Are you interested in language learning, making intercultural connections, and language exchanges in general? Then the UBC tandem Interlingual and Intercultural Learning Workshop is perfect for you! Join us for a short presentation on language exchanges and what we learned from attending and presenting at Colloque ALCTES, a conference on language exchange at the Sorbonne University, Paris, followed by a discussion and free dinner of Syrian food from Tayybeh.

Who: Anyone interested in sharing languages and cultures! Hosted by UBC tandem
What: A presentation, free dinner catered by Tayybeh, and discussion
When: Tuesday April 18, 5:00pm-7:00pm
Where: UBC Simon K. Y. Lee Global Lounge and Resource Centre, 2205 Lower Mall, UBC
Why: To learn more about language learning
RSVP here:
More information: v

Please email if you would like to have childcare or ASL interpretation provided.



This is a great opportunity to see Vancouver, improve your language skills and start programming! Click here to enroll:   For more details click here: Please share widely with anyone you know who would like to visit UBC!


LECTURE & WORKSHOP – February 28, 2017 – 5 PM, Buch B215

Polish Discussion Group, Polish Studies at CENES, Global Lounge and UBC Tandem present a lecture and workshop with Piotr Florczyk.

Polish Discussion Group, Polish Studies at CENES, Global Lounge and UBC Tandem present a lecture and workshop  (poster) with Piotr Florcyzk on “Ambassadors and Colonizers: On Translations in the Literary Market Place” and “East Meets West: Polish American Poets in Conversation”.


LING 431 and LING 432 – Field Methods I & II

The featured language for Field Methods this year will be ʔay̓aǰuθəm (Comox-Sliammon). ʔay̓aǰuθəm is a Central Salish language historically spoken around Comox on East-Central Vancouver Island as well as on adjacent areas of the mainland from present-day Powell River to Cortez Island. There are less than 50 remaining first language speakers, so this is a really amazing opportunity to work on a unique and highly endangered Salish language.

Our consultant will be Ms. Joanne Francis, who was raised by her grandmother in the remote community of Homalco entirely in ʔay̓aǰuθəm until she went to Residential School in Sechelt at the age of 15. She now resides in East Vancouver with her husband, also a fluent speaker of ʔay̓aǰuθəm, from the Sliammon First Nation.



Course #:  447G-001

Term:  1

Title:  Cross-linguistic semantics and pragmatics

Pre-req:  LING 327

Days/times:  T Th / 9:30 am – 11 am

Instructor:  Lisa Matthewson

Description:  Human languages differ in the meaning distinctions they grammatically mark. For example, English encodes tense and uniqueness, but many languages do not.

(1)       I am hungry ≠ I was hungry.

(2)       the person I love ≠ a person I love

St’át’imcets (a Salish language indigenous to British Columbia) encodes neither tense nor uniqueness. The sentence in (3) can report either present or past hunger, and (4) is vague with respect to whether the speaker loves one person or more.

(3)       Táytkan.                                              ‘I am/was hungry.’

(4)       ta ucwalmicwa ta wa7 xweysán         ‘the/a person who I love’

Conversely, sometimes St’át’imcets is more explicit. The single English sentence in (5) covers the meaning of three distinct St’át’imcets sentences, depending on the speaker’s source of evidence for the rain.

(5)       It is raining.

  1. Wa7 kwis.             (if the speaker personally witnessed the rain)
  2. Wa7 ku7 kwis.      (if the speaker was told about the rain)
  3. Wa7 k’a kwis.       (if the speaker inferred that it was raining)

In this course we investigate the ways in which languages vary in their semantics and their pragmatics, and also the ways in which all languages are the same. Students will have the opportunity to work in groups on their own research projects.


Course #:  447I-002

Term:  1

Title:  Information Structure

Days/Times:  T Th / 2 pm – 3:30 pm

Instructor:  Michael Rochemont

Description:  This course will provide a basic introduction to Information Structure (IS). We will examine the central notions of IS, particularly the notions given/new, topic, and focus, and their potential role in maintaining discourse coherence and cohesion.   IS deals primarily with how the form of a linguistic expression (its syntax, prosody and morphology) reflects the temporary state of a discourse, and so is largely concerned with “information packaging” as opposed to strictly semantic content.  A familiar example from English illustrates the types of problems explored. Consider the following four distinct possible pronunciations of the sentence ‘John likes Mary’: JOHN likes Mary, John likes MARY, John LIKES Mary, and JOHN likes MARY. The differences among these variants are said to be differences in the expression of focus. What precisely is it about each of these pronunciations that makes it phonetically and phonologically distinct from the others?  Observe that each imposes distinct conditions on the discourse contexts in which it can be felicitously used. What are these conditions?  How are they best characterized?  How do other languages express these same variations in information packaging?  Some languages do not use prosody at all, but instead use morphological or syntactic means to give expression to focus variants. Many languages, including English, use a combination of prosodic, morphological and/or syntactic markers to designate a focus. We will explore the literature on these and related IS topics. Prerequisites: preferably, LING 300, 311, 313, or permission of instructor.


