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Sali Tagliamonte, Linguistics, U of T; “Soakers, Slims and Other Expressions: Including Ontario Dialects in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)”
November 24 @ 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Speaker: Sali Tagliamonte, Linguistics, U of T
Title: “Soakers, Slims and Other Expressions: Including Ontario Dialects in the Oxford English Dictionary (OED)”
Introducer: Monique Nemni Host: Linda Hutcheon
Abstract: In this presentation, I will discuss research I have been doing on the dialects of Ontario. The
Ontario Dialects Project (ODP), as we refer to this enterprise, has been documenting the dialects
of Ontario, Canada, by collecting linguistic data from Toronto, the urban centre of Ontario and the largest city in Canada, as well as from many smaller communities across the province. To date, the ODP comprises data from 19 different locales and contains over 11 million words of data from conversational interviews with locals, along with diachronic materials mostly collected in local genealogy projects. It is a gold mine of linguistic, cultural and historical data offering unique insight into the language of one of the world’s largest English-speaking nations. As part of this community-based research, I have worked with the Oxford English Dictionary to bring Canadian words from Ontario to the dictionary. The ODP’s research identified several words of characteristic Canadian usage, which have now made their way into the OED. In the presentation I will not dwell on the many linguistic analyses we have conducted on Ontario English, but instead present my research in a way that is both fun and interactive by reviewing these words for attendees. The OED’s collaboration with the Ontario Dialects Project shows how much such locally-based documentation projects can help major dictionaries such as the OED which aim to document the historical development of words that characterize different varieties of English. As the ODP continues its work of preserving the rich linguistic history and culture of Ontario for future generations, my team will continue to work with the OED to ensure even wider coverage and better representation of the Canadian lexicon in the dictionary. I will argue that research tapping both the diachrony and synchrony of multiple locally situated living dialects offers important insight into how language varies and changes in society.
Bio: SALI A. TAGLIAMONTE is Canada Research Chair in Language Variation and Change and a Full Professor and Chair of the Linguistics Department at the University of Toronto. She is a member of the Royal Society of Canada and a Fellow of the Linguistic Society of America. Her research focusses on morph-syntactic and discourse-pragmatic features using cross-community comparisons and apparent time to explore linguistic change. She has authored six books and is the editor of the monograph series, Studies in Language Variation and Change, published by Cambridge University Press.
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