3122C Campbell Hall | brianwsmith "at" ucla.edu
Brian W. Smith, Linguist

Brian W. Smith, Linguist

Latest updates

I presented a poster about the English indefinite article and allomorphy at MFM23. My poster can be downloaded here: bws_mfm_23.pdf.


Welcome! I'm a phonologist and lecturer at the UCLA Department of Linguistics.

I work on the phonology-morphology interface, especially phonologically-conditioned allomorphy and ineffability. I'm also interested in models of variation, metrical stress, and French schwa. You can read more about my past and ongoing research here.

All of the materials for my current classes are distributed through CCLE. Office hours are Wed 10-11, Wed 1-2, and by appointment.

Current office hours are Mon, Tues, Thurs 10AM-11AM.


I went to graduate school at UMass Amherst. I defended my dissertation in August 2014, but still need to file. Before UMass, I attended Rutgers University, where I studied French and Linguistics.

I come from South Jersey, specifically the Jersey Shore, where people say things like "jimmies", "shoobies", "hoagies", and "water ice".

The English of coastal South Jersey is close to Philadelphia English, but different in some interesting ways. Its most remarkable feature is the number of phonological processes that relate to L: heavy L-vocalization/deletion, post-L flapping, intrusive-L, and a lot of pre-L vowel mergers. For speakers from South Jersey, these are all homophonous pairs: cow/cowl, caw/call, melded/melted, drawling/drawing, colt/cult, fool/full. These processes can accumulate to result in some fun (and to others incomprehensible) differences. My favorite examples are the pair 'malty' and 'gaudy', which rhyme: [mɔɾi] and [gɔɾi], and the pair 'coldest' and 'cultist', which are homophonous: [kɔ:ɾəst].

My non-academic interests include classic film, music, and art, both traditional and digital.