I am a post-doctoral fellow in the University of Alberta department of Linguistics. I am working on creating spell checkers and similar tools for Cree and Ojibwe on the grant 21st Century Tools for Indigenous Languages. My theoretical interests lie primarily in phonology.
My dissertation concerns the relation of learner-driven changes, like paradigm leveling, to the data that learners are exposed to. The core intuition is that some patterns may not be learnable, and learners will thus be forced to take corrective action. In this way, historical linguistics, learnability theory and phonological theory mutually inform each other. The ultimate goal is a theory of morphophonological learning that predicts when and in what direction paradigmatic changes will proceed.
A central empirical case in this investigation is the rapid restructuring of Odawa and Eastern Ojibwe (and several other languages) that occurred in the face of rhythmic syncope. This was also the topic of my MA thesis, supervised by Bruce Hayes and Kie Zuraw. Broadly speaking, the major issues are:
Naturally, these questions can't be answered without escaping the "prison of existing data" (h/t Kie Zuraw). This has caused me to become very interested in fieldwork, experimentation and methodology. This commitment to fieldwork brings with it a commitment to the communities I work with and concern for language vitality and loss.
When I am not being an academic, I sometimes help film-makers create fictional languages (see the first season of the Syfy show Killjoys, and this short film). True extra-curricular interests include biofuel production and commuting by bicycle.