Nathan Sanders

Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Department of Linguistics, University of Toronto

University of Toronto logo
Nathan Sanders headshot

pronunciation:[ˈneθn̩ ˈsændɚz]
pronouns:he/him
email: nathan.sanders@utoronto.ca
office:Sidney Smith Hall 4070
Department of Linguistics
100 St. George Street
Toronto, ON M5S 3G3
Canada
hours: by appointment only
phone:+1 (416) 978-1766
(use email instead)
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"A&S students explore language and social justice in linguistics First-Year Foundations seminar", by Alexa Zulak for for the University of Toronto Faculty of Arts & Science news (2019)

"Intersecting STEM and the humanities", by Shankhalika Srikanth for The Innis Herald (2019)

"IPA Hunt and IPA Discard (How to play Battleship and Uno with the International Phonetic Alphabet)", on All Things Linguistic (2019)

"'Language construction is part art, part science': Linguist Nathan Sanders on conlangs", by Alexa Zulak for the University of Toronto Faculty of Arts & Science news (2018)

open letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson on aliens and linguistics, with Kevin Schluter, Stephen Politzer-Ahles, and Carrie Gillon (2017)

"Sign languages provide insight into universal linguistic short-cuts", Linguistic Society of America press release (2016)

Phonology, especially its interface with phonetics and morphology; sign language phonetics; derivational opacity; linguistic typology; ludlings (language games, like Pig Latin); constructed languages (like Esperanto and Klingon), especially their use as an educational tool; Polish and Slavic phonology; historical phonology; mathematical and statistical models of linguistic phenomena; and in general, the physical, biological, and cognitive factors that shape language.

I've most recently been working on the articulatory and perceptual phonetics of more than two dozen sign languages, phonetically-informed historical reconstruction for sign languages, the effects of prosody on eye gaze in reading tasks in English, the history of language construction, and linguistics pedagogy.

Working with Keren Rice and Naomi Nagy, I am the lead Principal Investigator for our project titled "Innovations in Linguistic Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Linguistics Curriculum and Beyond", in which we are developing course materials and pedagogical methods concerning linguistic injustice and biases.

I've adapted Cascadilla Press's original IPA Bingo for the specific notation I use when teaching the phonology of general North American English (calling cards, bingo cards), and I worked with Fatimi Hamlaoui in adapting these materials for French (calling cards, bingo cards).

I've also designed two new educational games for learning the International Phonetic Alphabet: IPA Discard (rules, cards), a shedding card game based on Crazy Eights (Uno) for learning IPA consonants; and IPA Hunt (rules and playsheet), a guessing game based on Battleship for learning IPA vowels.

Fall 2020:
LIN 200: Introduction to Language
LIN 228: Phonetics
LIN 1104: Quantitative Methods in Linguistics (graduate)

Winter 2021:
LIN 229: Sound Patterns in Language
LIN 305: Quantitative Methods in Linguistics
LIN 402: Linguistic Typology and Constructed Languages

other courses taught:
LIN 197: Language and Social Justicee
LIN 1121: Phonological Theory (graduate)

SB in Mathematics, minor in Linguistics, MIT (1996)

MA and PhD in Linguistics, University of California, Santa Cruz (2000, 2003)

PhD dissertation: Opacity and sound change in the Polish lexicon [ PDF ]

Current and Recent Work

Sanders, Nathan, Lex Konnelly, and Pocholo Umbal. 2020. Building equity, diversity and inclusion in courses: A case study in linguistics. Talk given at Faculty of Arts & Science Teaching & Learning Community of Practice, University of Toronto. [ PDF (slides) ]

Namboodiripad, Savithry, and Nathan Sanders. 2020. Centering linguistic diversity and justice in course design. Racial Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Linguistics Curriculum webinar series. Linguistic Society of America. [ info page ] [ PDF (slides) ] [ YouTube (webinar, 1h27m09s) ]

Sanders, Nathan, Pocholo Umbal, and Lex Konnelly. 2020. Methods for increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion in linguistics pedagogy. Talk given at Congrès annuel de l’Association canadienne de linguistique 2020 | 2020 annual meeting of the Canadian Linguistic Association. [ PDF (slides) ] [ PDF (proceedings) ] [ YouTube (talk, 30m16s) ]

Anderson, Catherine, with host Nathan Sanders. Forthcoming. Why we do language acquisition. Word to the Whys podcast episode. TILCoP Canada.

