Sky Onosson, Ph.D.

This site contains information on my research & work as a linguist.

Contact and social media

If you’d like to get in touch with me, the best way is by email at .

I also have an institutional email at , although I don’t check it as frequently.

And you can find me in all of the usual places — Twitter, Facebook and Instagram — where I post a mix of academic and personal stuff.

I believe it is good policy not to follow/friend current students on social media.

Institutional Address
Department of Linguistics
534 Fletcher Argue Building
15 Chancellor’s Circle
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg MB Canada R3T 5V5

Personal Address
Sky Onosson
1039 Garfield St. N.
Winnipeg MB Canada R3E 2N7

ORCID: 0000-0001-9308-7202

My work in linguistics

My research revolves around the fields of acoustic phonetics, sociolinguistics, and articulatory phonology, with a dash of computational linguistics, which I see as a pretty natural and necessary connection in this day and age. A lot of my work has looked at the dynamic properties of vowel production, such as diphthongs, from both phonetic and phonological points of view.

The information on this page is the best compendium of my research, both active and historical, but there are also a few sites which I maintain for other purposes:

  • I have an increasingly-active profile on GitHub
  • My ResearchGate page also hosts copies of my papers & presentations, but isn’t updated as often
  • I also try to keep LinkedIn updated, although probably less diligently

Current position and previous experience

I am currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Manitoba as part of the Languages in the Prairies Project spearheaded by Dr. Nicole Rosen (see below).

I am currently coordinating the Coding for Linguistics Discussion Group at the University of Manitoba, which began in February and is planned to continue throughout 2020 on a (semi-)monthly basis.

I am a graduate of both the University of Manitoba (B.A. and M.A.) and the University of Victoria (Ph.D.).

My academic work and research experience includes teaching courses in Linguistics at the University of Manitoba and the University of Winnipeg, serving as a research assistant and lab instructor at the University of Victoria, presenting at a variety of major linguistics conferences, and volunteering as editor and conference organizer on multiple occasions.

My academic CV contains much more information on all of the above. I also have an industry-facing resume for non-academic purposes, should they arise.

Research projects

I currently have several active research projects:

  • Vowel production and variation in Manitoba/Prairie English The data for this research is drawn from Dr. Nicole Rosen’s Canada Research Chair-funded Languages in the Prairies Project (LIPP). My research on LIPP has led to two conference presentations, including a published proceedings; a full article is currently being prepared for peer review. Significant findings from this research include the documentation of distinctive ethnolinguistic patterns across several phonological processes in the Filipino and Mennonite communities in Manitoba.

  • Vowel dynamics of North American English This work stems from my M.A. and Ph.D. graduate work, which focused on “Canadian Raising” of the /aj/ and /aw/ diphthongs before voiceless codas. I am interested in the ways that different dialects handle pre-voiceless shortening in general, and how this plays out in the context of what are perceived as “raised” diphthongal nuclei.

  • Variation and change in contemporary Brazilian Portuguese Beginning in 2015, in collaboration with Christiani Pinheiro Thompson (University of Saskatchewan), we have recorded more than 80 multi-media intervews with nearly 180 middle-school children in urban Rio de Janeiro. Currently we are focusing on carrying out the lengthy process of transcription, after which we plan to document many of the interesting linguistic innovations taking place in this community, which include lexical, syntactic, and phonological features among others.

  • Descriptive phonetic analysis of Indigenous Languages of British Columbia This work is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Sonya Bird (University of Victoria), and focuses on two Indigenous languages: the Coast Salish language Hul’q’umi’num’ spoken on Vancouver Island, and the Athabaskan language Tsilhqot’in spoken in the interior of B.C. Work on Hul’q’umi’num’ has involved application of techniques for the analysis of dynamic acoustic patterns to compare production differences between fluent elders and language learners to assist in the language learning process. This work has produced two conference presentations, including a published proceedings. My work on Tsilhqot’in is focused on the acoustics of consonants, which is a new area for me, and a paper resulting from this collaboration is currently in prep.

  • Vowel production in the Ecuadorian mixed language Media Lengua. This project is a collaboration with Dr. Jesse Stewart (University of Saskatchewan). The lexicon of Media Lengua derives from both Quichua and Spanish. Our current work focuses on how vowel-sequences from different-origin source languages are handled in Media Lengua, from both phonetic and phonological perspectives. A paper resulting from this collaboration is currently in prep.