Course #: 447J-001

Term:  2

Title:  Who is a native speaker?

Days/Times:  T Th / 11 am – 12:30 pm

Instructor:   Molly Babel


In this course we’ll explore definitions about what it means to be a native speaker of a language. Our readings will focus on the ways in which heritage speakers, monolinguals, and multilinguals process spoken language in an attempt to understand how language experiences and the acquisition at different developmental stages (infancy, childhood, adulthood) affects speech recognition processes.



Aidan Pine - March 2016

Starting in first year, Aidan volunteered with the Gitksan Research Lab and learned the Gitksan language to help transcribe a collection of history and dictionary words and sentences. This deep intellectual engagement in both Linguistics and First Nations Languages continued throughout his degree to result in an Honours thesis project that was the development of a mobile dictionary app that helps Indigenous communities preserve and revitalize languages that are otherwise at risk of extinction. He has organized a workshop series in the Linguistics department teaching language-related programming skills to undergrads, graduate students ad post docs. His research with First Nations and Endangered Languages Program Chair, Mark Turin, has helped to contribute to the undergraduate curriculum and includes a co-authored contribution to a peer-reviewed volume on Endangered Languages. Aidan’s commitment to exchanging knowledge to benefit all members of society exemplifies academic leadership.



The UBC Tandem Language Learning Program is a free and completely student-run initiative. This fall 2015 semester, over 830 UBC students, faculty and staff applied to the progam. The structure of UBC tandem is as follows: participants that wish to practice a language are paired up with someone who speaks this language and at the same time wants to improve in the language the first person speaks. Pairs meet for a total of 9 or 10 weeks for 1.5 hours every week, either at facilitated sessions or independently. In both cases, participants are supported with suggested activities and conversation topics from the UBC tandem Guidebook, as well as by the guidance of trained Tandem UBC Volunteer Facilitators. In fact, Tiffany Doe, Major in Speech Sciences and Minor in Asian Language and Cutlure, is one of the facilitators of the program! Visit the Tandem Language Learning Program website to find out more.



Welcome to the Department of Linguistics! Your Advisors invite you to meet with them for a one-on-one advising session where you can discuss your program in Linguistics or Speech Sciences and ask any questions you may have about courses and planning your Major. Please contact Wendy Trigg at or Hotze Rullmann at to arrange a time. We look forward to meeting you!


“Linguistics in Industry” video

At the LSA’s 2015 Annual Meeting, linguists from Google, Microsoft, Lexicon Branding, and other leading companies spoke about their work and gave advice to students interested in pursuing an industry career.

A video of this panel has been recorded and posted to the LSA website, where it is available to watch for all members of the Linguistic Society of America. More information and a video link can be found at:



Effective 2014 Summer Session, streamlined the descriptions of the Honours, Majors and Minor programs in Linguistics and Speech Sciences, as well as the Diploma in Linguistics program will be in place. Streamlining the descriptions will make program planning and course selection an easier process. Here are the highlights of the changes:

  • The “Lists” have been replaced with a clearer description of core course requirements and additional course requirements.
  • The Linguistics Language Requirement for the Honours and Major programs in Linguistics is no longer included in the number of credits required toward the Honours or Major program. This allows for greater concentration on linguistics and linguistic-related courses toward your program.
  • A new course in linguistic methodology, LING 333, has been added to replace the PSYC 217 which Speech Science Majors used to take. LING 333 is a linguistics-oriented course in the methods used in studying language. It is now required for all our Majors, both LING and SPSC. However, if you have already taken PSYC 217, you do not need to take LING 333. Also, if you declared your Major or Honours in 2013W or earlier, you do not have to take LING 333.
  • The old PSYC 218 requirement for Speech Science Majors has also been replaced with STAT 203. However, if you have already taken PSYC 218, you do not need to take STAT 203.




1) Please remember to read the “COMMENTS” section associated with every course for important information (e.g., This is where you find out if a course is not offered in a particular Session.)

2) LING 447 can be repeated for credit toward an Honours/Major in Linguistics or an Honours/Major in Speech Sciences. However, the first time it is taken it MUST count as the “Capstone Course” requirement.

3) Regularly check your progress toward completing your degree requirements on Degree Navigator.

4) Linguistics Honours & Major students: The Linguistics Language Requirement is in addition to the BA Language Requirement.