October 20, 2019

Research Groups: Week of October 21-25

Note that the Syntax Group is 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

Friday, October 25, 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM in SS560A
Fieldwork 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), Poco 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 Poco 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 Poco 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.

Poco'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 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.

September 29, 2019

New paper: Moulton (2019)

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

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

September 28, 2019

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

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

September 25, 2019

Beginning-of-semester party

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

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

September 24, 2019

Research Groups: Week of September 23-27

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

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

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

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

September 23, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 21, 2019

Bonnie, Suzi, and Greg in The Varsity

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

September 20, 2019

Segmental Processes in Interaction with Prosodic Structure

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

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

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

September 19, 2019

Canadian Language Museum exhibit opening

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

September 18, 2019

Guest speaker: Ur Shlonsky (University of Geneva)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 17, 2019

Research Groups: Friday, September 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 16, 2019

Goodbyes and hellos for 2019-20

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

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

September 10, 2019

Research Groups: Friday, September 13

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

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

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

September 5, 2019

Visiting Scholar: Arvind Iyengar (University of New England)

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

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

September 4, 2019

New Sounds 2019

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

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

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

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

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

September 1, 2019

Sali in the Huffington Post

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

August 30, 2019

TWPL 41: Proceedings of MOT 2019

The 41st volume of Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics (TWPL 41) has now been released; it contains a range of papers from the Montréal-Ottawa-Toronto Workshop in Phonology/Phonetics (MOT 2019), which took place here in March, co-hosted by us and by York University. Many thanks to those whose articles appear in this volume, to incoming editor Pocholo Umbal (Ph.D.), and - especially - to outgoing editor Ruth Maddeaux (Ph.D.), whose prodigious efforts have underlain the TWPL revival since 2015-2016. Well done, all!

August 29, 2019


UK Language Variation and Change (UKLVC) 12 is taking place in London, England, from September 3 through 5, co-hosted by Queen Mary University of London and University College London.

Naomi Nagy (faculty), Timothy Gadanidis (Ph.D.), and Joyce Woo (BA) are presenting:
"Covariation in heritage Cantonese in Toronto."

Former postdoc Heather Burnett (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) is part of a presentation with Andrea Beltrama (University of Paris 7-Diderot) and Stephanie Solt (Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Berlin):
"The effect of precision and context on social perception."

Former visiting scholar Claire Childs (University of York):
"Ripping open the envelope of variation: Stative have (got) and auxiliary-/negative-contraction in British English."

August 28, 2019

Congratulations, Patrick!

Patrick Murphy defended his doctoral dissertation, "Listening to writers and riders: Partial contrast and the perception of Canadian raising," on Wednesday, August 28. On the committee were Phil Monahan (supervisor), J. K. Chambers, Jessamyn Schertz, Yoonjung Kang, Nathan Sanders, and external examiner Kathleen Currie Hall (University of British Columbia). Congratulations, Dr. Murphy!

August 22, 2019


Our Mississauga campus is hosting a workshop on Saturday, September 7: Building Synergies between Psychology, Language Studies, and Computer Science (PsyLinCS UTM), organised by Barend Beekhuizen (faculty), Craig Chambers (faculty), Emily Clare (Ph.D. 2018), Elizabeth Johnson (faculty), and Jessamyn Schertz (faculty).

The aim of this workshop is to showcase existing work and promote new collaborations in research at the intersection of the fields of Psychology, Linguistics, and Computer Science. Along with keynote talks, the workshop will include oral and poster presentations by workshop attendees.

The invited speakers are Suzanne Stevenson (faculty, Department of Computer Science) and Bob McMurray (University of Iowa). Note that attendance is free but anyone aiming to attend is asked to RSVP by the end of the day on Sunday the 25th.

August 16, 2019

Julie in Guatemala

Julie Doner (Ph.D. 2019) has just returned from the Guatemala Field Station run by the University of Maryland. With the four-week K'iche' Language School and Field Research Program, Julie and a number of colleagues completed two weeks of K'iche' language classes and two weeks of research.

Julie and her host family.

Julie and several of the other students in traditional Mayan clothes.

Julie giving a talk about her work (in Spanish!).

Doing elicitation.

August 11, 2019

Research Groups: Week of August 12-16

Wednesday, August 14, 11:00 AM - 1:00 PM in SS 560A
Syntax Group
Bridget Copley (Centre national de la recherche scientifique/Université Paris 8) presenting joint work with Heidi Harley (University of Arizona): "What would it take to tame the verbal Hydra?"
Like the mythological Hydra, prominent theories of the syntax-semantics interface in the verb phrase boast multiple verbal heads, either in parallel (Folli and Harley 2005a, 2005b), or in series (Ramchand 2008). In either case, the need for syntactic heads to select appropriate lexical roots requires that a considerable amount of information is duplicated between the lexicon and the syntax. In this paper we hypothesize a single unified verbal head for dynamic predicates, with the aim of reducing the selection problem to ordinary type-driven semantic composition. To construct the denotation of the unified verbal head, we adopt two recent ontological innovations to the theory of event structure: the use of degree arguments to represent change (Hay et al. 1999, Kennedy and McNally 1999, Kennedy and Levin 2008, Kennedy 2012) and the use of force arguments to represent energy (Copley and Harley 2015). For the single-head analysis to work for major predicate classes and basic modifiers, we find that the tweaks to compositional theory that are needed are relatively minor, and raise interesting questions about the relationship between roots and structures.

