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Svetlana Kaminskaïa

Associate Professor

Svetlana Kaminskaï
519-888-4567 x32465
Office: ML 337

  • B.A. (Hons) French Studies, Minsk State Linguistic University (Belarus), 1997
  • M.A. French Studies, Minsk State Linguistic University (Belarus), 1998
  • M.A. French Studies, The University of Western Ontario (Western University), 1999
  • PhD French Studies, The University of Western Ontario (Western University), 2006


I was born in Belarus, where I completed my undergraduate and M.A. studies at Minsk State Linguistic University, studying languages and their structure. I came to Canada as a graduate exchange student and then decided to further pursue my passion for study of intonation and French dialects. My PhD research dealt with intonational differences between Canadian French (Quebec City region) and European French (Troyes region) in spontaneous speech. Using the normalization procedure, which allowed me to compare voices of different qualities, I particularly studied the realization of a rising contour and found dialectal markers that create surface prosodic variation in the two dialects.

I enjoy going for walks, gardening and swimming with my family.

Research and teaching interests

  • Prosodic variation in Canadian and European French
  • French in contact
  • General and French phonology
  • General and French phonetics
  • Dialectal variation in French
  • Sociolinguistics

Current projects

Since coming to Waterloo, I developed a research program that focuses on French spoken in Ontario in a minority setting (Windsor region); it expands to rhythmic variation, social and stylistic variation, and various aspects of intonational variation (e.g. alignment and scaling). These analyses also include a comparison with dialects of French spoken in majority settings in Ontario, Quebec and France. One of the main goals of this research agenda is to provide a thorough comparative description of the prosody of Ontario and Quebec French dialects.

Selected publications

  • 2016. Interplay of sociolinguistic factors in rhythmic variation in a minority French dialect. Actes de Speech Prosody 2016.

  • 2016. Variation intonative en français minoritaire en Ontario: portrait général et alignement du pic mélodique. Neuphilologische Mitteilungen. 261-284.

  • 2016. Syntax-prosody interface: a case study of enumerations. In de Villiers, J. (ed.) Proceedings of the 41st Forum of the Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States, August 6 - 9, 2014, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.  

  • 2015. Kaminskaïa, S., J. Tennant et A. Russell. Prosodic rhythm in Ontario French. Journal of French Language studies. CJO 2015  doi:10.1017/S0959269515000307

  • 2015. L’apport du débit à l’étude du rythme phonétique à l’aide des mesures rythmiques : une étude de deux variétés du français laurentien. Faits de langues 45 : 161-185.

  • 2015. Tonal patterns, associations and alignment of peaks in regional French. WORD 60 (1): 101-140.

  • 2014. Quantification of speech rhythm in Canadian French in a minority setting. The Italian Journal of Linguistics/Rivista di Linguistica 26(1): 93-134.

  • 2014. Alignment of high tones in regional French: a case study. Linguistica Atlantica 33: 19-29.
  • 2014. Kaminskaia, S. et P. Caxaj-Ruiz. Compétences discursives de locuteurs du français L1 et L2 en contexte minoritaire.  La Revue du Nouvel-Ontario 39 : 165-193.

  • 2014. Kaminskaia, S., Kliashchuk, M., Poiré, F., Porteous, J. et K. Tsedryk (dir.).Cahiers Linguistiques d’Ottawa/ Ottawa Papers in Linguistics 39. Proceedings of the 16th Bilingual Workshop in Theoretical Linguistics. Department of Linguistics: University of Ottawa.

  • 2014. Caxaj-Ruiz, P. et S. Kaminskaïa. Les usages de comme chez les locuteurs natifs et chez les étudiants universitaires venant du programme d'immersion française en contexte minoritaire. In Kaminskaïa, S., Poiré, F., Kliashchuk, M., Tsedryk, K. et J. Porteous (eds.) Cahiers Linguistiques d’Ottawa/ Ottawa Working Papers in Linguistics 39. Special issue. Proceedings of Bilingual Workshop in Theoretical Linguistics.  Department of Linguistics: University of Ottawa. Available online (PDF).

  • 2013. Intonation of Ontario French in a minority setting: a study comparing two age groups. The French Review 87.2: 107-127.
  • 2013. Kaminskaïa, S., Tennant, J. et A. Russell. Approaches to Analyzing Prosodic Rhythm in Language Contact: French in Ontario. In Barysevich, Alena, D’Arcy, Alexandra et David Heap. Proceedings of Methods 14: Papers from the Fourteens International Conference on Methods in Dialectology, 2011. Peter Lang, Bamberg Series. 3-13.

  • 2013. Le timing des pics mélodiques en français spontané en milieu minoritaire. In Proceedings of the 2012 Canadian Linguistic Association Annual Conference, ed. Paula Caxaj-Ruiz, 11 pages.
  • 2012. Language maintenance and tonal variation in French in contact. In S. Calamai, C. Celata et L. Ciucci (dir.), Proceedings of 'Sociophonetics, at the crossroads of speech variation, processing and communication', Pisa, December 14th-15th, 2010. Pisa: Edizioni della Normale. ISBN (online version) 978-88-7642-434-2. Pages 33-36. 
  • 2012. Kaminskaïa, S. et F. Poiré. Prosodie du français laurentien en milieu minoritaire: le corpus Windsor. In Simon, A. C. (dir.) La variation prosodique régionale en français. Chapitre 8. Bruxelles: De Boeck, coll. “Champs linguistiques”, pp. 159-178.

Awards and achievements

  • Lois Claxton Humanities and Social Sciences Award, 2014 - 2016
  • UW/SSHRC Research Grant, 2011 - 2012
  • SSHRC SRG (Principal Investigator, co-applicant Dr. Jeff Tennant, UWO), 2010 - 2011
  • UW/SSHRC Research Grant, 2009 - 2010
  • UW/SSHRC Research Grant, 2007 - 2008

Selected professional and community affiliations

  • Canadian Linguistic Association
  • Laboratory Phonology
  • Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States
  • Société de linguistique romane
University of Waterloo