Sanders, Nathan, with host Margaret Grant. 2020. Why we do phonetics. Word to the Whys podcast episode. TILCoP Canada.

Sanders, Nathan, with host Michelle Garcia-Vega. Forthcoming. Why we do historical linguistics. Word to the Whys podcast episode. TILCoP Canada.

Punske, Jeffrey, Nathan Sanders, and Amy V. Fountain, eds. 2020. Language invention in linguistics pedagogy. Oxford University Press.

Punske, Jeffrey, Nathan Sanders, and Amy V. Fountain. 2020. Introduction. In Punske et al. (eds.), Language invention in linguistics pedagogy. Oxford University Press. 1–5.

Sanders, Nathan. 2020. A primer on constructed languages. In Punske et al. (eds.), Language invention in linguistics pedagogy. Oxford University Press. 6–26. [ PDF (early draft) ]

Sanders, Nathan, and Christine Schreyer. 2020. Moving beyond linguistics: The interdisciplinarity of conlangs. In Punske et al. (eds.), Language invention in linguistics pedagogy. Oxford University Press. 169–185.

Sanders, Nathan, Keren Rice, and Naomi Nagy (principle investigators). In progress. Linguistic equity, diversity, and inclusion in the linguistics curriculum and beyond. Learning and Education Advancement Fund project, University of Toronto.

Sanders, Nathan, and Peter Jurgec (principle investigators). In progress. Constructing naturalistic linguistic data for the classroom. Advanced Teaching and Learning in Arts & Science project, University of Toronto.

Sanders, Nathan and Adrian Zhao. In progress. Phonogenesis: An online tool for generating novel phonological data. Website.

Sanders, Nathan. In progress. Linguistics Quick Reference Guide. Concord, ON: Permacharts.

Napoli, Donna Jo, and Nathan Sanders. In progress. Iconicity and biomechanics in the historical reconstruction of sign languages: A case study of the movement parameter in the Old LSF family. [ PDF (draft) ]

Sanders, Nathan. In progress. A modular introduction to phonetics and phonology [tentative title]. Oxford University Press.

Knowles, Rebecca, and Nathan Sanders. In progress. Data driven approaches. In Nancy Ritter and Harry van der Hulst (eds.), Handbook of vowel harmony. Oxford University Press.

Sanders, Nathan. 2018. Articulation versus perception in sign language movement. Invited talk given at Gallaudet University. [ PDF (slides) ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2018. Some issues in the perceptual phonetics of sign language: Motion-in-depth and the horizontal-vertical illusion. Toronto Working Papers in Linguistics 40. Special issue from the CRC-Sponsored Phonetics/Phonology Workshops. [ PDF ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2018. Articulatory and perceptual patterns in sign language lexicons. Keynote speech at the 11th Annual Toronto Undergraduate Linguistics Conference [TULCon11]. [ PDF (slides) ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2018. A case study in teaching linguistics to middle school students with language-based learning differences. Poster presentation in Expanding the Reach of Linguistics: Collaborations with Other Disciplines and Beyond, organized session at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Society of America. [ PDF (poster) ] [ PDF (materials) ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2017. Some issues in the perceptual phonetics of sign language: Motion-in-depth and the horizontal-vertical illusion. Talk given at the 2017 CRC-Sponsored Summer Phonetics/Phonology Workshop at the University of Toronto. [ PDF (handout) ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2017. Scales of effort in sign language articulation and perception. Invited talk at the University of Delaware. [ PDF (slides) ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2017. What sign languages tell us about phonetics: Expanding the notion of articulatory effort. Invited talk at the University of Toronto on joint work with Donna Jo Napoli. [ PDF (slides) ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2017. Constructed languages as a bridge to interdisciplinary teaching. Presentation in Teaching Linguistics with Invented Languages, organized session at the 91st Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. [ PDF (slides) ]

Sanders, Nathan, and Donna Jo Napoli. 2016. A cross-linguistic preference for torso stability in the lexicon: Evidence from 24 sign languages. Sign Language & Linguistics 19(2). 197–231. [ PDF (preprint) ] [ DOI ]

Sanders, Nathan, and Donna Jo Napoli. 2016. Signs of efficiency: Maintaining torso stability affects sign language vocabulary. Natural History 124(9). 28–32. [ PDF ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2016. Constructed languages in the classroom. Language 92(3). e192–e204. [ PDF (preprint) ] [ DOI ]