August 10, 2019

Report from ICPhS 2019

The International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2019) has just wrapped up in Melbourne, Australia. Thanks to Na-Young Ryu (Ph.D. 2019, now at Pennsylvania State University) for this photo of several U of T folks!

Connie Ting (MA 2018), Lisa Sullivan (Ph.D.), Yoonjung Kang (faculty), Na-Young Ryu (Ph.D. 2019, now at Pennsylvania State University), Kiranpreet Nara (Ph.D.), Alexei Kochetov (Ph.D.), and Kiranpreet's poster!

August 4, 2019

ICPhS 2019

This year's International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS 2019) is taking place in Melbourne, Australia, from August 5 through 9. Our current departmental members and alumni are very well-represented, and across a range of subfields that intersect with phonetics:

Alexei Kochetov (faculty), Laura Colantoni (faculty), Yoonjung Kang (faculty), and Jeffrey Steele (faculty):
"Linguopalatal contact differences between /n/ and /t/ across six languages."

Yoonjung Kang (faculty), Na-Young Ryu (Ph.D. 2019, now at Pennsylvania State University), and Suyeon Yun (former postdoc, now at Ewha Womans University):
"Contrastive hyperarticulation of vowels in two dialects of Korean."

Alexei Kochetov (faculty) and Kiranpreet Nara (Ph.D.), with colleague Matthew Faytak (University of California, Los Angeles):
"Manner differences in the Punjabi dental-retroflex contrast: An ultrasound study of time-series data."

Na-Young Ryu (Ph.D. 2019, now at Pennsylvania State University) and Yoonjung Kang (faculty):
"Web-based high variability phonetic training on L2 coda identification."

Alexei Kochetov (faculty), Paul Arsenault (Ph.D. 2012, now at Tyndale University College), and Jan Heegård Petersen (University of Copenhagen):
"A preliminary acoustic investigation of Kalasha retroflex (rhotic) vowels."

Alexei Kochetov (faculty) with Mayuki Matsui (University of Amsterdam):
"Laryngeal coarticulation in two types of devoicing: An electroglottographic study of Russian and English."

Alexei Kochetov (faculty) with Jason Shaw (Yale University) and Karthik Durvasula (Michigan State University):
"The temporal basis of complex segments."

Angelika Kiss (Ph.D.), with Roger Yu-Hsiang Lo (University of British Columbia) and Maxime Tulling (New York University):
"The prosodic properties of the Cantonese sentence-final particles aa1 and aa3 in rhetorical wh-questions."

Maida Percival (Ph.D.) has a poster:
"Contextual variation in the acoustics of Hul'q'umi'num' ejective stops."

Juli Cebrian (Ph.D. 2002, now at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona), with Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona colleagues Zhao Liu and Celia Gorba:
"Effects of learning an additional language on VOT perception."

Nicole Rosen (Ph.D. 2007, now at the University of Manitoba) with Sky Onosson (University of Victoria) and Lanlan Li (University of Manitoba):
"Ethnolinguistic differentiation and the Canadian Shift."

Nicole Rosen (Ph.D. 2007) with Jesse Stewart (University of Saskatchewan), Michele Pesch-Johnson (University of Manitoba) and Olivia Sammons (University of Alberta):
"VOT in Michif."

Phil Howson (Ph.D. 2018, now at the University of Oregon) with Melissa Redford (University of Oregon):
"Listener preference is for reduced determiners that anticipate the following noun."

Gloria Mellesmoen (MA 2016, now at the University of British Columbia) and Marianne Huijsmans (University of British Columbia):
"The relationship between pronunciation and orthography: Using acoustic analysis as a practical illustration of ʔayʔaǰuθəm (Comox-Sliammon) vowel quality."

Gloria Mellesmoen (MA 2016, now at the University of British Columbia) with Molly Babel (University of British Columbia):
"Perceptual adaptation to stereotyped accents in audio-visual speech."

July 28, 2019

SPF 2019

This year's Summer Phonology Forum will be taking place on Tuesday, July 30, from 11 AM through 4:30 PM, in SS 2106. The registration form is available here.

The organisational committee is Alessandro Jaker (postdoc), Peter Jurgec (faculty), Yoonjung Kang (faculty), Phil Monahan (faculty), Keren Rice (faculty), Nathan Sanders (faculty), and Jessamyn Schertz (faculty).

Lisa Sullivan (Ph.D.) is giving the B. Elan Dresher Phonology Prize Talk:
"Allomorphy and morphophonology: Where do we draw the line?"

Other speakers from our department are:

Koorosh Ariyaee (Ph.D.):
"Hiatus resolution strategies in Persian."

Heather Yawney (Ph.D.):
"The Kazakh velar and uvular distribution."

