Professor of Linguistics
University of Pennsylvania

Address: Department of Linguistics University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104-6305
Office: 615 Williams Hall; and also Linguistics Laboratory, 3810 Walnut Street
Phone: (215) 898-6909; 898-4912
Fax: (215) 573-2427
Email: gsankoff at OR gillian at

Research Interests:  Language change and variation; language change across the lifespan; pidgins and creoles; second language acquisition; French; Tok Pisin; Buang, Austronesian.

Undergraduate Chair, Department of Linguistics

Office hours, 615 Williams Hall: Tuesday 1:15 - 3 p.m.

Fall Semester, 2011

This semester I am offering two courses for credit:

Linguistics 054. Bilingualism in History (Freshman Seminar) - Tues/Thurs 9 - 10:20 a.m.

Linguistics 440. Pidgins and Creoles - Tues/Thurs 10:30 - 11:50 a.m.

Current major research project: "Language Change Across the Lifespan"


A Selection of Papers, 2001 - 2011

Sur les traces de m’as en français québécois de 1971 à 2001. Sankoff, Gillian, & Pierrette Thibault. In Martineau, France, & Terry Nadasdi, eds. Le français en contact: Hommages à Raymond Mougeon. Presses de l'Université Laval. In press, to appear September 2011. (The document posted here is a pdf file of the final manuscript).

Age grading in the Montréal French inflected future. Wagner, Suzanne Evans, & Gillian Sankoff. Language Variation and Change 22 (3). In press, to appear September 2011. (The document posted here is a pdf file of the final manuscript).

A quantitative analysis of diphthongization in Montreal French. MacKenzie, Laurel, & Gillian Sankoff. 2009. University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics 15 (2): 92-100.

Language Change across the Lifespan: /r/ in Montreal French, Gillian Sankoff & Hélène Blondeau. 2007. Language. Language change across the lifespan: /r/ in Montreal French. Language 83, 3: 560-88.

Age grading in retrograde movement: the inflected future in Montréal French, 2006. Gillian Sankoff & Suzanne Evans Wagner. Penn Working Papers in Linguistics 12 (2): 203-16. (This is a preliminary version of Wagner & Sankoff 2011, which supersedes it)

Age: Apparent time and real time, Elsevier Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, Second Edition, 2006. Article Number: LALI: 01479. (The document posted here is a pdf file of the final manuscript)

Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Studies   In Ammon, Ulrich, Norbert Dittmar, Klaus J. Mattheier, and Peter Trudgill, eds. (2005), An International Handbook of the Science of Language and Society, Volume 2, 2. Berlin: de Gruyter, pp.1003-1013. (The document posted here is a pdf file of the final manuscript)

Adolescents, young adults and the critical period: two case studies from Seven Up. 2004.  In Carmen Fought, ed., Sociolinguistic Variation, Oxford University Press, pp. 121-139. A case study of Short A and Short U for two British speakers from age 7 - 35, as documented in the film series directed by Michael Apted ( The document posted here is a pdf file of the manuscript as originally submitted for publication.

Linguistic Outcomes of Language Contact. In Chambers, Jack, Peter Trudgill and Natalie Schilling-Estes (eds.), Handbook of Sociolinguistics, Blackwell 2001, pp.638-668.