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).