Sanders, Nathan, and Donna Jo Napoli. 2016. Reactive effort as a factor that shapes sign language lexicons. Language 92(2). 275–297. [ PDF (preprint) ] [ DOI ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2016. nslxIPA. Unicode IPA keyboard layout and documentation. v1.0. [ website ]

Sanders, Nathan, and Donna Jo Napoli. 2015. Active and reactive effort in sign language phonetics. Invited talk for the Tri-Lo Linguistics Lecture Series at Swarthmore College. [ PDF (slides) ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2014. Gradient (dis)harmony: Hidden harmony and anti-harmony. Poster presented at Phonology 2014 (Annual Meetings on Phonology), Massachusetts Institute of Technology. [ PDF (mini-paper) ] [ PDF (poster) ]

Napoli, Donna Jo, Nathan Sanders, and Rebecca Wright. 2014. On the linguistic effects of articulatory ease, with a focus on sign languages. Language 90(2). 424–456. [ DOI ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2006/2014. OTtablx. LaTeX software package and documentation. v0.4. [ website ]

Harrison, K. David, Nathan Sanders, Rachel Killackey, Kathryn Montemurro, and Peter Nilsson. 2012. The Tuvan Machine Translation Project.

Sanders, Nathan, and K. David Harrison. 2012. Discovering new vowel harmony patterns using a pairwise statistical model. Poster presented at the 20th Manchester Phonology Meeting, University of Manchester.

Napoli, Donna Jo, Nathan Sanders, and Rebecca Wright. 2011. Some aspects of ease of articulation in American Sign Language. Invited talk given at Stony Brook University. [ PDF (handout) ]

Sanders, Nathan, and Jaye Padgett. 2009. Exploring the role of production in predicting vowel inventories. Talk given at the 83rd Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. [ PDF (handout) ]

Cerny, Jacob, Christopher Paci, and Nathan Sanders. 2009. Towards a classification of the northern Berkshires dialect of American English. Poster presented at the 83rd Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America. [ PDF (poster) ]

Sanders, Nathan, and Jaye Padgett. 2008. Articulatory parameters in a dispersion-focalization model of vowel systems. Talk given at the UC Santa Cruz Linguistics Alumni Conference. [ PDF (handout) ]

Sanders, Nathan, and Jaye Padgett. 2008. Predicting vowel inventories from a dispersion-focalization model: New results. Papers from the 44th Annual Meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society. [ PDF ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2006. Strong lexicon optimization. Talk given at Umass Phonology Group. [ PDF (handout) ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2004. Opacity from contrast: Neutral segments in harmony systems. Talk given at the 12th Manchester Phonology Meeting, University of Manchester. [ PDF (handout) ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2003. Opacity and sound change in the Polish lexicon. PhD dissertation, UCSC. [ abstract ] [ PDF (defense handout) ] [ PDF (dissertation) ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2002. Dispersion in OT: Color contrast in Middle Polish nasal vowels. WCCFL 21 Proceedings. 415–428. [ PDF ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2001. Preserving synchronic parallelism: Diachrony and opacity in Polish. CLS 37: The Main Session. Papers from the 37th Meeting of the Chicago Linguistics Society. 501–516. [ PDF ]

Sanders, Nathan. 2000. Intra-representational correspondence and the realization of empty morphemes. Qualifying exam paper, UCSC. [ PDF ]

Sanders, Nathan. 1999. Same-edge alignment with opposite-edge effects. Talk given at WCCFL 18. [ PDF (handout) ]

Sanders, Nathan. 1999. Intra-representational correspondence and truncation. Paper given at Linguistics at Santa Cruz. [ PDF ]

Kurisu, Kazutaka, and Nathan Sanders. 1999. Infixal nominal reduplication in Mangarayi. Phonology at Santa Cruz 6. 47–56. [ PDF ]

Hobbies

• boardgames
• TV shows
• photography

Other Links

• my full CV, as of 8 September 2020 (PDF)
• OTtablx (beta version), LaTeX package for drawing OT tableaux
• nslxIPA, keyboard layout for IPA symbols on Macs
• Jonathan Dowse's awesome clickable IPA chart
• linguistics majors and honors theses at Williams College (2006–2012)