Monthly Archive for January, 2013

Ergativity Lab — 1/29

Ergativity Lab will have its real first meeting this Tuesday at 10am in room 117. Robert will lead discussion about developing the section of our ergativity questionnaire dealing with the source of absolutive case. If you need a refresher, be sure to read Julie Legate’s 2008 paper on “Morphological and Abstract Case.” You can email Robert if you need a copy.

Syntax-Phonology Research Group – 1/30

Syntax-Phonology Research Group

Wednesday, January 30, 4 p.m. in room 117.

Topic: Two papers by Michal Starke:
i) Nanosyntax: A short primer to a new approach to language
ii) Towards an elegant solution to language variation: Variation reduces to the size of lexically stored trees

Discussion led by Máire Noonan

NACLO 2013: January 31 2013

NACLO, the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad is a fun and educational contest  for students in grades 6-12 in which you will solve linguistics problems from a variety of languages (natural and artificial).  No prior knowledge of linguistics or any particular language is required.  All you need to bring is your curiosity and enthusiasm!

As we did last year, McGill will  be hosting NACLO this year. The first round of the contest will take place on Thursday, January 31, from 10am to 1pm at McGill University (Sign in starting 9.15am, room to be announced).  Students who perform well on the first round will be invited back for a second round, to take place on March 13.  The winners of the invitational round will be eligible to represent North America at International Linguistics Olympiad. More information about NACLO can be found at at the general website for NACLO or download the 2013 handbook.

 

TOM 6 Abstract Deadline: February 1

As we announced before, TOM 6 will take place this year at McGill. This is a friendly reminder that the abstract deadline for TOM 6 is February 1 2013.

TOM is a friendly and informal workshop on semantics and related fields. It is an ideal venue for students to present their ongoing work to get helpful feedback. The talks will be 20 minutes long, followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

Abstracts should be maximum one page in length, with at least one-inch margins and 12 point fonts (Times or equivalent).Send your abstract to the contact person in your area:

Toronto/Hamilton: Michela Ippolito <michela{dot}ippolito{at}utoronto{doc}ca>

Ottawa: Ana Arregui <aarregui{at}uottawa{dot}ca>

Montreal: Junko Shimoyama <junko{dot}shimoyama{at}mcgill{dot}ca>

Meeting organizers:
Luis Alonso-Ovalle
Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron
Gretchen McCulloch
Marzieh (Sepideh) Mortazavinia
Junko Shimoyama

Syntax/Semantics Reading Group Feb. 1

Syntax-Semantics Reading Group

Friday, February 1, 3 p.m. in room 117.

Junko Shimoyama and Luis Alonso-Ovalle will present “Ignorance in the Nominal Domain. Japanese Whka Indeterminates” in preparation for their WCCFL 31 presentation.

All welcome.

 

 

 

Call for UNDERGRAD papers and presenters still open!

The 2013 version of McCCLU (the McGill Canadian Conference for Linguistics Undergraduates) is still in search of students who would be interested in presenting original research. The presentations will be from March 15th to 17th. Click here to submit an abstract.

Additionally, the inaugural edition of the undergraduate journal is always in search of papers, whether previously submitted for a class (with a grade of A- or better) or not. Email cellardoorjournal@gmail.com with your papers!

Pictures from Friday night’s dinner

The dinner party after Kai von Fintel’s colloquium last Friday was a a lot of fun. Special thanks to Oriana, Sasha and Sepideh for making this party a possibility. Here are some pictures taken by Bernhard.

Ling Lunch is searching for presenters!

Ling Lunch, a weekly meeting which gives people in the McGill linguistics community an informal forum to present works in progress, is starting up again in February. Meetings are Wednesdays, 1-2pm in Linguistics 117. We are still looking for presenters, so please let us know if you’d like to present something on any of the following dates below by emailing us at: linglunch@gmail.com

Feb 13th
Feb 20th
Mar 13th
Mar 27th
Apr 3rd
Apr 10th

Thanks,

Fiona for the Ling Lunch team

Ling Lunch is searching for presenters!

Ling Lunch, a weekly meeting which gives people in the McGill linguistics community a forum to present works in progress, is starting up again this semester in the coming weeks.

The meetings have been scheduled for Wednesdays, 1-2pm.  We are looking for people to present!  Please let us know if you’d like to present something on any of the dates below by emailing us at:linglunch@gmail.com
Jan 23rd
Jan 30th
Feb 6th
Feb 13th
Feb 20th
Feb 27th
Mar 13th
Mar 20th
Mar 27th
Apr 3rd
Apr 10th
Thanks,
-Jeff for the Ling Lunch team

Colloquium: Kai von Fintel (MIT) – 1/25

Speaker: Kai von Fintel (MIT)
When: Friday, 1/25 at 3:30 pm
Where: Education 433
Title: Hedging your ifs and vice versa

Abstract: (For an explanation of this abstract click this link.)

How does the word “if” help things we say mean what they mean? It can work together with other words like “maybe” and “probably” to make things we say less strong. But how does it do that?

Many people have tried to find out how this works, but we will show that they face a big problem when one looks at people talking to each other and pointing to things the other said.

Can we do better?

