Photo of Randall Gess

Randall Gess

Professor (Applied Linguistics & Language Studies/French)

Degrees:B.A. (University of Texas), M.A. (University of Texas), Ph.D. (University of Washington)
Phone:613-520-2600 x 2332
Office:1618 Dunton Tower


I joined the faculty of Carleton University in 2007, after holding positions in the Departments of Linguistics and Languages & Literature at the University of Utah since 1995. Carleton’s School of Linguistics and Language Studies is the perfect place for me, as I have interests paralleling much of the diverse work that goes on here. My research focuses primarily on phonological theory and on the interface between phonetics and phonology, particularly as evidenced in phonological change (historical sound change). My language of focus has been French, ranging from the very earliest pre-French (Gallo-Romance) periods all the way to current varieties of the language spoken in North America, and I have recently developed an interest in the phonology of Haitian Creole. I have a number of years’ experience as a foreign language teacher (French at the University of Texas and the University of Washington, and English at the Université de Nice), and during my long tenure at the University of Utah I taught both theoretical and applied linguistics, and was involved with language teacher education for both foreign language teachers (Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish) and teachers of English as a Second Language.


Current course information for this faculty member can be found by searching the Carleton Central/Public Schedule by Term and Name.

Courses previously taught

  • LING 2001: Phonetics
  • FREN 4414: Analyse du français
  • FREN 5001: Théories linguistiques françaises

Research Interests

  • Phonological theory
  • Historical phonology
  • Phonetics/phonology interface
  • Second language phonology
  • French linguistics
  • Romance linguistics
  • Second language teaching
  • Language teacher education

Recent Publications


Gess, Randall, Chantal Lyche and Trudel Meisenburg. 2012. Phonological Variation in French: Illustrations from Three Continents. Studies in Language Variation, 11. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins. vii, 387 pp. + index.

Gess, Randall and Deborah Arteaga (eds.). 2006. Historical Romance Linguistics: Retrospective and Perspectives. Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 274. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Gess, Randall and Edward J. Rubin (eds.). 2005. Theoretical and Experimental Approaches to Romance Linguistics. Selected Papers from the 34 th Linguistic Symposium on Romance Languages (LSRL), Salt Lake City, March 2004. Current Issues in Linguistic Theory, 272. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Articles and book chapters:

Boutin, Béatrice Akissi, Randall Gess and Gabriel Marie Gueye. 2012. French in Senegal after three centuries: A phonological study of Wolof speakers’ French. Phonological Variation in French: Illustrations from Three Continents. Randall Gess, Chantal Lyche and Trudel Meisenburg (eds.), 45-71. Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins.

Gess, Randall. 2012. Compensatory lengthening in Old French: The Role of the Speaker. Research on Old French: The State of the Art, Deborah Arteaga (ed.), 87-105. Dordrecht: Springer.

Gess, Randall. 2011. Compensatory lengthening. The Blackwell Companion to Phonology, 5 vols. Marc van Oostendorp, Colin J. Ewen, Elizabeth Hume and Keren Rice (eds.). Vol. 3, Chapter 64. Malden, MA & Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Gess, Randall. 2009. Reductive sound change and the perception/production interface. Canadian Journal of Linguistics 54: 229-253.

Gess, Randall. 2009. Teaching presentational cleft constructions in French: When to do it and how to do it. Southern Journal of Linguistics 33: 1-23.

Gess, Randall. 2008. More on (distinctive!) vowel length in historical French. Journal of French Language Studies 18: 175-187.

Gess, Randall. 2006. The myth of phonologically distinctive length in historical French. In Gess & Arteaga (2006), 53-76.

Gess, Randall. 2004. Phonetics, phonology and phonological change in Optimality Theory: Another look at the reduction of three-consonant sequences in Late Latin. Probus 16: 21-41.


  • Canadian Association for Applied Linguistics
  • Canadian Linguistic Association
  • Linguistic Society of America
  • Society for Pidgin and Creole Linguistics