Lisa Sullivan (Ph.D.):
"The effects of cognitive processing style on the perceptual compensation of stop voicing for place of articulation."

Andrei Munteanu (Ph.D.):
"Emotional phonetics cues in the speech of chess grandmasters."

Ekaterina Prigaro (MA):
"Interaction of stress shift and palatalization in Russian nominal systems."

Gajathree Ananthathurai (BA), Laurestine Bradford (BA), Araz Derohan (BA), Siobhan
Galeazzi (BA), Khadija Jagani (BA) and Yoonjung Kang (Ph.D.):
"Sound symbolism of gender in personal names: Western Armenian and Kutchi."

Patricia A. Shaw (Ph.D. 1976, now at the University of British Columbia) with colleagues Emily Elfner (York University) and Nicoline Butler (York University):
"Guess who? Game-play, questions, and intonation in Kwak’wala."

July 27, 2019

Congratulations, Shayna!

We're delighted to have heard that Shayna Gardiner (Ph.D. 2017, now at Receptiviti) has accepted a position as a Natural Language Processing Engineer at Dialpad. Congratulations, Shayna, and all the best from us as you begin this well-deserved new job!

July 26, 2019

LSA Institute 2019

The four-week 2019 Linguistic Institute run by the Linguistic Society of America has just wrapped up at the University of California, Davis. Our department was involved in three ways.

Several of our students - Gregory Antono (BA), Rosalind Owen (BA), and Max Haohang Xi (BA) - were in attendance this year and navigated an intense month of classes, symposiums, social events, and networking.

One of the themes of this year's Institute recognized the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, and the associated Dene Languages Conference included presentations by Keren Rice (faculty) and Alessandro Jaker (postdoc).

We also had two current departmental members teaching. The other of this year's Institute themes was Linguistics in the Digital Era; in conjunction with this, Marisa Brook (faculty) and Emily Blamire (Ph.D.) teamed up to teach 'Topics in Sociolinguistics and Computer-Mediated Communication'.

Marisa and Emily explain the Internet, or at least the linguistic elements thereof. (Photo by Mark Richard Lauersdorf.)

July 25, 2019

Sali and Bridget in the Bulletin

Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) is interviewed in this week's U of T Bulletin about her new paper with Bridget Jankowski (Ph.D. 2013; staff) on dialectical patterns in Canadian English surrounding 'goodness', 'gosh', 'jeez', 'OMG', and other present-day English exclamations originating in ways of referring, strongly or euphemistically, to deities.

July 24, 2019

Congratulations, Na-Young!

Na-Young Ryu defended her doctoral dissertation, "Effects of web-based auditory training on the perception of Korean sounds by Mandarin learners of Korean," on Wednesday, July 24. On the committee were Yoonjung Kang (supervisor), Philip Monahan, Jessamyn Schertz, Anabela Rato, Nathan Sanders, and external examiner Ocke-Schwen Bohn (Aarhus University). Congratulations, Dr. Ryu!

Na-Young is departing shortly to take up a position as an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Asian Studies at Pennsylvania State University. We'll miss you very much, Dr. Ryu, but we're also thrilled to get to send you off!

July 19, 2019

Congratulations, Joanna!

Keren, Nathan, Joanna, Peter, and Yoonjung. (Not pictured: Alexei and Maria.) (Photo by Jennifer McCallum.)

Joanna Chociej defended her doctoral dissertation, "Exceptional faithfulness and exceptional alternation: A case study of Polish vowel-zero alternations as deletion and epenthesis," on Friday, July 19. On the committee were Keren Rice (supervisor), Yoonjung Kang, Alexei Kochetov, Peter Jurgec, Nathan Sanders, and external examiner Maria Gouskova (New York University). Congratulations, Dr. Chociej!

July 18, 2019

Coordinated coral colleagues

July around the department is normally quiet, but this at least frees up some time for everyone - up to and including our hard-working department chair, Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) - to get some research done! Here, Sali and Katharina Pabst (Ph.D.) have a chance to work on the final revisions for a paper going into the Journal of English Linguistics - and discover an ability to be synchronized in more than one way!

July 17, 2019

2019 Cowper Syntax Prize and Dresher Phonology Prize

We are delighted to announce the winners of our annual graduate student term-paper awards: the Elizabeth Cowper Syntax Prize and the B. Elan Dresher Phonology Prize. These are awarded to the authors of outstanding papers in the graduate syntax and phonology courses offered over the past academic year.

Cowper Syntax Prize: Alec Kienzle (Ph.D.): "Agents, paths, and states in the Hebrew middle templates."

Dresher Phonology Prize: Lisa Sullivan (Ph.D.): "Allomorphy and morphophonology: Where do we draw the line?" and "An OT analysis of –(i)an demonym allomorph selection."

Congratulations to Alec and Lisa for their excellent work!

July 10, 2019

New paper: Nagy and Lo (2019)

Naomi Nagy (faculty) and Samuel Lo (BA) have a paper out in Asia-Pacific Language Variation, 5(1): "Classifier use in Heritage and Hong Kong Cantonese."

