Lecturer of Linguistics

Toni came to UVM in 2014. She works on the phonology-morphology interface in Zulu, along with dialectal differences between the Zulu spoken in urban townships around Durban, vs. the variety spoken in rural areas around the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa.
She received her Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania in 2013, with a dissertation focusing on a Zulu verb doubling process known as reduplication, and using new data to support a derivational approach to how morphology and phonology interact in the language. After completing her Ph.D. she had a two-year postdoctoral position in Durban, South Africa, where she was well situated to collect sociolinguistic data from a wide range of Zulu speakers. Most significantly, this included a fieldwork trip throughout KwaZulu-Natal in which she and two native Zulu speakers conducted sociolinguistic interviews to build up a corpus with a cross-section of gender, education, and age.
Toni is currently working on projects on the urban-rural split in reduplication, changes in tonal domains in Durban Zulu, and the realization of the ‘ng’ variable.
Languages spoken:
English (native)
French (highly proficient in speaking, reading, writing)
Zulu (highly proficient in speaking, reading, writing)
German (elementary studies)
Abo, Itawes (elicitation)


Awards and Recognition

2015 Fieldwork Grant from University of KwaZulu-Natal
2011–2012 Foreign Language Area Studies Academic Year Fellowship
2011 Foreign Language Area Studies Summer Fellowship
2011 Dean’s Summer Fellowship, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania
2008 Fulbright-Hays Summer Group Project Abroad
2007 Presidential Prize Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania
2006–2011 Benjamin Franklin Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania
Professor Toni Cook

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

  • The morphology-phonology interface in Nguni (Southern Bantu)
  • Dialectal variation in Zulu
  • Derivational approaches to phonological and morphological interaction
  • Tonal variation and the realization of tonal domains in Zulu
  • Non-canonical divisions between ‘prestige’ and ‘non-prestige’ dialects



  • Ph.D. Linguistics, University of Pennsylvania


  • (802) 656-4996
Office Location:

501 Waterman

Office Hours:

Fall 2019: MW 2:15-3:30

Courses Taught

  • LING 081: Structure of the English Language
  • LING 080: Introduction to Linguistics
  • LING 095: Introductory Special Topics: Introduction to Writing Systems
  • LING 096: Introductory Special Topics: Introduction to Writing Systems
  • LING 165: Phonetic Theory and Practice
  • LING 169: Phonology and Morphology
  • LING 195: Intermediate Special Topics: Contact Languages and the Slave Trade
  • LING 196: Intermediate Special Topics: Historical Linguistics
  • LING 196: Intermediate Special Topics: Semantics