The Strathy Blog - 2019

News about the Strathy Language Unit and Canadian English studies

[Please note that this page is an archive of blog posts from 2019. Some of the links to articles are no longer active.]

'They' Win/s

Date: December 10, 2019 | Category: In the Media

Merriam-Webster has released its words of the year, and nonbinary 'they' tops the list.


The Barbarians Have Won

Date: December 3, 2019 | Category: In the Media

After years of advocating for grammatical standards, the founder of the Apostrophe Protection Society is calling it quits, concluding that people no longer seem interested in proper usage.


Because Gretchen!

Date: December 2, 2019 | Category: In the Media

Strathy Unit alum Gretchen McCulloch's new book Because Internet has been a great success! An article about Gretchen and her research is the feature story of the new edition of Queen's Alumni Review.


Interview with Strathy Director

Date: December 2, 2019 | Category: In the Media

"Language" is the topic of the new edition of Queen's Alumni Review. It includes an interview with Strathy Director Anastasia Riehl about English corpora and the unit's project on Wolfe Island.


Hockey Name Changes

Date: November 19, 2019 | Category: In the Media

Hockey Canada is finally changing the names ascribed to the minor league age divisions to avoid derogatory terms.



Date: November 11, 2019 | Category: In the Media

"We’re living in the ampersandthropocene now."


Future English

Date: November 10, 2019 | Category: In the Media

Strathy Alum Gretchen McCulloch reflects on the English of today by imagining the English of tomorrow:


Languages Undergraduate Conference

Date: November 5, 2019 | Category: News

Happening today!

Click image to open pdf


We're Moving!

Date: October 17, 2019 | Category: News

After more than ten years in Mackintosh-Corry Hall, the Strathy Language Unit is saying farewell and moving into new space in Kingston Hall. Come visit us in rooms 306 and 310!

Photo of the Strathy Unit's Mac-Corry office
Goodbye Mac-Corry!

Toronto Slang

Date: October 16, 2019 | Category: In the Media

Toronto slang - what it is, where it comes from, who gets to talk about it - has been a big topic of discussion on social media these past few days. Following an article about linguistics research on slang in the University of Toronto magazine, CBC and other outlets picked up the story. (It even made its way into discussions around the upcoming election.) This prompted conversation and criticism that went beyond slang to issues of the appropriation of Black culture, language and power, and linguistic discrimination. Interesting and important discussions!


Nonbinary 'They' in Dictionary

Date: September 18, 2019 (updated Sept. 19) | Category: In the Media

The use of 'they' as a nonbinary pronoun is now recognized by Merriam-Webster.


Ontario Slang in the OED

Date: September 4, 2019 | Category: In the Media

Ontario slang may finally get its rightful place in the dictionary. Linguist Sali Tagliamonte at the University of Toronto is working with editors of the Oxford English Dictionary to include 'May run' and 'Miner's mouth' and other Ontario terms. For more about the words and these efforts see:


"Not a Legally Induced Comma"

Date: September 3, 2019 | Category: In the Media

The Oxford comma was at the centre of another legal case this summer, this time involving the calculation of pension rates for Bell Canada. Remember when the comma was on trial last year regarding overtime pay in the dairy industry?


Because Internet!

Date: September 1, 2019 | Category: News

We are very happy to congratulate former Strathy Unit research assistant Gretchen McCulloch on the success of her first book, Because Internet!

Here's some information about the book on Gretchen's website. And here is an excellent review (one of many!) in The New York Times.

Image of the cover of Because Internet


Happy Summer!

Date: July 1, 2019 | Category: News

The blog is taking its annual July-August hiatus. The Unit remains open, however, so please continue to be in touch with your comments and questions!


THEY 2019

Date: June 11, 2019 | Category: News

THEY, HIRSELF, EM and YOU: Nonbinary Pronouns in Theory and Practice is happening now at Queen's! Click here for the program and information on streaming the presentations for those who are off campus.


Folklore and Dialect in Newfoundland

Date: May 27, 2019 | Category: In the Media

Did you know that many of the words in the beloved Dictionary of Newfoundland English come from the Folklore and Language Archive at Memorial University? Learn more about this unique folklore program:


Creating Canadian English

Date: May 26, 2019 | Category: In the Media

A new book on the history of Canadian English scholarship, by UBC's Stefan Dollinger, will be out next month. Meanwhile, here's a nice overview of the project:


Sexy Canadians, Eh?

Date: May 7, 2019 | Category: In the Media

A silly poll on sexy accents leads to serious reflection on the complexity of a "Canadian" accent.