Heritage language speakers have frequently been reported to have language skills weaker than homeland (monolingual) speakers. For example, Wei and Lee (2001:359), a study of British-born Chinese-English bilingual children’s morphosyntactic patterns (including classifier use), report “evidence of delayed and stagnated L1 development.” However, many studies compare heritage speaker performance to a prescriptive standard rather than to spontaneous speech from homeland speakers. We compare spontaneous speech data from two generations of Heritage Cantonese speakers in Toronto, Canada, and from Homeland Cantonese speakers in Hong Kong. Both groups are similar in a strong preference for general and mass classifiers, and classifier choice being primarily governed by the noun’s number. We observe specialization of go3 to singular nouns, a grammaticalization process increasing with each generation. The similarity between homeland and heritage patterns replicates previous studies utilizing the same corpus.

July 2, 2019

Suzi Lima's REP course in Arts & Science News

Back in May, Suzi Lima (faculty) led a Research Opportunity Program course to Brazil with students Octavia Andrade-Dixon (BA), Greg Antono (BA), and Guilherme Teruya (BA). This week, their adventures are chronicled in the Arts & Science News.

July 1, 2019

2019 Dene Languages Conference

This year's Dene Languages Conference is taking place at the University of California, Davis, on July 6 and 7.

Keren Rice (faculty) is presenting "Phonological effects of contact between related languages: Tsiigehtshic Gwich'in and Fort Good Hope Dene."

Alessandro Jaker (postdoc) is presenting "A verb grammar of Tetsǫ́t’ıné Yatıé."

June 30, 2019

Research Groups: Week of July 1-5

Wednesday, July 3, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM in SS 560A
Syntax Group
Michael Barrie (Ph.D. 2006, now at Sogang University): "Reduced nominals: Syntax and prosody."
I explore the well-known idea that phases and prosodic domains coincide. Specifically, I look at noun incorporation and pseudo noun incorporation and show that the phonological word does not correspond to a syntactic head but to nP (in the sense of Match Theory). The notion that the phonological word corresponds to a head rests by and large on the fact that nP and vP are often evacuated leaving the n+N complex head the only element in nP. This gives rise to the appearance of the complex n+N head being the phonological word.

June 29, 2019

Sali in the U of T Magazine

Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) has been interviewed for the University of Toronto Magazine about the task of adding more Canadian words to the Oxford English Dictionary.

June 28, 2019

Arsalan on View to the U

Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty) has been interviewed on UTM's View to the U podcast this week about his research and the place of language in multiculturalism, both in Canada and around the world.

June 26, 2019

Sociolinguists in Marmora

Faculty member Sali A. Tagliamonte's Ontario Dialects Project has spent the past 17 years documenting and analysing the dialects of English found in this province. Nearly every summer, Sali takes a team of students (graduate and/or undergraduate) out to a select location to conduct a large number of sociolinguistic interviews with the locals. This year's expedition, in late May, was to the town of Marmora, located northeast of Peterborough and northwest of Belleville. Sali, along with graduate students Ilia Nicoll (Ph.D.) and Lauren Bigelow (MA), spent a week interviewing residents, going on local adventures, and singing Bob Dylan songs with quite a crowd! (Photos courtesy of Sali.)

Lauren and Ilia in Marmora.

Ilia discovers some local educational materials!

Playing music and singing with the locals!

June 25, 2019

Congratulations, Tomohiro!

Tomohiro Yokoyama defended his doctoral dissertation, "The person case constraint: Unconditional interfaces and faultless derivations," on Tuesday, June 25. The committee consisted of Susana Béjar (supervisor), Elizabeth Cowper, Guillaume Thomas, Arsalan Kahnemuyipour, Nicholas LaCara, and external examiner Omer Preminger (University of Maryland). Congratulations, Dr. Yokoyama!

June 24, 2019

Research Groups: Week of June 24-28

Wednesday, June 12, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM in SS 560A
Syntax Group
Clarissa Forbes (Ph.D. 2018, now at the University of Arizona): "The synchrony and diachrony of person-sensitive patterns in Tsimshianic."
The Tsimshianic languages of northern British Columbia share a number of syntactic properties, including verb-initial order and a complex ergative agreement pattern. In this paper, I illustrate that the languages of this small family exhibit alternations based on the person features of clausal arguments in two distinct ways: VSO/VOS word order alternations, and alternations in verbal agreement. I demonstrate that across the family these alternations occur independently, and argue that this motivates an account in which they are derived in different ways: either syntactically or post-syntactically. I present an analysis of restrictions on local persons in each branch, assuming a common clause structure, and demonstrate how distinct synchronic models generate the patterns of each branch. Finally I compare the two branches in a diachronic light, considering their Proto-Tsimshianic origin and possible paths of grammaticalization to the two subtly different patterns attested today.

June 21, 2019

Workshop on ELAN

Clarissa Forbes (Ph.D. 2018, now at the University of Arizona) will be holding a workshop on interlinear glossing in ELAN (5.3 or above), on Monday, June 24, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, in SS560A. This will be aimed at people who already use ELAN to annotate recordings, but everyone is welcome! Please bring a laptop with ELAN 5.3 or above installed on it, and ideally a sound file that has one to two lines of transcription.

