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Research Interests

My current research
projects focus on different dialects of Canadian English: Black English in Toronto (with Jacqueline Peters); and minority English-speaking communities in Quebec. My dissertation research is about the variety of English spoken in the Eastern Townships of Quebec along the American-Canadian border. 

I am particularly int
erested in language variation and change (sociolinguistics, sociophonetics, dialectology, historical linguistics, etc), the intersections of language with gender and ethnicity, and the way language can be used to construct identity. 


 2008 – Present           Ph.D., Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, 
                                        York University, Toronto, Ontario
                                        Dissertation title: English in the Eastern Townships: 
                                        investigating language variation and change in a minority language community.
                                         Areas of specialization: Canadian English, Sociophonetics
                                         Committee: James Walker (supervisor), Philipp Angermeyer, Peter Avery

2008                              M.A., Linguistics, 

                                        University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario

   Thesis: A Historical Dialectological Study of English in Stanstead, Quebec

                                  Supervisor:              J.K. Chambers


 1999 – 2003               B.A., Linguistics, (Honours, First Class)

                                        McGill University, Montreal, Quebec

      Honours Thesis: Lexical Survey of Eastern Townships English

      Supervisor:  Charles Boberg


Baxter, Laura, and Peters, Jacqueline. 2013. "Black English in Toronto: A New Dialect?" Proceedings from Methods XIV.

Baxter, Laura. 2010. Lexical Diffusion in the Early Stages of the Merry-Marry Merger,” University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics Vol 16: Iss. 2.


"Language on the Line: Canadian English and Identity in a Border Town." Locating Language: A Symposium on the Linguistics of Place. April 20-21, 2013. The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH. Also presented at: 5th Crossing Over International Symposium. October 11-12, 2013. Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH.

"Accents and Attitudes on the Quebec Vermont Border." Borders and Identities Conference 2013. March 29-31, 2013. University of Rijeka, Croatia.

"Borderline English: The Case of Quebec's Eastern Townships." Workshop on Canadian English. November 23, 2012. York University, Toronto, ON.

Same City, Different World: The Emergence of a Black Speech Community in Toronto.” (with Jacqueline Peters). Sociolinguistics Symposium 19. August 21-24, 2012 . Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.

The Rise and Fall of New England English in Southern Quebec.” American Dialect Society Annual Meeting. January 5-7, 2012. Portland, OR.

“Black English in Toronto: A New Dialect? (with Jacqueline Peters). Methods in Dialectology 14. August 2-6, 2011. University of Western Ontario, London, ON.

National Identity and Sound Change. Sociolinguistics Summer School 3. July 4-8, 2011. University of Glasgow, Scotland.

“Accent et identité: l'histoire linguistique de l'anglais à la frontière Québec-Vermont. 79e Congrès de l'Association francophone pour le savoir. May 9-13, 2011. Sherbrooke, QC.

“A New Intersection of Language and Ethnicity: Black English in Toronto(with Jacqueline Peters). New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV) 39. November 4-7, 2010. San Antonio, TX.

“The Evolution of a Border Effect: English on the Canadian-American Border.” Sociolinguistics Symposium (SS) 18. September 1-4, 2010. University of Southampton, UK.

“LVC in the GTA: (t/d)-deletion in Black English in Toronto.” (with Jacqueline Peters) Change and Variation in Canada (CVC) IV. June 19-20, 2010. Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NL.

“How do you solve a problem like the Mary-merry-marry merger? Some Canadian Evidence.” Canadian Linguistics Association (CLA).  May 28-31, 2010. Concordia University, Montreal, QC.

“Lexical Diffusion in the Early Stages of the Merry-Marry Merger.” New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV) 38. October 22-25, 2009. University of Ottawa, ON.

Transitioning Between Dialects: Variable r-lessness in a Canadian Border Community.”  New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV) 37. November 6-9, 2008. Houston, Texas.

Variable r-lessness in a Border Community.”   Change and Variation in Canada (CVC) II. June 21-22, 2008. University of Ottawa.

“English in the Eastern Townships of Quebec.” Invited talk,  Language Variation and Change Research Group. April 11, 2008. University of Toronto. 

Teaching and Research

Course Director:

Language in its Social Context (LING 2400). Summer 2012

Teaching Assistant:

Introduction to Linguistics (LING 1000).  2007-08, 2008-2009, 2012-2013

The Structure of English (LING 2060). 2010

Phonetics (LING 2110). 2009, 2010, 2013   

Language in its Social Context (LING 2400). 2010, 2011, 2014


Psychology of Language (JLP 374).  2008



Research Assistant. Ethnolinguistic Variation in Toronto English. Head Researchers: James Walker and Michol Hoffman, York University. 2009-2010

Research Mentor in Sociophonetics for Undergraduate Student Research Assistant, York University. 2013-2014