CFL Receives 1 UTSC Teaching Award and 3 Student Research Awards

Professor Snejina Sonina wins the UTSC Teaching Award, and linguistics students Monica Shah, Abdulwahab Sidiqi and Janessa Tam receive the UTSC Library Undergraduate Research Prize

UTSC Linguistics students Monica Shah, Abdulwahab Sidiqi and Janessa Tam received the UTSC Library Undergraduate Research Prize for 2017 in recognition of outstanding undergraduate research. Monica and Abdul worked jointly on "What Do You Hear? Lexical Bias in Sibilant Perception", and Janessa worked on "Language Switch Costs in Code-Mixed Latin-Chinese Sentences". Both projects involved students conducting their own novel psycholinguistic experiments and both were supervised by Prof. Philip J. Monahan.

There were only three awards across the entire UTSC campus, and students from UTSC Linguistics won two of them. Each award comes with a $1000 cash prize.

The Research Advisory Board and UTSC Library were impressed with the students’ research projects and activities, along with their utilization of library resources in their research and the students’ overall contribution to the campus.

Snéjina, Janessa, Monica and Abdul were presented with their awards at the Celebration of Distinguished Services on May 25, 2017.

Professor Snejina Sonina has won the UTSC Teaching Award for 2017. Only two awards were given across the entire campus in the Assistant Professor/Lecturer category.

“During the presentation of the Teaching Awards, Vice-Principal Academic & Dean, William Gough, awarded part-time lecturer Snejina Sonina. Professor Gough mentioned during his speech that Sonina was, in fact, making history at UTSC, being the first part-time lecturer to ever receive the award.” ( )

While teaching language and linguistics courses at UTSC, Snejina developed her original pedagogical approach that integrates her knowledge of linguistics and didactics with her interest in history and culture. Her courses include discovery-based learning through authentic documents, literary texts and game-like activities, as well as experimental projects and practices involving her copyrighted pictographic phonetic alphabet (licensed in 2013). All of Snejina’s courses are multifaceted and interdisciplinary, especially the course that she created in 2016, History of the French Language, in which she combines history, culture, literature, art, and even music, to teach linguistics. 

Snejina has been able to develop truly interdisciplinary courses because she holds several post-graduate degrees in different areas of specialization – Romance Philology, French literature, and Medieval Studies – all of which reinforce her main specialization in French Linguistics. She is currently working on her Master’s degree in Classics and plans on combining her improved knowledge of Ancient Greek and Latin with earlier studies in chemistry and medicine, in order to create a novel interdisciplinary course on scientific and medical terminology.

Her publications range in subject from French fashion terminology ( to Indo-Slavic comparative studies ( but during the last five years her research has been focused on semiotics and didactics:

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