June 20, 2019

New paper: Jankowski and Tagliamonte (2019)

Bridget L. Jankowski (Ph.D. 2013; staff) and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) have a new paper in English World-Wide, 40(2): "Supper or dinner? Sociolinguistic variation in the meals of the day."

The English words for daily meals constitute a complex lexical variable conditioned by social and linguistic factors. Comparative sociolinguistic analysis of 884 speakers from more than a dozen locations in Ontario, Canada reveals a synchronic system with social correlates that are reflexes of the British and American founder populations of the province. Toronto and Loyalist settlements in southern Ontario use the highest rates of dinner while northerners with European and Scots-Irish roots use supper. Dinner is taking over as the dominant form among younger speakers, exposing a cascade pattern (Trudgill 1972; Labov 2007) that is consistent with sociolinguistic typology (Trudgill 2011).

June 19, 2019

Congratulations, Alex!

We are thrilled to have learned that Alexandra Motut (Ph.D.) has been offered and accepted the role of Executive Director of the Rotman Commerce Centre for Professional Skills (CPS) Alex has held multiple leadership positions for the WIT (Writing Instruction for TAs) program over many years. More recently, as a Project Manager for CPS with an emphasis on Curriculum and Educational Development, her initiatives have been thoroughly successful and very justifiably celebrated.

Congratulations, Alex, on this wonderful and entirely well-earned new position. Rotman is fortunate indeed!

June 18, 2019

Congratulations, Julianne!

Alana, Diane, Julianne, Cristina, Susana, and Elizabeth. (Photo courtesy of Diane.)

Julianne Doner successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, "The EPP across languages," on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. The committee was made up of Diane Massam (supervisor), Susana Béjar, Cristina Cuervo, Elizabeth Cowper, Alana Johns, and external examiner Theresa Biberauer (University of Cambridge). Congratulations, Dr. Doner!

June 17, 2019

Elaine receiving the National Achievement Award from the CLA

Back at the beginning of May, Elaine Gold (faculty) was named the recipient of the 2019 National Achievement Award from the Canadian Linguistic Association. On June 2, she was given the award at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the CLA in Vancouver, British Columbia. This comes eight years after the 2011 Annual Meeting of the CLA in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where Elaine first proposed the idea of a language museum for Canada, and then went on to spearhead - with unbridled enthusiasm and resourcefulness - the effort to bring the Canadian Language Museum into being. Congratulations, Elaine, on this well-earned honour!

Elaine with past CLA president Wladyslaw Cichocki (Ph.D. 1986, now at the University of New Brunswick) and current CLA president Diane Massam (faculty). Photo by Päivi Koskinen (Ph.D. 1998, now at Kwantlen Polytechnic University).

June 16, 2019

RelNomComp Workshop

We are hosting a Relativ-/Nominal-/Complementation Workshop (RelNomComp) on June 19 and 20, co-organized with McGill University. It will be taking place from 9 AM through 5 PM each day in SS 3130, plus evening events. Among the stellar line-up of invited speakers from all over the world are a few of our own:

Keir Moulton (faculty) and Leslie Saxon (MA 1979, now at the University of Victoria), with colleagues Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten (University of Gothenburg) and Rosa Mantla (University of Victoria):
"Dene internally-headed relatives."

Keir Moulton (faculty), with colleagues Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten (University of Gothenburg) and Junko Shimoyama (McGill University):
"Nominalized attitude complements."

The workshop will also feature a short 'data dives' section examining some new results from recent work related to the workshop theme, including:

Marisa Brook (faculty) and Keir Moulton (faculty):
"Non-locative where-relatives."

Julien Carrier (Ph.D.):
"Nominalization in Inuktitut."

Lisa Schlegl (Ph.D.):
"Nominalization in Malay."

Note that while there is no registration fee for the conference, if you would like to attend, please fill out the RSVP form on the website.

June 15, 2019

Denis (2013) on Jeopardy!

Some of the work of Derek Denis (faculty) was featured in a Jeopardy! clue earlier this week.

(Photo provided by Thomas St. Pierre and Katharina Pabst.)

We acknowledge that there has been speculation in the past related an improbable number of connections between Jeopardy and the sociolinguists in our department. Note, however, that we continue to have no official comment on the matter.

June 14, 2019

Congratulations, Becky!

Elsi, Keir, Susana, Daphna, Becky, Diane, Lauren, and Craig. (Photo courtesy of Becky.)

Becky Tollan successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, "Cross-linguistic effects of subjecthood, case, and transitivity in syntax and sentence processing," on Thursday, June 13. The committee consisted of Daphna Heller (supervisor), Diane Massam, Craig Chambers, Lauren Clemens (State University of New York at Albany), Susana Béjar, Keir Moulton, and external examiner Elsi Kaiser (University of Southern California). Congratulations, Dr. Tollan!

