Our Team

Our team is made up of an interdisciplinary group of faculty at the University of Toronto, our collaborators in the US, research associates and graduate and undergraduate student assistants.

This collaboration brings together expertise in the areas of phonetics, morphosyntax, child language acquisition, bilingualism and statistics.


Prof. Laura Colantoni

Principal Investigator

Prof. Laura Colantoni is Professor of Spanish Linguistics in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Toronto. Prof. Colantoni’s research explores the interplay between variability and categorization in the phonetics and phonology domain. She has worked on sound change and on bilingual populations including second language learners.
Her work has concentrated on Romance languages, Spanish and French in particular, but more recently, she has investigated the acquisition of English segmental and prosodic phonology by speakers from a variety of languages.


Prof. Ana Teresa Pérez-Leroux

Co-Principal Investigator

Prof. Ana T. Pérez-Leroux is Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at the University of Toronto, with appointments in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and the Department of Linguistics. Prof. Pérez Leroux’s work on child language acquisition examines the development of sentence complexity and the acquisition of functional elements and related meaning contrasts. Her work focuses on the developmental interactions across different cognitive and language domains; and on the study of language development in bilingual children and the design of relevant language assessment strategies.


Prof. Danielle Thomas

Research Officer

Danielle Thomas (PhD, 2012) is the Project Manager of Bilinguals in Toronto, with a research background in child and adult bilingualism. She has over 10 years of professional experience as a teacher, administrator and outreach director for projects in the areas of language, bilingualism, and the provision of social services in Canada, the US, and Ghana.




Prof. Susana Bejar

Prof. Susana Bejar is Assistant Professor at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto. Prof. Bejar specializes in the morphology and syntax of phi-features (person, number, gender), in particular agreement systems and restrictions. Her work examines how the structure of featural systems determines how forms of agreement are expressed, with agreement failure playing an especially significant role in the derivation of complex morphological agreement patterns.


Prof. Alejandro Cuza

Prof. Alejandro Cuza is Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at the School of Language and Cultures at Purdue University. Prof. Cuza’s research focuses on the acquisition of Spanish morphosyntax and semantics among second language learners, heritage speakers and young bilingual children. He has worked on child bi-literacy development, and language contact and change in Spanish in the U.S.


Prof. Elizabeth Johnson

Prof. Elizabeth Johnson is Professor of Psychology at the University of Toronto/Mississauga. Prof. Johnson is a developmental psychologist with deep ties to the field of linguistics, and a Tier II CRC in Spoken Language Acquisition. Her research encompasses early language development, including infant word recognition, acquisition of connected speech processes, how perception of variability (accents and dialects) impacts early development and on the developmental links between early perception and production.


Prof. Natalia Mazzaro

Prof. Natalia Mazzaro is Associate Professor of Spanish and Linguistics at University of Texas/El Paso. Prof. Mazzaro’s research is in sociolinguistic variation across monolingual and bilingual varieties of Spanish, and in languages in contact with Spanish. Her work focuses on both phonetics and morpho-syntax and the interaction between them, and includes issues like phonetic accommodation.


Prof. Jessamyn Scherz

Prof. Jessamyn Scherz is Assistant Professor at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Toronto. Prof. Scherz is a phonetician whose work aims to gain a better understanding of how we perceive and produce speech sounds. She has conducted studies in phonetic cue weighting and phonetic variation, loanword phonology, and differences in segmental perception in bilinguals and monolinguals.

Research Associates


Irina Marinescu

Irina Marinescu received a Ph.D. in Hispanic Linguistics from the University of Toronto and specialize in phonetics and language acquisition of phonology. I work on the effects of the native dialect on the perception and production of L2 vowels and I am interested in language variation in Spanish and other Romance languages.


Yadira Alvarez

Yadira Alvarez tiene un Doctorado en Lingüística Hispánica de la Universidad de Toronto (2019) con especialización en sintaxis. Sus intereses de investigación son la estructura de argumentos y su realización, la estructura de los eventos, y su representación sintáctica, y en general, en la interfaz de entre sintaxis y fonología.  En la actualidad esta trabajando en la concordancia en español.

Research Assistants


Jeremy (Jierui) Yang

Jeremy (Jierui) Yang is an undergraduate student, having completed a major in cognitive science and a double minor in computer science and mathematics. He is now working on an unofficial linguistic major in his final year. His research interest lies in computational linguistics, language acquisition, and cross-situational learning frameworks.


Natalia Rinaldi

Natalia Rinaldi is a PhD candidate in Hispanic Linguistics at the University of Toronto. Her research interests are syntax, semantics, child language acquisition, language variation, and psycholinguistics.


Laura Escobar

Laura Escobar is a second-year linguistics undergraduate student. Her research areas of interest include Syntax, Bilingualism, and language change.


Eng. Miguel Barreto

Miguel Barreto is an Electrical Engineer and hold an MSc in Applied Statistics and MSc (c) in Electrical Engineer with a data science background.
His research interests include statistical models, machine learning, natural language processing, mathematical & computational linguistics, signal processing, and reproducible research. His role in the project is statistical consultant.