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 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


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

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.

January 30, 2018

Linguistic Variation (17:2): Register Variation and Syntactic Theory

A special issue of Linguistic Variation (17:2) has just been published, on Register Variation and Syntactic Theory, edited by Diane Massam (Professor Emeritus) and Tim Stowell (MA: 1977, now at UCLA). It includes an introduction by Tim and Diane, and a paper co-authored by Diane and two of our PhD students Kazuya Bamba and Patrick Murphy. The volume includes papers on the syntax used in special registers such as diaries, text messages, newspaper headlines, and recipes, across a range of languages. Diane, Kaz and Patrick’s paper is on null objects in recipes and in radical null argument languages.

January 29, 2018

‘A Newfoundland Treasury of Terms for Ice and Snow’ (Canadian Language Museum exhibit opening, Feb. 1st, 2018)

A message from Elaine Gold and the Canadian Language Museum:

You are all invited to attend the opening of the exhibit ‘A Newfoundland Treasury of Terms for Ice and Snow’ at the Canadian Language Museum’s gallery, in Glendon Gallery, Glendon College. This is an award-winning exhibit of photographs and videos by Newfoundland artist, Marlene Creates. U of T’s Linguistics band F-Zero will be playing Newfoundland tunes, Prof. Jack Chambers will speak about English in Newfoundland, the artist will Skype in from Fogo Island, and there will be some Newfoundland treats!

You can get here by TTC, but if you drive you’ll have to pay for parking in Lot A (see map below #4); you can park there, or drive around to Lot B (#5).  You can also park in the ravine (Lots #1, 2) (and pay there)  and hike back up!

Click here for the map.

January 21, 2018

Yu-Leng Lin to Feng Chia University (Taiwan)

Yu-Leng Lin (PhD 2016) has been offered a tenure-track Assistant Professorship in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature at Feng Chia University in Taiwan. She will start her new position in February. She has spent the past year as a post-doc in Hong Kong. Congratulations, Yu-Leng!

January 18, 2018

Jessica Denniss invited to contribute to a handbook on Australian languages

Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics (TWPL) recently published a special issue on Indigenous languages. The volume focused mainly on languages of Canada, but also included an article on languages of Australia – specifically, from the Pama-Nyungan and Tangic family – written by University of Toronto PhD student Jessica Denniss. As a result of this paper, Jessica has now been asked by Claire Bowern to contribute a chapter to a handbook on Australian languages. Congratulations to Jessica on this exciting achievement!

January 17, 2018

New Year 2018

A festive member of the department left some treats for our faculty and students coming back after the New Year:

December 4, 2017

Malagasy Workshop: December 11, 2017

On December 11, in the Linguistics lounge, there will be a Malagasy Workshop showcasing work from this year's Field Methods course. Also featured are two invited talks by Ileana Paul (Western University) and Lisa Travis (McGill). All are invited. See the program and registration below.



December 3, 2017

20th Bilingual Workshop on Theoretical Linguistics

The Bilingual Workshop on Theoretical Linguistics was held at New College, University of Toronto on November 24-25th, 2017, organized by Sophia Bello and Yves Roberge. It was the 20th BWTL (over 21 years), and it is fitting that it is here because the first BWTL was also held at University of Toronto. The program included speakers from U. of T., York, Western, and Wilfred Laurier. José Camacho (Rutgers University) gave a keynote presentation on proper names. The U. of T. speakers included Julianne Doner, Elan Dresher, Jean-François Juneau, Kinza Mahoon, and Andrew Peters. One speaker was unable to attend, so Diane Massam and Yves Roberge gave a last minute replacement talk. The conference followed its traditional format, with short talks and longer discussions. A great time was had by all!
Adriana Soto-Corominas, Scott James Perry & David Heap

Yves and Diane giving their last minute alternate talk

José Camacho giving his keynote talk

Photo credit: Sophia Bello, University of Toronto (French Linguistics)

November 29, 2017

Workshop on Approaches to Coercion and Polysemy 2017, University of Oslo

Patrick Murphy (PhD) presented his eye-tracking study of the Canadian English "I'm done my homework" construction at the Workshop on Approaches to Coercion and Polysemy (CoPo 2017), held at the University of Oslo (Nov. 20-21, 2017).

Royal Palace, Oslo

Oslo waterfront

Oslo street

November 28, 2017

Welcome Workshop 2017 Photos

On October 20th, 2017, new students and new faculty presented their work to the department at the 9th annual Welcome Workshop.

Andrew Peters (PhD) on finiteness in Mandarin

Jean-­François Juneau (PhD) on fieldwork in Georgia

Isabelle Ladouceur-Séguin (MA) on vowel harmony in Laurentian French

Nathan Sanders (faculty) on sign language phonetics

Pocholo Umbal (PhD) on use of the Canadian Shift by Filipinos in Vancouver

Rachel Soo (MA) on lexical tone and Cantonese heritage speakers
Missing here are photos for the two last talks, by Tim Gadanikis (MA) on null subjects in internet English and Nicholas LaCara (faculty) on anaphoric one.