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

Brian W. Smith, Linguist


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

My main research interests are phonologically-conditioned allomorphy and ineffability. I also work on variation, metrical stress, and French schwa. You can read more about my past and ongoing research here.

I'm teaching Ling 1 in the Fall. All of the materials for the class are distributed through CCLE.


I'm weeks away from earning my linguistics PhD from UMass Amherst. Before UMass, I attended Rutgers University in NJ, where I studied French and Linguistics.

My non-academic interests include classic films, graphic novels, and art, both traditional and digital.

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].