April 15, 2018

Grading and lasagne

Naomi, Lex and Julien celebrated the end of a long grading day with a lasagne feast.

April 10, 2018

Linguistic Perspectives on Variation: Toronto-Buffalo Workshop (2018)

On Friday, April 6th, 2018, the first annual Buffalo-Toronto Workshop on Linguistic Perspectives on Variation was held at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Presentations from our department:

Variation and change in reduplication and repetition in Ontario dialects — Sali Tagliamonte (faculty) & Katharina Pabst (PhD)

A socio-indexical feature in Heritage Italian: VOT in Toronto — Naomi Nagy (faculty), Rosalba Nodari (Scuola Normale Superiore) & Chiara Celata (Scuola Normale Superiore)

Height or hide? Partial contrast, dialect exposure, and the perception of Canadian Raising  — Patrick Murphy (PhD) & Philip Monahan (faculty)

Evidence of intradialect variation in Scottish English  — Fiona Wilson (PhD)

Accented stops? L1-based variation in L2 English stop production  — Jessamyn Schertz (faculty)

Group Photo (LtoR): Derry Moore (Buffalo), Patrick Murphy (Toronto), Randi Moore (Buffalo), Katharina Pabst (Toronto), Sali Tagliamonte (Toronto), Christian DiCanio (Buffalo), Jessamyn Schertz (Toronto), Thomas St. Pierre (Buffalo), Naomi Nagy (Toronto), Jeff Good (Buffalo), Fiona Wilson (Buffalo), David Fertig (Buffalo)

Katharina Pabst and Sali Tagliamonte

Naomi Nagy

Fiona Wilson

Jessamyn Schertz

April 9, 2018

New book: Nominal Contact in Michif

Carrie Gillon (MA 1999, now at Quick Brown Fox Consulting) and Nicole Rosen (PhD 2007, now at University of Manitoba) have a new book: Nominal Contact in Michif. From the OUP website, the book:

  • Offers a detailed formal description of the structure of Michif with extensive examples
  • Accessible to linguists from all theoretical and descriptive backgrounds
  • Explores the validity of 'mixed language' as a category
  • Proposes a new classification of Michif as an Algonquian language with French contact influence

April 2, 2018

New book: Direct Objects and Language Acquisition

Congratulations to Ana-Teresa Pérez-Leroux (Faculty, Dept. of Linguistics, Department of Spanish and Portuguese), Mihaela Pirvulescu (Faculty, Dept. of Language Studies UTM, Graduate Department of French), and Yves Roberge (Faculty, Dept. of French, Graduate Dept of Linguistics) on the publication of their book: "Direct Objects and Language Acquisition" with Cambridge University Press.

You can take a peek at the exciting contents inside at the following site:


March 23, 2018

How Fox Saved the People: Tlicho folktale turned video game

Nicholas Welch (faculty), Shay Hucklebridge (MA 2016, now at UMass Amherst), and Luke West (MA 2015, now at UCLA) were recently featured in a CBC article about a language-learning video game they created around a Tlicho folktale, "How Fox Saved the People". Check out the article here!

March 22, 2018

Keren Rice on donating

Arts & Science is currently running a series on their faculty and staff giving campaign, talking with employees of the university who donate. Keren Rice (faculty) was profiled on her donations to scholarship funds in honour of retiring colleagues (link here). Quote:
Why do I give? For many reasons. You see a gap, and you hope that if you do something to fill it, it won’t stay a gap.
Over the past few years I’ve made several donations to scholarship funds in honour of retiring colleagues. In a small department like Linguistics, every single faculty member makes a difference for every single student, and you want to be able to remember the contributions they have made. Each time a student gets a named award, it makes them stop and think about who that person is, what kinds of important contributions they have made.
Last year we set up a new undergraduate award in honour of our colleague Elaine Gold, who had just retired and become the Director of the Canadian Language Museum. When I wrote the student to tell him he’d gotten the award, he was just so flattered to be recognized. It’s not a lot of money, but it made him feel like his hard work had been noticed.
As a faculty member, I donate to scholarships at U of T because I am at a stage in my life when I have the means to do so and am thinking about what kinds of things I want to support. Honouring my colleagues and helping our students are definitely worthwhile causes.

