Neil’s Linguistics Research

[Picture of University College] In September of 1996, I started a part-time undergraduate degree program at the University of Toronto. I received my B.A. in Linguistics in May of 2000, and upgraded that to an Honours B.A. which was awarded in June, 2002.

In the Fall of 2002 I began a full-time Master's degree program in theoretical linguistics at York University in Toronto, graduating in September of 2004.

On the completion of my Masters degree, I spent several years doing Ph.D. research at the University of Ottawa.

Linguistics (major)

My undergrad major was Linguistics. The following topics represent some of my research areas and past projects.

Catastrophe Theory and Language Variation: During my undergrad courses, I began to investigate the relationship between language variation and catastophe and chaos theory. See my catastrophe theory page for more details. I presented a paper on Applying Chaos and Complexity Theory to Language Variation Analysis at NWAV 31 in Stanford, California, in October, 2002. This eventually formed the basis for my major paper in my M.A. program.

Pronunciation Survey: I conducted a Survey on English Pronunciation Preferences. The questions are still available, but it can't record your responses. Some results are also available on that page.

Acoustic Analysis: In the Spring of 2000, I took a course in acoustic phonetic analysis. We used a Macintosh program called Signalyse which is very capable, although I found it sometimes less than compatible with the newer Macs. I've been told that Speech Filing System is a similar program for Windows, MS-DOS, and Unix. It is available free from University College in London, England.

Dictionary Project: In 1997/98, I spent 8 hours per week working on a long-term dictionary research project at the University of Toronto:

Portuguese (minor)

I also completed a minor program in Portuguese language and culture. From what I understood, I may have been the first person who didn't come from a Portuguese-speaking home environment to complete this minor.

Anthropology (minor)

My major interests in linguistics generally lean toward sociolinguistics and dialectology, so several anthropology courses have helped me understand the various ways that language impacts society, complimenting the linguistics perspective, which focusses on how society affects language. I completed my anthropology minor in the spring of 2002.

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