August 31, 2017

LVC memes

In case you missed it, this Drake meme was floating around linguistics circles on Facebook. (Caption: "Reading about dialectology is better than reading fiction :P".)

August 28, 2017

Andrei Munteanu, Dresher award winner, presenting at CRC

Andrei Munteanu (MA), winner of the 2016-17 Dresher Phonology Prize for outstanding work in a graduate phonology course, presented his winning work at the 2017 CRC-Sponsored Summer Phonetics/Phonology Workshop on August 15th: "Co-occurrence restrictions in English: A corpus study". Here's a picture of his talk:

August 23, 2017

Brazilian Indigenous languages research excursion program

(See the course blog here for pictures and updates:

This summer, Suzi Lima (faculty in Spanish & Portuguese, as well as Linguistics) has been teaching a course called "Brazilian Indigenous Languages: documentation, language maintenance and revitalization" in the Spanish & Portuguese department. The first four classes were held at UofT, and the final six classes (starting August 18th) are being held in Brazil, where the students are receiving hands-on training for language documentation projects and collaborative research.

I'd highly recommend checking out the blog link above (or click here); Suzi and her students and colleagues are doing a great job of documenting their progress in Brazil with pictures and updates.

If you're interested in research on Brazilian Indigenous languages but weren't able to join the class and go on this research excursion, check out the Brazilian Indigenous Language research group ( at UofT.

August 22, 2017

Solar eclipse nerds

Toronto was in the path of the August 2017 eclipse (a partial eclipse for us, at more than 70% coverage of the sun), and a contingent of linguists went outside of Sid Smith to (safely) see it.

(L-to-R): Derek Denis (faculty), Nathan Sanders (faculty), Dan Milway (PhD), Michela Ippolito (faculty), Jennifer McCallum (graduate administrator), Zoe McKenzie (PhD), Savannah Meslin (MA), Luke Zhou (MA), Clarissa Forbes (PhD), Robert Prazeres (PhD)

August 19, 2017

Distinctive featured linguists

From the CRC-Sponsored Summer Phonetics/Phonology Workshop. (Credit: Naomi Nagy)

August 18, 2017

Association of French Language Studies conference Blue Jays outing

UofT linguistics profs Alexei Kochetov, Jeff Steele and Naomi Nagy attended the Association of French Language Studies conference outing to the Blue Jays-Yankees game on Aug. 10, following 3 full days of interesting talks about French in a wide range of contexts.

August 17, 2017

New volume on ergativity, edited by Diane Massam and colleagues

The Oxford Handbook of Ergativity was recently published. This volume, which was edited by Diane Massam (faculty) alongside colleagues Jessica Coon and Lisa deMena Travis at McGill, includes almost fifty articles on ergativity (from theoretical approaches to case studies to experimental work). Congratulations on this Diane, I know how much work and coordination has gone into this!

Authors featured in this volume include Julie Anne Legate (MA 1997, now at University of Pennsylvania), Alana Johns (faculty, co-authoring with Ivona Kucerova at McMaster), Richard Compton (PhD 2012, now at Université du Québec à Montréal), and Tyler Peterson (visiting assistant professor 2012-2013, now at University of Auckland). Click here for more information, or read the abstract below.

This volume offers theoretical and descriptive perspectives on the issues pertaining to ergativity, a grammatical patterning whereby direct objects are in some way treated like intransitive subjects, to the exclusion of transitive subjects. This pattern differs markedly from nominative/accusative marking whereby transitive and intransitive subjects are treated as one grammatical class, to the exclusion of direct objects. While ergativity is sometimes referred to as a typological characteristic of languages, research on the phenomenon has shown that languages do not fall clearly into one category or the other and that ergative characteristics are not consistent across languages.

Chapters in this volume look at approaches to ergativity within generative, typological, and functional paradigms, as well as approaches to the core morphosyntactic building blocks of an ergative construction; related constructions such as the anti-passive; related properties such as split ergativity and word order; and extensions and permutations of ergativity, including nominalizations and voice systems. The volume also includes results from experimental investigations of ergativity, a relatively new area of research. A wide variety of languages are represented, both in the theoretical chapters and in the 16 case studies that are more descriptive in nature, attesting to both the pervasiveness and diversity of ergative patterns.

August 16, 2017

2017 CRC-Sponsored Summer Phonetics/Phonology Workshop

The annual CRC-Sponsored Summer Phonetics/Phonology Workshop hosted by our department took place on Tuesday, August 15th. Here were the presentations:

Jessamyn Schertz (faculty): Listening differently to accented talkers: Use of acoustic and contextual cues in perception of native vs. non-native speech

Na-Young Ryu (PhD): Effects of cross-language acoustic similarity on non-native speakers’ perception of Korean vowels

Rachel Soo (incoming MA) and Philip J. Monahan (faculty): Phonemic perception and lexical access: Evidence for speech factor levels in Cantonese heritage speakers

Julian Bradfield (The University of Edinburgh): The Sound of a Spherical Cow

Karina Kung (BA UTSC), Luan (Jessie) Li (BA UTSC), Connie Ting (incoming MA), Jasmine Yeung (BA UTSC), and Yoonjung Kang (faculty): Compensating for speech rate variation in English stop perception

