty) and Sadaf Kalami (MA) to try to dress as similarly as possible on Friday the 4th? Nope, but Gabrielle Dumais (MA) pointed out that it sure looked like it!

October 5, 2019

Derek in the U of T Magazine

Derek Denis (faculty) is in the University of Toronto Magazine this week talking about the emergence of Multicultural Toronto English in suburban communities where immigrants from a variety of backgrounds have all raised a generation of young people together.

October 4, 2019


The 9th Conference on Indigenous Languages of Latin America (CILLA 9) is taking place at the University of Texas at Austin from October 10 through 12. Suzi Lima (faculty) is giving one of the keynote speeches: "A typology of the count/mass distinction in Brazilian languages."

October 2, 2019

Construction zone

Renovations are currently occurring in our library area outside the main office. For the short term, please excuse the disruption. For the long term, please watch out for brand-new walls and doors.

October 1, 2019

Ex-APP 2019

LeAnn Brown (Ph.D. 2015, now at Aix-Marseille Université) and Naomi Nagy (faculty) reunited in Münster, Germany at the 4th Conference on Experimental Approaches to Perception and Production of Language Variation (Ex-APP 2019), which took place from September 26 through 28.

LeAnn and Aix-Marseille Université colleagues Aron Arnold, Maria Candea, Oriana Reid-Collins, and James German presented "'Gender: it's complex': Including non-binary gender identities in experimental linguistic research."

Naomi, along with Michol Hoffman (York University), Ronald Beline Mendes (University of São Paulo), and James Walker (LaTrobe University) presented "How do ethnolects mark ethnic identity? An experimental approach."

They also enjoyed walking and biking around beautiful Münster!

Photo by Naomi.

Photo by Nancy Niedzielski (Rice University).

Photo by Nancy Niedzielski (Rice University).

September 30, 2019

Research Groups: Friday, October 4

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

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

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