John Archibald has been a Professor in the Department of Linguistics at UVic since 2010. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2020.


(Thanks to my buddy and fellow Banff School of Fine Arts alumnus Steve Thamer for his dulcet tones!)

He is an affiliated researcher in the Bilingualism Research Lab at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He was the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities at UVic from 2010-2015. His area of research specialization is second language speech, where he has focused on the role of phonological theory in explaining the properties of second language sound systems. He has probed the acquisition of new features, segments, syllable structure, and stress. Broadly viewed, his research addresses (a) Plato’s Problem (how we come to know what we know about language based on impoverished input), (b) Orwell’s Problem (how we remain resistant to certain knowledge in the presence of abundant input), and (c) what he has termed Escher’s Problem (the problem of augmented reality in which we hear things which are not actually present in the input signal – e.g., illusory vowels); all three of these constructs are central to understanding the mental representation which is the foundation of L2 speech.

Prior to coming to Victoria, he was Head of the Department of Linguistics and Director of the Language Research Centre at the University of Calgary. His role at the LRC saw him involved with many government policy studies, as well as much outreach work with bilingual schools (teachers, students, parents, psychologists) about aspects of bilingual education. He was the writer of a video on the benefits of bilingualism which was distributed to every school in Alberta. He is a former President of the Canadian Linguistic Association, and has been on adjudication committees for SSHRC and NSF. He has received research grants from SSHRC (currently holding one investigating L3 phonology) and from CFI. He was co-editor, with William O’Grady, of Contemporary Linguistic Analysis ( 9th edition recently published), and he still enjoys teaching introductory linguistics. In addition to Intro, and Second Language Acquisition, he regularly teaches The Evolution of Language; Language and Thought; and Child Language Acquisition.

His c.v. is here: ArchibaldCV.

Oh yes, he  is a member of the Christ Church Cathedral Guild of Bellringers.