March 21, 2018

Angelika Kiss featured in U of T Bulletin article on family study space

Angelika Kiss (Ph.D.) and her son Mark (9-and-a-half months old) have been featured by The Bulletin in an article on a new family study space at Robarts Library: "Robarts Library opens family study space for parents and kids".

“It's important to have a safe and secure space that allows parents to engage in their academic pursuits while also caring for their children,” says Larry Alford, the university's chief librarian.
Angelika Kiss, a PhD student in linguistics, says the new space will come in handy.
She usually studies at home where she can watch her energetic 9-month-old Mark.
It isn't long before Mark loses interest in his picture-books and demands his mom's attention. “I would love it if I could just read a few pages of an article with Mark being awake because that's sometimes impossible. He's so active,” Kiss says.
A special room for parents who want to use the library would make it much less tricky to do research with a toddler in tow, she says.

March 20, 2018

Undergraduate Research Forum

The Undergraduate Research Forum took place in the Great Hall at Hart House on March 14. Linguistics undergrads were well-represented by 3 research posters:
  1. Anna Pechkina, supervised by Naomi Nagy, “Heritage Russian Case Variability", a Summer 2017 ROP299 project.
  2. Rachel Evangeline Chiong, Andrea Macanovic, supervised by Peter Jurgec, “Long-distance palaltalization in Zadrečka Valley Slovenia", a Summer 2017 LIN398 project.
  3. Charlotte Fiegenbaum, Ariel Gomes, Morgan Marden, Olivia McManus, Si Yuan Jeffrey Wang, supervised by Sali Tagliamonte, “Catching language change: A Trans-Atlantic perspective on really reat intensifiers", a Winter 2018 ICM Project.
Students interested in these sorts of opportunities should check out: http://www.artsci.utoronto.ca/current/focus/research

Andrea Macanovic and her poster (along with Rachel Evangeline Chiong, Peter Weiss of ZRC SAZU, and Peter Jurgec)

March 19, 2018

Bettina Spreng: tenure-track appointment, University of Saskatchewan

Bettina Spreng (PhD 2012) has just signed a contract for a tenure-track appointment as Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Saskatchewan. Her current position with Linguistics and Religious Studies (also at Saskatchewan) lasts until June. Congrats, Bettina!

(LtoR): Alana Johns (supervisor), Bettina Spreng, Diane Massam, and Elizabeth Cowper

March 16, 2018

Sali Tagliamonte at South by Southwest

Sali Tagliamonte (faculty) was at South by Southwest (a music/film/etc. festival) in Austin, Texas this week. She participated in a panel on language and the Internet titled “Doggos, Bork, BAE: the New World Language”. It was one of the few events at the festival focused on language. The moderator was Neha Bansal and the participants were: Nick Farmer, Subramanyeswar S, and Sali Tagliamonte.

(LtoR) Subramanyeswar S, Neha Bansal, Sali Tagliamonte, Nick Farmer.

March 15, 2018

Safieh Moghaddam hired as Assistant Professor at UTSC

Safieh (Safi) Moghaddam (Ph.D. 2016) will be joining the Centre for French and Linguistics, University of Toronto, Scarborough, in the position of Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in Linguistics. Congratulations, Safi!

Here is Safi at her doctoral convocation in November, 2016, with her advisor, Diane Massam.

March 8, 2018

Linguistics in the community: Grade 8 school project on constructed languages

Shortly after arriving in Toronto in July, Professor Nathan Sanders began mentoring local student, Ben Kramer, for his Grade 8 project at the Halton Waldorf School in Burlington.  Every student in the grade selects a major project for the year and seeks out a mentor to help guide them.  For his project, Ben designed his own constructed language, Gəfedbemar, and wrote up a grammar, which includes an abjad orthography, rules for building words and sentences, a glossary of hundreds of words, and sample translations.  The finale to the project was a well-delivered and well-received public presentation on March 7th, in which Ben spoke in Gəfedbemar and described the process of building the language.  Signed copies of his grammar were very popular with the crowd!