Becky is stepping straight into a tenure-track job in syntax and psycholinguistics at the University of Delaware. They are very fortunate indeed! All the best, Dr. Tollan, and do keep in touch!

June 12, 2019

CVC 11

Change and Variation in Canada 11 is taking place at Memorial University of Newfoundland on June 14 and 15. A number of sociolinguists among current departmental members and alumni are presenting:

Emily Blamire (Ph.D.), Marisa Brook (faculty), and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty):
"Very surprising: A real time analysis of Toronto intensifiers from 2016 through 2019."

Lauren Bigelow (MA) and Derek Denis (faculty):
"Country GOAT, City GOAT."

Karlien Franco (postdoc) and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty):
"Interesting fellow or tough old bird? Third person singular male pronouns in Ontario."

Timothy Gadanidis (Ph.D.):
"The social meanings of um and uh."

Nicole Rosen (Ph.D. 2007, now at the University of Manitoba), with colleagues Jesse Stewart (University of Saskatchewan), Michele Pesch-Johnson (University of Manitoba), and Olivia Sammons (Carleton University):
"Michif VOT."

June 11, 2019

New paper: Tollan, Massam, and Heller (2019)

Becky Tollan (Ph.D.), Diane Massam (faculty), and Daphna Heller (faculty) have a new paper in Cognitive Science, 43(6): "Effects of case and transitivity on processing dependencies: Evidence from Niuean."

We investigate the processing of wh questions in Niuean, a VSO ergative-absolutive Polynesian language. We use visual‐world eye tracking to examine how preference for subject or object dependencies is affected (a) by case marking of the subject (ergative vs. absolutive) and object (absolutive vs. oblique), and (b) by the transitivity of the verb (whether the object is obligatory). We find that Niuean exhibits (a) an effect of case, whereby dependencies of arguments with absolutive case (whether subjects or objects) are preferred over dependencies of arguments with ergative or oblique case, and (b) an effect of transitivity, whereby dependencies of obligatory objects (i.e., of transitive verbs) are preferred over dependencies of optional objects (i.e., of intransitive verbs). These results constitute evidence against theories that appeal to a universal subject advantage, or to the linear distance between filler and gap. Instead, the effect of case is consistent with a frequency‐based account: Because absolutive case has a wider syntactic distribution than ergative or oblique, absolutive dependencies are easier to process. The effect of transitivity reflects sensitivity of the parser to whether or not an argument is obligatory. We propose that these two strategies could be unified if the parser prefers dependencies with arguments that are more likely to materialize.

June 10, 2019

Research Groups: Week of June 10-14

Wednesday, June 12, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM in SS 560A
Syntax Group
1. Alec Kienzle (Ph.D.): "Agents, paths, and states in the Hebrew middle templates."
2. Kenji Oda (Ph.D. 2012, now at Syracuse University): "Towards the non-predicate modification analysis of the expressive small clause in Japanese."

June 9, 2019

Guest speaker: Nicholas Rolle (Princeton University)

We are delighted to welcome back Nicholas Rolle (BA 2007, MA 2010), who after a Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, is now a postdoc at Princeton University. His research spans phonology, morphology, and syntax, not to mention a number of language families. He will be giving a talk, "Outward-looking phonologically-conditioned allomorphy in Cilungu grammatical tone", based on work with Lee Bickmore (State University of New York at Albany), on Wednesday, June 12, at 2:00 PM in SS 2111.

This paper examines 'outward-looking phonologically-conditioned allomorphy' (Carstairs 1987, Bobaljik 2000, Paster 2006) in Cilungu grammatical tone (Bantu: Zambia – Bickmore 2007, 2014). We argue that outwardly-located, non-H-toned subject markers condition allomorphy on three inwardly-located TAM designations: the Yesterday Past, the Recent Past, and the Perfect. The allomorphy manifests as differences in grammatical tone, e.g. the [Yesterday Past] by default is expressed in part by a high tone on the final mora of the word, but this grammatical tone is suspended based on the tonal specification of the subject marker which appears at the beginning of the word (a non-local effect, as intervening tones are transparent to this allomorphic relation). Bickmore (2007, 2014) shows that these allomorphic patterns are not due to the language’s general tonology, and emphasizes that the tone of the subject marker has no effect on other similar TAMs. We take these data to support a model in which exponence takes place simultaneously rather than inside-out (contra Bobaljik 2000, Embick 2010, 2015, a.o.), in line with a strictly modular view of the phonology interface (Scheer 2011), whereby syntactic primitives and phonological primitives never exist in the same representation.

June 8, 2019

Congratulations, Katharina!

We are thrilled to have learned that this year's winner of the Richard M. Hogg Prize from the International Society of the Linguistics of English is our own Katharina Pabst (Ph.D.), for her manuscript 'Is [nuz] really the new [njuz]? Yod dropping in Toronto English', based on her second Generals paper. Congratulations, Katharina, on this well-deserved honour!

June 7, 2019

DiGS 21 and workshop

The 21st Diachronic Generative Syntax Conference is taking place at Arizona State University from June 5 through 7.

One of the invited speakers is Will Oxford (Ph.D. 2014, now at the University of Manitoba):
"Probe respecification."

