Prof Derek Denis

Derek Denis

Associate Professor, Linguistics (on leave)
Language Studies

Graduate Appointment: Graduate Linguistics Program

Derek’s research primarily focuses on Canadian English. His early work investigated earlier Canadian English using archival oral history recordings in an effort to understand a previous stage of Ontario English. Since arriving at UTM he has looked more toward the future, asking questions about how the many languages spoken by Torontonians may come to influence Toronto English. When not being a linguist, he can be found lifting heavy weights, playing Magic: The Gathering, or snoozing on the dock at the cottage.


  • PhD, Linguistics, University of Toronto 
  • MA, Linguistics, University of Toronto
  • HBA, Linguistics, University of Toronto 

Areas of Teaching and Research Interests

  • Sociolinguistics (variationist and sociocultural) 
  • World Englishes/Canadian English 
  • Multiethnolects 
  • Language contact, colonialism, and new-dialect formation 
  • Pragmatic markers 
  • Formal approaches to sociolinguistic variation 

Selected Publications 


  • English in Multicultural Context: Ideologies of Place and Race in Linguistic Variation and Change. (under contract with Cambridge University Press)

  • Essentials of Linguistics, Second Edition (2022). With Catherine Anderson; Bronwyn Bjorkman; Julianne Doner; Margaret Grant; Nathan Sanders; and Ai Taniguchi


  • Denis, D., Elango, V., Kamal, N. S. N., Prashar, S., & Velasco, M. (2023). Exploring the vowel space of Multicultural Toronto English. Journal of English Linguistics, 51(1): 30–65. 
  • Denis, D. (2021). Raptors vs. Bucktees: The Somali influence on Toronto Slang. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 42(6): 565–578. 
  • Wiltschko, M., Denis, D., & D’Arcy, A. (2018). Deconstructing variation in pragmatic function: A transdisciplinary case study. Language in Society, 47(4): 569–99.  
  • Denis, D., & D’Arcy, A. (2018). Settler Colonial Englishes are distinct from Postcolonial Englishes. American Speech, 93(1): 3–31.   

Selected Grants, Fellowships and Awards 

  • SSHRC Insight Development Grant, Principal Investigator, 2020–2024, Multicultural Toronto English: Identity and Ideologies
  • Research and Scholarly Activity Fund, Office of the Vice-Principal Research, UTM, 2020, Multicultural Toronto English: Sources and Discourses
  • Numeracy Development Initiative (LIN256, Sociolinguistics), Robert Gillespie Academic Skills Centre, UTM, 2019–2020
  • Connaught New Researcher Award, Principal Investigator, 2018–2023, New-dialect formation in a Toronto neighbourhood of first arrival
  • Audrey Duckert Award for Early Career Scholars, American Dialect Society, 2016 
  • SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Victoria, 2015–2017