University of Calgary

Elizabeth Ritter

  • Professor
  • Graduate Program Director SLLLC

Graduate Program in Linguistics

Dr. Ritter is the Graduate Program Director (Linguistics). For questions regarding graduate studies in Linguistics, please refer to the website or e-mail

Research Interests

Currently Teaching

Not currently teaching any courses.


My research focuses on syntactic structure, its morphological composition, and its contribution to lexical semantics. To date my work has been based on data from a variety of languages including English, Blackfoot, Hebrew, Haitian Creole, and French. In current research, I am exploring tenselessness, and its implications for clause structure in Blackfoot.


I regularly teach required graduate and undergraduate courses in syntax, including Linguistics 301, 401, 611 & 711, as well as Linguistics 201, Introduction to Linguistics.

PhD Supervision

Gebregziabher, Keffy, PhD, 2012 (expected).  Topic:  Possession in Tigrinya.
Welch, Nicholas, PhD, 2012 (expected).  Topic:  Copula verbs in Dogrib.
Mezhevich, Illana, PhD, 2006.  "Featuring Russian Tense:  A feature-theortetic account of the Russian tense system"
Wilhelm, Andrea, PhD, 2004.  "The Grammatization of Telicity and Duravity in Dene Suline (Chipewyan) and German"

MA Supervision

Meadows, Kimberley, MA, 2010.  "On the Role of Sentience in Blackfoot: Evidence from the Accompaniment and Associative Constructions"
Bliss, Heather, MA, 2005.  "Formalizing Point of View in Blackfoot"
Hanson, Rebecca, MA, 2003.  "Why Can’t We All Just Agree? Animacy and the Person Case Constraint"
Abel, Jennifer, MA, 2002.  "That Crazy Idea of Jen's: The English Double Genitive as Focus Construction"
Baggaley, Valerie, MA, 1999.  "The Syntactic Category of Pronouns"
Karpacheva, Olga, MA, 1999.  "The Case of Russian Predicate Adjectives"
Sawai, Naomi, MA, 1997.  "An Event Structure Analysis of Derived Verbs in English"
Watai, Fumiko, MA, 1996.  "Two Subject Positions and a Functional Category Predicate"
Carpenter, Rebecca, MA, 1992.  "The semantics of get"

BA Supervision

Johansson, Sara, BA Hons, 2009.  "A syntactic analysis of Blackfoot -attsi causatives"

Papers & Handouts

"Possessors as Arguments:  Evidence from Blackfoot" Ritter, E and S T Rosen
Paper presented at the Workshop on Nominal Dependents, Banff, May 2010
Revised version presented at 42nd Algonquian Conference, MUN, October 2010 and LSA, Pittsburgh, January 2011

"Animacy in Blackfoot:  Implications for event structure and clause structure" Ritter, E and S T Rosen
Appears in Malka Rappaport-Hovav, Edit Doron and Ivey Sichel, eds "Syntax, Lexical Semantics and Event Structure" Part II, Chapter 7, Oxford/New York, Oxford University Press.

"A comparison of theme marking in Blackfoot and Nishnaabemwin" Bliss, H, E Ritter and M Wiltschko
Paper presented at a Workshop associated with WSCLA 15, Ottawa, 2010

"Speaker certainty, event realization and epistemic modality in Siksika Blackfoot" Bliss, H and E Ritter
Paper - May 12, 2009

"Varieties of INFL:  Tense, location and person"  Ritter E and M Wiltschko
Appears in Jeroen van Craenenbroeck and Henk van Riemsdijk, eds "Alternatives to Cartography"  pp 153-202, Berlin:  Mouton de Gruyter

"Determinants of split intransitivity in Blackfoot:  Evidence from verbs of emission" Johansson, S and E Ritter
Paper presented at the 40th Annual Angonquian Conference, Univerity of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis, October 2008

"How PERSON pervades Blackfoot grammar.  And why" Ritter, E and M Wiltschko
Paper presented at the 40th Annual Angonquian Conference, Univerity of Minnesota-Twin Cities, Minneapolis, October 2008

"Plurality in languages without a count-mass distinction"  Nakanishi, K and E Ritter
Paper presented at Mass-Count Workshop, University of Toronto, February 2008

"Alternatives to tense in Blackfooot and Halkomelem"  Ritter E and M Wiltschko
Appears in proceedings of WSCLA12 Working Papers in Linguistics, pp 114-125, 2007

"Grammaticalizing information status in Siksika Blackfoot:  A tenseless analysis"  Bliss, H and E Ritter
Appears in proceedings of WSCLA12 Working Papers in Linguistics, pp 178-191, 2007

"Anchoring events to utterances without tense"  Ritter, E and M Wiltschko
Proceedings of WCCFL 24, Sommerville, MA, Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Cascadilla Press, pp 343-351, 2005

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