My research

This site hosts archived copies of most of my published or presented work going back to my 2010 master’s thesis, all of which are listed on my CV. The list below combines peer-reviewed publications, current papers I have in some state of preparation, conference presentations, invited talks, workshops, and media interviews, in simple chronological order:

Year Title Journal/Forum/Venue
2020 The effects of language contact on non-native vowel sequences in lexical borrowings: The case of Media Lengua (with Jesse Stewart) Submitted for peer review
  The interaction of yod retention with /u/-fronting in Victoria Submitted for peer review
  Prevelar front-vowel merger in Winnipeg English Submitted for peer review
  A phonetic investigation of Tŝilhqot’in /z/ and /zʕ/ (with Sonya Bird) Submitted for peer review
  The effects of language contact on non-native diphthongs in lexical borrowings: The case of Media Lengua (with Jesse Stewart) Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics, New Orleans LA
  Ethnolinguistic Vowel Differentiation in Manitoba English American Dialect Society, New Orleans LA
  TRAP-raising and the Canadian/Low-Back-Merger Shift in Prairie English (accepted–did not present due to Covid19) Canadian Linguistic Association, Western University
  Suppressing biases in correlate identification in acoustic data: The case of Media Lengua (with Jesse Stewart) In preparation
  Canadian Shift amidst demographic shift: Ethnolinguistic effects in Western Canadian English vowels (with Nicole Rosen) In preparation
  Functional differentiation of tipo in Brazilian Portuguese: Grammaticalization in progress (with Christiani Thompson) In preparation
  Topicalization in Brazilian Portuguese: Subject-doubling constructions (with Christiani Thompson) In preparation
2019 Workshop on Statistics for Linguistics University of Manitoba
  Differences In Vowel-glide Production Between L1 And L2 Speakers Of Hul’q’umi’num’ (with Sonya Bird) International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne
  Ethnolinguistic Differentiation and the Canadian Shift (with Nicole Rosen and Lanlan Li) International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Melbourne
  Acoustic Phonetics and Language Revitalization in the Hul’q’umi’num’ Community (with Sonya Bird) Prairie Workshop on Languages and Linguistics V, University of Winnipeg
2018 An Acoustic Study of Canadian Raising in Three Dialects of North American English Doctoral dissertation, the University of Victoria
  Joining the Western Region: Sociophonetic Shift in Victoria (with Rebecca Roeder and Alex D’Arcy) Journal of English Linguistics
  Best practices in automatic vowel production analysis Sociolinguistics Symposium 22, University of Auckland
2017 Canadian Raising or Canadian Shortening? Comparing and contrasting dynamic models of vowel duration Workshop on Dynamic Modeling in Phonetics & Phonology, University of Chicago
2016 Yod variation in Victoria, B.C.: An acoustic-centred approach American Dialect Society, Washington DC
  Urban youth in Rio de Janeiro: Contemporary linguistic variation in Brazilian Portuguese (with Christiani Thompson) New Ways of Analyzing Variation 45, Simon Fraser University
2015 Simultaneous Innovation & Conservation: Unpacking Victoria’s Vowels (with Rebecca Roeder and Alex D’Arcy) New Ways of Analyzing Variation 44, University of Toronto
  There’s a New Ethnolect in Town: Vowel Patterning of Filipino English in Winnipeg (with Nicole Rosen and Lanlan Li) New Ways of Analyzing Variation 44, University of Toronto
  City, province or region: What do the vowels of Victoria tell us? (with Rebecca Roeder and Alex D’Arcy) American Dialect Society, Portland OR
  Acoustic Phonetics Lab Manual (with Sonya Bird, Qian Wang and Allison Benner) Course textbook, University of Victoria
2014 The Prosodic Structure of Canadian Raising Proceedings of the Canadian Linguistic Association
  The Prosodic Structure of Canadian Raising Canadian Linguistic Association, Brock University
  Analyzing complex vowel articulations from acoustic data Cascadia Workshop in Sociolinguistics, University of Victoria
  Finding our voice: A primer on the Manitoba dialect (interview) David Sanderson: The Winnipeg Free Press
2010 Canadian Raising in Manitoba: Acoustic Effects of Articulatory Phasing and Lexical Frequency Master’s thesis, University of Manitoba


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