February 21, 2018

4th Workshop on Slovenian Phonology

On Tuesday, March 6, our department will host the 4th Workshop on Slovenian Phonology. Linguistics undergraduate students will present their research projects on Slovenian (supervised by faculty member Peter Jurgec). To help us plan, please, register at https://goo.gl/forms/7AqCjkbCXPlf75z03 before Sunday, March 4, noon. The registration is free; pizza will be provided for lunch. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2018
O.I.S.E. OI 2286

9:45 Coffee & Cookies

10:00 Reilley Marston: Centralized vowels in Resian
10:30 Wenxuan Chen: Vowel harmony in Slovenian
11:15 Fernanda Lara Peralta and Hanna Smolyanitsky: Nasal harmony in Mostec and beyond

12:15 Lunch Break

1.45 Anissa Baird and Richard Gan: Mapping Slovenian (Demos)
2:15 Rachel Evangeline Chiong and Andrea Macanović: Palatalization consonant harmony in Zadrečka Valley
3:15 Fernanda Lara Peralta & Jeffrey Wang: PhonoApps: Computational and learning tools for phonologists (Demo)
3:45 Nicole Breakey, Juan Murillo Vargas, Shankhalika Srikanth, and Sharon Tung: Binomials in Slovenian

4:15 Discussion & Conclusion

February 17, 2018

Heather Burnett's new book: Gradability in Natural Language

Congratulations to Heather Burnett, who was formerly a post-doc in our department, on the publication of her book Gradability in Natural Language! Click here for the book website.

This book presents a new theory of the relationship between vagueness, context-sensitivity, gradability, and scale structure in natural language. Heather Burnett argues that it is possible to distinguish between particular subclasses of adjectival predicates--relative adjectives like tall, total adjectives like dry, partial adjectives like wet, and non-scalar adjectives like hexagonal--on the basis of how their criteria of application vary depending on the context; how they display the characteristic properties of vague language; and what the properties of their associated orders are. It has been known for a long time that there exist empirical connections between context-sensitivity, vagueness, and scale structure; however, a formal system that expresses these connections had yet to be developed.
This volume sets out a new logical system, called DelTCS, that brings together insights from the Delineation Semantics framework and from the Tolerant, Classical, Strict non-classical framework, to arrive at a full theory of gradability and scale structure in the adjectival domain. The analysis is further extended to examine vagueness and gradability associated with particular classes of determiner phrases, showing that the correspondences that exist between the major adjectival scale structure classes and subclasses of determiner phrases can also be captured within the DelTCS system.

February 16, 2018

Suyeon Yun to Ewha Womans University in Seoul

Congratulations and farewell to Suyeon Yun (Postdoctoral Fellow, UTSC), who is leaving for Korea to take up a faculty position at the Department of English Education at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.

February 15, 2018

Phil Howson in Phonetica

Phil Howson (Ph.D.) has recently had his paper "Rhotics and Palatalization: An Acoustic Examination of Upper and Lower Sorbian" published in the journal Phonetica. The work is from his first generals paper. He traveled to Germany, with the help of the Germany/Europe Fund, and collected data at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and the Sorbian Institute.

In the paper he examines the acoustics of rhotics in Upper and Lower Sorbian (related Slavic languages spoken in eastern Germany) to better understand the resistance of rhotics to palatalization, and the acoustic cues of rhotics as a class. You can find the paper here.

Congrats, Phil!

February 13, 2018

TULCON 2018

The 11th annual Toronto Undergraduate Linguistics Conference (TULCON) is being held on March 10-11 (Saturday and Sunday) 2018. It is now the longest-running undergraduate linguistics conference in North America!

