Derek Denis

Assistant Professor, Linguistics Undergraduate Program Coordinator Language Studies
(905) 828-6639
Office Location:
3359 Mississauga Road, Maanjiwe nendamowinan, 4th floor
Mississauga , ON
L5L 1C6

My research primarily focuses on Canadian English. My early work investigated earlier Canadian English using archival oral history recordings in an effort to understand a previous stage of Ontario English. My current work looks toward the future. I ask questions about how the many languages spoken by Torontonians may come to influence Toronto English. I typically take a variationist sociolinguistic approach in my work and have been using this methodology to document a Multicultural Toronto English. More recently I have become interested in how through the intersection of ideologies of language, race, gender, and place non-normative language practice comes to be prestigious and desireable.

Areas of Academic Interest

  • Sociolinguistics
  • Language variation and change
  • Language contact, colonialism, and new dialect formation
  • Formal approaches to sociolinguistic variation
  • Covert prestige, language ideologies, and masculinity

Grants, Fellowships & Awards

  • Connaught New Research Award. University of Toronto. (2018-2020)
  • Audrey Duckert Memorial Award for early career researchers. American Dialect Society. (2016)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship. SSHRC. (2015-2017)


  • Denis, Derek, Matt Hunt Gardner, Marisa Brook, and Sali Tagliamonte. (2019). Peaks and arrowheads of vernacular reorganization. Language Variation and Change 31(2): 569-599.
  • Wiltschko, Martina, Derek Denis, and Alexandra D’Arcy. (2018).
    Deconstructing variation in pragmatic function: A transdisciplinary case study. Language in Society 47(4) 569-99.
  • Denis, Derek and Alexandra D’Arcy. (2018). Settler Colonial Englishes are distinct from Postcolonial Englishes. American Speech 93(1): 3-31.
  • Denis, Derek. (2017). The development of and stuff in Canadian English: A longitudinal study of apparent grammaticalization. Journal of English Linguistics 45(2): 157-185.
  • Tagliamonte, Sali A. and Derek Denis. (2014). Expanding the transmission/diffusion dichotomy: Evidence from Canada. Language 90(1): 90-136.
  • Tagliamonte, Sali A. and Derek Denis. (2008). Linguistic ruin? LOL. Instant messaging and teen language. American Speech 83(1): 3-34.


Linguistic Studies
Current Courses: 
Sociolinguistics, English World-wide, Language and Gender, Talking Numbers
PhD, University of Toronto, Department of Linguistics, 2015
MA, University of Toronto, Department of Linguistics, 2009
H.BA., University of Toronto, 2008