22 November 2021: Sali A. Tagliamonte (Toronto): “Mining for linguistic gold: The Ontario Dialects Project”


In this talk, I offer insights from the Ontario Dialects Project in which I have been documenting ways of speaking in Ontario, Canada for nearly 20 years. As of 2021, the archive comprises 19 communities with representation from the largest city, Toronto to many localities in the Near North (e.g. Tagliamonte, 2013; 2014a). In addition to the intrinsic contribution of these corpora to dialect documentation, this research provides explicit evidence for language innovation and obsolescence, contact, koenization, dialect levelling and can even have significance outside of Linguistics (history, cultural studies, contemporary literature). By reviewing the procedures, practicalities, and products of this large-scale sociolinguistic enterprise (Tagliamonte, 2007), I hope to show how community-based research can lead to new insights into social and linguistic patterns and thereby more integrated explanations. It can also lead to rich and accessible language materials that are not only of use to linguists but also to the broader population where there is an abiding interest in colourful words and expressions.



Tagliamonte, Sali A. (2007). Representing real language: Consistency, trade-offs and thinking ahead! In Beal, J., Corrigan, K. & Moisl, H. (Eds.), Using unconventional digital language corpora: Volume 1 Synchronic corpora.Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. 205-240.

Tagliamonte, Sali A. (2013). Roots of English: Exploring the history of dialects. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Tagliamonte, Sali A. (2014a). System and society in the evolution of change: The view from Canada. In Green, E. & Meyer, C. (Eds.), Variability in Current World Englishes Berlin and New York: Mouton de Gruyter.


You can attend the lecture here.

(Meeting ID: 945 0009 9340
Passcode: hp7NNBc0)



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.