Saturday 10 March 2018
Sidney Smith Hall SS2125, University of Toronto
9:30 Breakfast and Registration
10:00 Opening Keynote: Nathan Sanders, University of Toronto
Articulatory and Perceptual Patterns in Sign Language Lexicons
11:00 Break
11:15 Maya Keshav, McGill University
North American Regional Variation in Uptalk
11:45 Christina McDermott, Rachel Thomas, Thalia Cruzat, University of California Berkeley
Examining Style-Shifting in Speakers of Boston English
12:15 Catered Lunch
13:15 Victoria Svaikovsky, McGill University
The Americanization of Québécois L2 English
13:45 Claudia Valdivia, University of California Berkeley
Effect of Speaker on the Nonword Repetition Task in Monolingual and Bilingual Children and
Adults

14:15 Hayley Ostrega, McGill University
The Effects of Crosslinguistic Influence in the Acquisition of Morphosyntax in SLI Children
14:45 Break
15:15 Poster Session
Sidney Smith Hall Linguistics Lounge, 4th Floor
Courtney Dalton, Bryn Mawr College
Merging Morphemes: The Focus Marker and Copula in Kikamba
Jesse Hancock-Teed, University of Toronto
Language Movements and Reconciliation: The Impacts of Final Agreements
Aimee Padillo, University of Toronto
Do I Have an Accent? Effects of First Language on Canadian English

Sunday 11 March 2018
9:30 Breakfast
10:00 William Merrill, Yale University
Sense Abstraction: A Generalization of Intensionality for the Semantics of Subordinate Clauses
10:30 Akshayraj Aitha, University of California Berkeley
Telugu Complex DPs: A Novel Analysis
11:00 Break
11:15 Catherine Wang, University of Southern California
Fact or Opinion: Interpreting Subjective Adjectives in News Discourse
11:45 Insiya Bhalloo, University of Toronto
Investigating the Influence of Phonological Memory on the Word Recognition Abilities of Arabic Readers vs. Native Speakers
12:15 Catered Lunch
13:15 Janessa Tam, University of Toronto
Processing Digraphic Text (Cantonese-English) in Social Media Settings
13:45 Closing Keynote: Lex Konnelly, University of Toronto
The Stylistic Use of Creaky Voice in Non-Binary Transition Vlogs

February 3, 2018

Philip Monahan in the Annual Review of Linguistics

Philip Monahan (faculty) has recently published an article in the Annual Review of Linguistics (Volume 4, 2018, pp 21-47) called "Phonological Knowledge and Speech Comprehension". He talks about the role of phonological distinctive features in perception and predictive processing, with evidence from psycholinguistic and neurolinguistic research. Click here to read the article!

February 2, 2018

International Journal of the Sociology of Language: Special Issue on Francoprovençal

The International Journal of the Sociology of Language has recently released a special issue on Francoprovençal (Volume 2018, Issue 249, Jan 2018), a Gallo-Romance language primarily spoken around where France, Switzerland, and Italy meet. The issue was edited by Naomi Nagy (faculty) and Jonathan Kasstan. Two particular papers of interest:

"An overview of Francoprovençal vitality in Europe and North America" by Alessia Zulato (Illinois), Jonathan Kasstan (Queen Mary University of London), and Naomi Nagy.

"Faetar null subjects: a variationist study of a heritage language in contact" by Naomi Nagy, Michael Iannozzi (BA 2014, now at Western), and David Heap (PhD from UofT French Linguistics, now at Western).

Click here to access the issue.

January 31, 2018

Diane Massam in Berlin for a Workshop on Multi Verb Constructions

Diane Massam (Professor Emeritus) was invited to speak on Niuean complex predicates at a Workshop on Multi Verb Constructions in December 2017, organized by the Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft and the Research Unit on experimental syntax and heritage languages (Humboldt University, Berlin). These pictures show the (rather intimidating!) conference venue at Humboldt University, and the great Christmas Market atmosphere of Berlin in December.