Rachel Evangeline Chiong (BA), Andrea Macanović (BA), and Peter Jurgec (faculty): Secondary palatalization in Zadrečka Valley Slovenian

Andrei Munteanu (MA): Co-occurrence restrictions in English: A corpus study

Paul Arsenault (PhD 2012, now at Tyndale University College) and Alexei Kochetov (faculty): Retroflex vowel harmony in Kalasha: A preliminary acoustic analysis

Wenxuan Chen (BA) and Peter Jurgec (faculty): Vowel harmony in Slovenian

Nathan Sanders (faculty): Some issues in the perceptual phonetics of sign language: Motion-in-depth and the horizontal-vertical illusion

Mercedeh Mohaghegh (PhD 2016) and Craig Chambers (UTM Psychology faculty): Perceptibility of the place of articulation in nasal and oral stops and recognition of assimilated words

Suyeon Yun (UTSC post-doc): Quantifying sonority contour

Katherine Sung (BA) and Alexei Kochetov (faculty): Allophonic variation in English coronal stops: An EPG corpus study

Deepam Patel (BA), Rosemary Webb (BA), and Peter Jurgec (faculty): The rise and fall of the palatal nasal glide in Slovenian

Suyeon Yun (UTSC post-doc) and Yoonjung Kang (faculty): Allophonic variation of the word-initial liquid in Korean dialects

August 15, 2017

Julie Doner in Probus (International Journal of Romance Linguistics)

Julie Doner (PhD) has had her article "Spanish stress and lexical accent across syntactic categories" published in the August 2017 volume of Probus, International Journal of Romance Linguistics. Congrats, Julie! The abstract is below, and a link to the article is here.

In this paper, I provide an analysis of Spanish stress with the following three characteristics: (a) both verbal and non-verbal stress are accounted for in a single, unified, system, (b) the three-syllable window for stress is accounted for in a principled way, and (c) the stress algorithm has no access to the morphosyntactic structure. I do this by extending Roca’s analysis of variable edge parameters for stress in Spanish non-verbs to verbs, and by arguing that morphemes which mark for only person, number, and gender (φ-features) are outside of the domain of stress because they are prosodic adjuncts.

August 14, 2017

Methods in Dialectology XVI (Tachikawa, Japan)

The Sixteenth International Conference on Methods in Dialectology (METHODS XVI) was held in Japan from August 7th to 11th (2017). Presentations from our department:

Jack Chambers (faculty), Erin Hall (Ph.D. student), Mary Aksim (M.A. 2016, now at the University of Ottawa): Dialect asymmetries in vowel perception

Katharina Pabst (Ph.D. student), Lex Konnelly (Ph.D. student), Melanie Röthlisberger (Ph.D. student at KU Leuven, former visiting student), and Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty): The individual vs. the community: Evidence from T,D deletion in Canadian English

Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty): Into the hinterlands: Probing urban to rural diffusion in intensifier variation (part of the workshop “Beyond the well-known: current foci and issues in research on intensification”)

Thanks to Katharina Pabst for the pictures!

Jack Chambers (faculty) and Dennis Preston (faculty at Oklahoma State University) giving a speech at the conference dinner

Katharina and Mel before their talk

Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) giving a talk about intensifiers in Northern Ontario

The U of T related contingent at Methods XVI

August 1, 2017

Dog Days VI Syntax Workshop

The 6th annual Dog Days Summer Workshop on syntax, morphology, and semantics is taking place on Wednesday, August 9th (2017) in SS560A, starting at 9am. It is being presented with the generous support of Susana Béjar, Elizabeth Cowper, Diane Massam, Alana Johns, and Keren Rice and the University of Toronto Linguistics Department. Here are the speakers:

Julianne Doner (Ph.D.): Overtness and the EPP

Bronwyn Byorkman (Queen’s, formerly UofT post-doc), Elizabeth Cowper (faculty), Daniel Currie Hall (Ph.D. 2007, now at Saint Mary's), and Andrew Peters (Ph.D.): Person and deixis in Heiltsuk pronouns

Neil Banerjee (BA 2016, now at MIT): Something not aspectual in Southern Nambiquara

Virgilio Partida Peñalva (Ph.D.): Split-S in Otomí

Gavin Bembridge (York): Verbal Class and Lexical Diacritics

Alana Johns (faculty): An Agreement/Case Mismatch?

Heather Yawney (Ph.D.): Suspended Affixation within the Inflectional Domain of Turkish Verbs

Monica Irimia (Ph.D. 2011, now at University of Modena and Reggio Emilia) and Tova Rapoport (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev): Agreements: Secondary Predication Integration

Bridget Copley (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Paris 8): More have causatives

Bronwyn Bjorkman (Queen’s University, formerly UofT post-doc): Who can they be?

Kenji Oda (Ph.D. 2012, now at Syracuse University): First/last name asymmetry in Japanese proper names

Julie Goncharov (Ph.D. 2016, now at Hebrew University of Jerusalem): Relativization in the Grammar

Will Oxford (Ph.D. 2014, now at University of Manitoba): Consequences of Caselessness