Marisa Brook

Assistant Professor
Department of Linguistics
University of Toronto

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I'm an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto. Most of my research lies within the framework of variationist sociolinguistics and is thus centered on spotting and interpreting patterns of language variation and change.

I'm primarily interested in morphosyntactic/discourse-pragmatic phenomena, especially their trajectories over time. A central theme of my research is the envelope of variation and what we can learn about it from linguistic shifts that are interdependent, overlapping, or otherwise linked. I have a penchant for variables of subordination: complementizers, relative clause markers, quotative verbs, etc. For more details, see my research output and/or current projects.

Previously I was at the University of Victoria (2017-18) and Michigan State University (2016-17). Before that, I earned my Ph.D. in linguistics – also from the University of Toronto – in 2016.


I can't get enough of linguistics, but I do have other interests. I enjoy reading and writing, academically and otherwise. On a recreational basis, I'm also into graphic design, music composition, sewing and knitting, and a handful of semi-outdoorsy activities. There are also a few PC strategy games from the 1990s that still entertain me to no end, at least when I allow myself to play them.

I've been on the staff of Damn Interesting (which is exactly what it sounds like) since mid-2006. I'm also a proud alumna of the SHAD program for high-school students. My Erdős number is 4.

I have something of an iced-tea habit. If the previous sentence is any indication, I also have something of a penchant for understatement.

Pronunciation of my first name

Prescriptive: /mə'ɹisə/

Descriptive: Considerable variation. Attested alternative variants include /mə'ɹɪsə/ (exemplar effect), /'maɹsijə/ or /maɹ'sijə/ (metathesis), /'maɹʃə/ (metathesis and palatalisation), /mə'ɹizə/ (intervocalic voicing), and the impressive /'mɔnjə/ (still unexplained). In other words, the way you pronounced it just now did not faze me (p < 0.01).