Michelle Troberg

Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Linguistics
Language Studies

Michelle Troberg's main research and teaching interests lie in language change. Her research specifically investigates how and why the syntax of languages (possible word orders and possible word combinations) changes over large periods of time: what structural changes tend to co-occur, what directions of change are more commonly observed, what might be the internal or external causes of change, and what insight language change can shed on theory. She is passionate about sharing these interests with her students. 

Current Courses

  • LIN232 (Syntactic Patterns in Language)
  • LIN369 (Romance Linguistics)
  • LIN411 (Introduction to Analysis and Argumentation)


  • PhD, French Linguistics, University of Toronto
  • MA, French Linguistics, University of Toronto
  • BEd, Simon Fraser University
  • BA, University of British Columbia

Areas of Teaching and Research Interests 

  • Syntax
  • Diachronic change
  • Romance languages
  • Medieval manuscript glossing
  • Multilingualism
  • Theories of learning and evidence-based pedagogy

Selected Publications 


  • Troberg, M. (2023). A diachronic consequence of intransitivity: structural underspecification and processing biases in Old French. In Y. Schawecker, A. Stein, & M. Percillier (Eds.), Linguistics Vanguard. Special Issue on the cognitive mechanisms of linguistic change.
  • Troberg, M., & Whitman, J. (2022). Syntactic Glosses and Historical Syntax. In L. Grestenberger, C. Reiss, H. A. Fellner, & G. Z. Pantillon (Eds.), Ha! Linguistic Studies in Honor of Mark R. Hale (pp. 369–394). Weisbaden: Reichert Verlag.
  • Troberg, M., & Leung, J. (2021). On the unified change of directional/aspectual verb particles in French. Journal of Historical Syntax, 5(40): 1–79.
  • Troberg, M. (2020). Les prépositions orphelines : un réexamen à la lumière du SP étendu. In M. Troberg & S. Tailleur (Eds.), Hommages à Yves Roberge: clitiques, éléments nuls, et autres problèmes de syntaxe et d’acquisition (pp.185–206). Special issue of Arborescences. Montreal: Érudit.
  • Troberg, M., & Burnett, H. (2017). From Latin to Modern French: A punctuated shift. In E. Mathieu & R. Truswell (Eds.), Micro-change and Macro-change in Diachronic Syntax (pp. 104–124). Oxford University Press.

Edited Volume

  • Troberg. M., & Tailleur, S. (Eds.). (2020). Hommages à Yves Roberge : clitiques, éléments nuls, et autres problèmes de syntaxe et d’acquisition. Special issue of Arborescences, vol. 10. Érudit. 

Selected Grants, Fellowships and Awards 

  • Jackman Humanities Institute Annual Seminar, Principal Investigator, 2023–2024, Multilingualism: Reflecting on a Global Reality through Time, Space, Mind and Text
  • German Research Foundation, Co-investigator, 2021–2025, Structuring the Input in Language Processing, Acquisition, and Change
  • SSHRC Insight Grant, Co-investigator, 2020–2023, Livres d’heures - textes et langue
  • Decanal Graduate Education Fund Grant, Principal Investigator, 2016–2017, Designing large online introductory classes for active student engagement
  • Learning and Education Advancement Fund, Principal Investigator, 2016–2019, Predictive and Adaptive Learning Analytics in Online and Hybrid Course Delivery
  • Ontario Online Initiative, Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities, Principal Investigator, 2014, Ontario Online course development (LIN204H5: English Grammar)