Julianne Doner (Ph.D.) is presenting:
"Two directions for change: Case studies in the loss of null subjects."

Ailís Cournane (Ph.D. 2015, now at New York University) with colleague Naomi Lee (New York University) are presenting:
"The journey, not the endstate: finding innovation in the dynamics of L1A."

An associated workshop took place on June 4: Comparative Approaches to the Diachronic Morpho-Syntax of the Indigenous Languages of North and Central America.

Alana Johns (faculty):
"Dialect variation and Brick Walls (Inuktitut)."

Julien Carrier (Ph.D.):
"Double agreement and morphosyntactic alignment shift in Inuktitut."

Clarissa Forbes (Ph.D. 2018, now at the University of Arizona):
"The synchrony and diachrony of person-sensitive patterns in Tsimshianic."

The U-of-T-connected crew! Julianne, Clarissa, Will, Alana, Julien, and Ailís.
(Thanks to Julianne for the photo and the links to the programs!)

June 6, 2019

THEY 2019

Our department is delighted to be among the sponsors of THEY, HIRSELF, EM, and YOU: Nonbinary Pronouns in Theory and Practice (THEY 2019), being held from June 11 through 13 at Queen's University.

For their book Gender: Your Guide (2018), faculty member Lee Airton of the Faculty of Education at Queen's interviewed two people linked to our department: current Ph.D. student Lex Konnelly, and former postdoc Bronwyn Bjorkman, both of whom have worked on singular they in present-day English. Now all three have combined forces to organize this conference on pronouns and genders outside historical European attempts at collapsing gender into a binary system based on sex assigned at birth. Lex is also giving one of the keynote talks: "Gender diversity and linguistic advocacy: Innovation in the use of singular they."

Please note that even if you are not able to travel to Kingston, you can register to participate remotely!

June 5, 2019

New paper: Jurgec (2019)

Peter Jurgec (faculty) has a new paper in Phonology, 36(2): "Opacity in Šmartno Slovenian."

Šmartno is a critically endangered dialect of Slovenian that exhibits three interacting processes: final devoicing, unstressed high vowel deletion and vowel–glide coalescence. Their interaction is opaque: final obstruents devoice, unless they become final due to vowel deletion; high vowels delete, but not when created by coalescence. These patterns constitute a synchronic chain shift that leads to two emergent contrasts: final obstruent voicing and vowel length (due to compensatory lengthening). The paper examines all nominal paradigms, and complements them with an acoustic analysis of vowel duration and obstruent voicing. This work presents one of the most thoroughly documented instances of counterfeeding opacity on environment.

June 4, 2019

Research Groups: Week of June 3-7

Note that there is no meeting of the Syntax Group this week.

Wednesday, June 5, 11:30 AM to 2 PM in SS2120
Language Variation and Change Group
Practise talks for CVC 11 in St. John's.

June 3, 2019

New paper: Denis and D'Arcy (2019)

Derek Denis (faculty) and Alexandra D'Arcy (Ph.D. 2005, now at the University of Victoria) have a new paper in American Speech, 94(2): "Deriving homogeneity in a settler-colonial variety of English."

Canadian English (CanE) is argued to present a textbook example of dialectological homogeneity. Its largely undifferentiated urban structure is attributed to source input, as a consequence of a shared founder effect. This outcome is predicted by the sociohistorical realities of settler colonialism but remains unexplored in diachronic perspective. The recent construction of large diachronic corpora of regional CanE varieties enables direct comparison in order to problematize longitudinal homogeneity and to probe the potency of founder effects over time. This article examines three features known to be undergoing longitudinal change and to be regionally variegated across dialects of English: deontic modality, stative possession, and general extenders. At the heart of the discussion is the nature of homogeneity in CanE. The authors conclude that although there is compelling support for longitudinal parallelism, the linguistic reality is somewhat nuanced: aspects of CanE homogeneity appear emergent rather than foundational and relative to linguistic variables rather than to the linguistic system as a whole.

June 2, 2019

New paper: Tagliamonte and Jankowski (2019)

Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) and Bridget L. Jankowski (Ph.D. 2013; staff) have a new paper in American Speech, 94(2): "Golly, gosh, and oh my God! What North American dialects can tell us about swear words."

This article presents a synchronic quantitative study of nearly 3,000 words and expressions referring to ‘God’ in Ontario, Canada. The results expose a number of striking social and linguistic patterns. Using apparent time as a proxy for historical change, we discover that G-words have undergone a remarkable shift across the twentieth century. Euphemisms, such as golly and gosh, are quickly moving out of favor, and the expressions with God, particularly oh my God, have usurped all other forms. Moreover, there are clear regional differences. Rural communities retain old-fashioned euphemisms, and there are notable social contrasts to their use: females favor gosh while males favor gee(z), and both are favored by less-educated speakers. Variants with God are not only predominant in the urban center, Toronto, they reflect known societal change in North America as a whole. Younger speakers in every community shift toward noneuphemistic practice beginning in the 1930s, increasing after World War II and accelerating again among people born after 1960. However, this shift is not simple lexical replacement. Where once individuals used God in collocations such as Praise God or Thank God, people born in the early 1960s onward are using God in one collocation in particular: oh my God (n = 611). A fascinating correlate is that, as with many changes, this is being led by higher-educated women who have white-collar jobs. These findings reflect not only a greater acceptance of the word God in contemporary society, but also egalitarian diffusion across the population, both geographically and socially.

