UBC Department of Linguistics
2613 West Mall
Vancouver, British Columbia
My dissertation explores the internal and external syntax of nominal expressions in Blackfoot, a Plains Algonquian language spoken in Southern Alberta. Blackfoot is a polysynthetic language with extensive verb morphology, pro-drop, and variable ordering of nominal expressions and their modifiers. I am investigating the factors that condition the appearance and ordering of the elements that comprise nominal expressions with a view to understanding their role in the syntax. To this end, I am concerned with issues including: the (prosodic and syntactic) constituency of nominal expressions, the syntax and semantics of argument-licensing verb morphology (e.g. proclitics, relative roots, agreement), and argument structure and grammatical roles (e.g. ditransitives, applicatives, and bare nouns).
I have been doing linguistic fieldwork on Blackfoot since 2003, and in addition to my dissertation research, I have researched a range of topics related to Blackfoot grammar, including the direct/inverse system, obviation, cross-clausal agreement, aspect and modality, information structure and focus particles, phonological variation, and soundless vowels.
In addition to Blackfoot, I have done fieldwork and research on Shona, a Bantu language, Douglas Lake Okanagan, a Southern Interior Salish language, and Turkish. My interests in Shona are largely centered around issues related to argument structure and its interface with information structure, with a specific focus on applicatives, the passive, topicalization, and expletives. My work on Douglas Lake Okanagan focused on the phonetics and phonology of pharyngeal segments, and my research on Turkish focused on the syntax and semantics of bare nouns.
My full CV can be found here.
2005 MA, University of Calgary
Thesis: Formalizing Point-of-View: The Role of Sentience in Blackfoot's Direct/Inverse System
Supervisor: Dr. Elizabeth Ritter
Bliss, Heather, Elizabeth Ritter, and Martina Wiltschko. 2012. Blackfoot Nominalization Patterns. Paper presented at the 44th Algonquian Conference. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago, October 25-28, 2012. [handout]
Bliss, Heather. 2012. A Split DP Analysis of Blackfoot Nominal Expressions. Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Linguistic Association. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfred Laurier University, May 26-28, 2012. [handout]
Bliss, Heather. 2012. How Not to Draw a Tree in Blackfoot. Guest Lecture for Linguistics 432/532, Field Methods. [handout]
Gick, Bryan, Heather Bliss, Karin Michelson, and Bosko Radanov. 2011. Articulation without Acoustics: “Soundless” Vowels in Oneida and Blackfoot. Journal of Phonetics 40: 46-53.
Bliss, Heather, Elizabeth Ritter, and Martina Wiltschko. 2011. A Comparative Analysis of Theme Marking in Blackfoot and Nishnaabemwin. In Macaulay, Monica and Rand Valentine (eds). Papers of the 42nd Algonquian Conference. [pre-print version]
Bliss, Heather. 2010. Blackfoot ikak-: A Case Study in “only” and “even.” Paper presented at MOSAIC 2. Montreal: McGill University, June 1, 2010. [handout]
Bliss, Heather. 2010. Argument Structure, Applicatives, and Animacy in Blackfoot. In Bliss, Heather, and Raphael Girard (eds). Proceedings of the 13th and 14th Workshop on the Structure and Constituency of Languages of the Americas. UBC Working Papers in Linguistics, Volume 26.
Bliss, Heather, and Jennifer Glougie. 2010. Speaker Variation and the Phonetic Realization of Blackfoot Obviation Morphology. In Bliss, Heather, and Raphael Girard (eds). Proceedings of the 13th and 14th Workshop on the Structure and Constituency of Languages of the Americas. UBC Working Papers in Linguistics, Volume 26.
Bliss, Heather. 2009. Comparing APPLs and Oranges: The Syntax of Shona Applicatives. In Ojo, Akinloye, and Lioba Moshi (eds). Select Proceedings of the 39th Annual Conference on African Lingusitics. Cascadilla. [unpublished extended version, UBC Qualifying Paper]
Bliss, Heather. 2009. Structuring Information in Blackfoot: Against an A’-Agreement Analysis of Cross-Clausal Agreement. Proceedings of the 2008 Canadian Linguistics Association Annual Conference.
Bliss, Heather. 2009. Desperately Seeking Syntax: Evidence for A-Movement in Blackfoot’s Direct/Inverse. Unpublished manuscript, UBC.
Bliss, Heather, and Elizabeth Ritter. 2009. Speaker Certainty, Event Realization, and Epistemic Modality in Siksiká Blackfoot. Unpublished manuscript, UBC and University of Calgary.
Bliss, Heather. 2007. Object Agreement in Blackfoot: Sentient and Non-Sentient Controllers. In Wolfart, H.C. (ed). Papers of the 38th Algonquian Conference.
Bliss, Heather. 2005. Topic, Focus, and Point-of-View in Blackfoot. In Alderete, John, Chung-hye Han, and Alexei Kochetov, eds. Proceedings of the 24th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics. Cascadilla Proceedings Project: 61-69.
Linguistics 201, Linguistic Theory and Analysis (Introduction to Syntax and Semantics)
Linguistics 300, Studies in Grammar(Intermediate Syntax)