Strathy Projects

Date: April 23, 2019 | Category: News

Wade Guyitt of Editors Kingston (and formerly of the Strathy Unit!) did a great write-up of the Unit's projects for the Editors Kingston blog.


Talking Canadian English with Canadian Editors

Date: April 10, 2019 | Category: News

Strathy Unit Director Anastasia Riehl will speak at Editors Kingston tonight about Canadian English corpus research and the Unit's ongoing projects. Join us!


'Get' Passives

Date: March 27, 2019 | Category: News

The results from our latest "bulletin board" survey are in! How do your judgements compare to those of our participants?

Poster of survey results

Click image to open pdf.


They, Hirself, Em and You

Date: March 18, 2019 | Category: News

A conference on non-binary pronouns − They, Hirself, Em and You: Nonbinary pronouns in research and practice − will be held at Queen's University June 11-13. Click here for more information and a call for papers.


Regional Accents on CBC

Date: March 18, 2019 | Category: In the Media

CBC's Fresh Air featured an interview about Canadian accents with Michael Iannozzi, a graduate student at Western University. You can find the interview in part 2 of the show, around the 26-minute mark. Enjoy! [Updated: Audio no longer available.]


Research Presentations

Date: March 9, 2019 | Category: News

Strathy Unit research assistant Olena Pankiw presented an overview of her Canadian English survey project at the Scarborough Undergraduate Linguistics Conference and Inquiry at Queen's. Nice work Olena!

Photo of Olena Pankiw at the Scarborough Undergraduate Linguistics Conference

Photo of Olena Pankiw at Inquiry at Queen's


How to Train Your Canadian Dragon

Date: March 6, 2019 | Category: In the Media

Canadian actor Jay Baruchel of How to Train Your Dragon reflects on his "secret mission" to insert Canadianisms into his character's dialogue.


This Survey is on Fleek!

Date: February 11, 2019 | Category: News

How does your knowledge of a few recent slang terms compare to that of our survey participants?

Poster of slang survey results

Click image to open pdf.


Bibliography Update

Date: February 10, 2019 | Category: News

We have updated our online bibliography - now at almost 4000 sources! Search for journal articles, books and other resources on Canadian English, and let us know if you have any additions.


In Need of a Name

Date: January 23, 2019 | Category: In the Media

You may be a proud Manitoban, Newfoundlander or Nova Scotian, but what are you if you proudly hail from the Northwest Territories?


Spelling Survey

Date: January 22, 2019 | Category: News

The results of our latest "bulletin board" survey are in! Click the image to see how your preferences compare to those of our participants.

Poster of spelling survey results

Click image to open pdf.


'Tender-Age Shelter'

Date: January 7, 2019 | Category: News

Members of the American Dialect Society voted on their word of the year, and the winner is "tender-age shelter". Ben Zimmer, chair of the New Words Committee explains, “The use of highly euphemistic language to paper over the human effects of family separation was an indication of how words in 2018 could be weaponized for political necessity. But the bureaucratic phrasing ended up backfiring, as reports of the term served to galvanize opposition to the administration’s border policy.”

See the committee's report for the runners up as well as slang of the year, hashtag of the year, and more!


Canadian English Talks at ADS

Date: January 3, 2019 | Category: News

Canadian English research is off to a great start in 2019! The annual meeting of the American Dialect Society is underway in New York City, January 3-6. The opening session featured these four great talks on Canadian English:

  • Tracking change in Canadian English utterance-initial discourse markers, Lisa Schlegl (University of Toronto)
  • Sounding like a “Sounder”: Dialect accommodation in Ontario, Canada, Sali A. Tagliamonte (University of Toronto), Tim Gadanidis (University of Toronto), Jean-François Juneau (University of Toronto), Kinza Mahoon (University of Toronto), Andrei Munteanu (University of Toronto), Lisa Schlegl (University of Toronto), Fiona Wilson (University of Toronto)
  • “He come out and give me a beer, but he never seen the bear”: Old preterites in Ontario dialects, Bridget L. Jankowski (University of Toronto), Sali A. Tagliamonte (University of Toronto)
  • Exploring the sounds of Multicultural Toronto English, Derek Denis (University of Toronto Mississauga), Vidhya Elango (University of Toronto Mississauga), Nur Sakinah Nor Kamal (University of Toronto Mississauga), Srishti Prashar (University of Toronto Mississauga), Maria Velasco (University of Toronto Mississauga)

Check out the program for more Canadian English content in the coming days!


Click here to read 2018 posts