June 1, 2019

Derek on CTV News

Derek Denis (faculty) was interviewed on CTV News yesterday evening about the pronunciation(s) of the name of our city depending on, for instance, how local the speaker is!

May 31, 2019

CLA/ACL 2019

The annual meeting of the Canadian Linguistic Association/Association canadienne de linguistique is taking place at the University of British Columbia from June 1 through 3.

Elaine Gold (faculty), the recipient of this year's National Achievement Award, will be giving a plenary talk as her acceptance speech: "How a posting on Linguist List changed my life."

Yves Roberge (faculty) will be contributing a few words to the session being held in memory of Michael Rochemont (University of British Columbia), who passed away in July 2018 at the age of 68.

Talks include those by:

Philip Monahan (faculty), Alejandro Pérez (postdoc), and Jessamyn Schertz (faculty):
"Abstract phonological features: EEG evidence from English voicing."

Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty) and Sahar Taghipour (Ph.D.):
"Hybrid alignment in Laki agreement and the special status of clitics."

B. Elan Dresher (faculty) and Iryna Osadcha (Ph.D. 2018):
"Mobile lexical parentheses in metrical grids."

Koorosh Ariyaee (Ph.D.):
"The need for indexed markedness constraints: Evidence from spoken Persian."

Kinza Mahoon (Ph.D):
"Nominal modification in Hindi-Urdu."

Virgilio Partida Peñalva (Ph.D.):
"Little-v agreement and Split-S in Mazahua."

Andrew Peters (Ph.D.):
"Mongolian converbs and the macro-event property."

Heather Stephens (Ph.D.):
"Yep, indeed: The certainty of polarity particles yep and nope."

Sahar Taghipour (Ph.D.):
"Definiteness in Laki: Its contributions to the DP structure."

Angelika Kiss (Ph.D.), with colleagues Roger Yu-Hsiang Lo (University of British Columbia) and Maxime Tulling (New York University)
"The prosody of Cantonese information-seeking and negative rhetorical wh-questions."

Mihaela Pirvulescu (faculty, Department of French) and Rena Helms-Park (faculty), with colleagues Virginia Hill (University of New Brunswick), Nadia Nacif (Ph.D., Department of French), and Maria Petrescu (Ryerson University):
"The acquisition of adverbs in trilingual children."

Gloria Mellesmoen (MA 2016, now at the University of British Columbia) and Marianne Huijsmans (University of British Columbia):
"Pluractionality in ʔayʔaǰuθəm."

Will Oxford (Ph.D. 2014, now at the University of Manitoba):
"The Algonquian inverse: Syntax or morphology?"

Avery Ozburn (MA 2014, now at the University of British Columbia):
"An analysis of ATR harmony in Alur."

David Heap (Ph.D. 1997, now at the University of Western Ontario) and Adriana Soto Corominas (University of Alberta):
"Recycling in Catalan clitic acquisition: Underspecification and frequency effects."

Jila Ghomeshi (Ph.D. 1996, now at the University of Manitoba) with Hanadi Azhari (Umm Al-Qura University):
"Emergent participles in Makkan Arabic."

Neil Banerjee (BA 2016, now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology):
"Inward sensitive allomorphy in Bengali negation."

And among the posters are:

Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty) and Andrew Peters (Ph.D.):
"Separating concord and Agree: The case of Zazaki Ezafe."

Nicholas LaCara (faculty):
"The timing of head movement: Evidence from predicate clefts."

Koorosh Ariyaee (Ph.D.) and Ali Salehi (Stony Brook University):
"Does Persian prefer Arabic to French and English?"

Kazuya Bamba (Ph.D.)
"Topic -wa vs. subject -ga: Sentence-final particles and their sensitivities."

Radu Craioveanu (Ph.D.)
"Asymmetries in aspiration."

Xiaochuan Qin (MA):
"Paths and place: Spatial adpositions in Mandarin Chinese."

Martha McGinnis (MA 1993, now at the University of Victoria):
"The Voice/v distinction is configurational: Evidence from Georgian causatives."

Naomi Francis (MA 2014, now at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology):
"Free choice any in imperatives."

Wladyslaw Cichocki (Ph.D. 1986, now at the University of New Brunswick):
"Variation in prosodic rhythm in regional varieties of New Brunswick French."

Rachel Soo (MA 2018, now at the University of British Columbia):
"Lazy consonant perception in Cantonese heritage and homeland speakers."

Anabela Rato (faculty, Department of Spanish and Portuguese) Owen Ward (Ph.D., Department of Spanish and Portuguese):
"Predicting difficulty in the perception of non-native consonants: The use of cross-linguistic perceptual similarity measures."