Alternate Abstract:

We show that the interaction of probability operators and conditionals is even more problematic than previously realized. We try to rescue the restrictor approach (Lewis-Kratzer) to “if”-clauses. Do we succeed?

Call for UNDERGRAD papers & presenters

The 2013 version of McCCLU (the McGill Canadian Conference for Linguistics Undergraduates) is still in search of students who would be interested in presenting original research. The presentations will be from March 15th to 17th. Click here to submit an abstract.

Additionally, the inaugural edition of the undergraduate journal is always in search of papers, whether previously submitted for a class (with a grade of A- or better) or not. Email cellardoorjournal@gmail.com with your papers!

Syntax-Phonology Research Group – 1/16

When: Wednesday 1/16 at 4 pm.

Where: rm 117

What: We will finish up with Jonathan Bobaljik’s Universals in Comparative Morphology, the last two chapters.

Ergativity Lab – 1/17

Ergativity Lab will have its first meeting of the semester this Thursday, Jan 17th at 2:30pm in room 002. We’ll be laying out the roadmap for our meetings this semester. Robert will also lead discussion on a paper presented by Julie Legate at the LSA on the source of ergative agreement.

Call for UNDERGRAD presenters / papers: McCCLU / Cellar Door

The 2013 version of McCCLU (the McGill Canadian Conference for Linguistics Undergraduates) is in search of students who would be interested in presenting original research. The presentations will be from March 15th to 17th. Click here to submit an abstract.

Additionally, the inaugural edition of the undergraduate journal is in search of papers, whether previously submitted for a class (with a grade of A- or better) or not. Email cellardoorjournal@gmail.com with your papers!

Syntax-Semantics Reading Group – 1/18

When: 1/18, 3:00 – 4:30pm

Where: room 117

What: Kratzer, Angelika (2012)Modals and conditionals: New and revised perspectives, Chapter 4 Conditionals, Oxford Univ. Press.

Walter Pedersen will present the first half of the chapter.

This is a preparatory reading for Kai von Fintel’s colloquium talk on Friday, Jan. 25 “Hedging your ifs and vice versa” (Joint work with Thony Gillies).

 

McCulloch and Hamilton present at SSILA

PhD students Gretchen McCulloch and Michael Hamilton presented on January 3 at the Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the Americas (a sister society of the LSA). The event is held concurrently with the annual LSA meeting in Boston. Gretchen’s talk was titled “Preverb Ordering in Mi’gmaq”. Mike’s talk was titled “Against Non-Configurationality in Mi’gmaq”. Both were  part of a focussed session on Algonquian syntax.

McKillen presents at ConSOLE XXI

PhD student Alanah McKillen presented at the 21st Conference of the Student Organization of Linguistics in Europe at the University of Potsdam in Germany on 1/11. The title of Alanah’s talk is “Processing ACD and De Re/De Dicto Ambiguity”. Find the abstract here.

TOM 6 at McGill

The Linguistics department of McGill University will host the Sixth Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal Semantics Workshop (TOM 6) on Saturday, March 23, 2013.

Invited Speakers:

Michela Ippolito (University of Toronto)

Raj Singh (Carleton University)

TOM is a friendly and informal workshop on semantics and related fields. It is an ideal venue for students to present their ongoing work to get helpful feedback. The talks will be 20 minutes long, followed by 10 minutes of discussion.

Abstract Deadline: February 1, 2013

Abstracts should be maximum one page in length, with at least one-inch margins and 12 point fonts (Times or equivalent).Send your abstract to the contact person in your area:

Toronto/Hamilton: Michela Ippolito <michela{dot}ippolito{at}utoronto{doc}ca>

Ottawa: Ana Arregui <aarregui{at}uottawa{dot}ca>

Montreal: Junko Shimoyama <junko{dot}shimoyama{at}mcgill{dot}ca>

Meeting organizers:

Luis Alonso-Ovalle

Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron

Gretchen McCulloch

Marzieh (Sepideh) Mortazavinia

Junko Shimoyama

Website: https://sites.google.com/site/tom6mcgill/

Sonderegger and Keshet (2012) on automatic phonetic measurement

A new paper co-authored by Morgan Sonderegger has appeared.  Congratulations!

Sonderegger, Morgan and Joseph Keshet. “Automatic discriminative measurement of voice onset time using discriminative structured prediction.” Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 132.6 (2012): 3965–3979.

http://link.aip.org/link/?JAS/132/3965

A discriminative large-margin algorithm for automatic measurement of voice onset time (VOT) is described, considered as a case of predicting structured output from speech. Manually labeled data are used to train a function that takes as input a speech segment of an arbitrary length containing a voiceless stop, and outputs its VOT. The function is explicitly trained to minimize the difference between predicted and manually measured VOT; it operates on a set of acoustic feature functions designed based on spectral and temporal cues used by human VOT annotators. The algorithm is applied to initial voiceless stops from four corpora, representing different types of speech. Using several evaluation methods, the algorithm’s performance is near human intertranscriber reliability, and compares favorably with previous work. Furthermore, the algorithm’s performance is minimally affected by training and testing on different corpora, and remains essentially constant as the amount of training data is reduced to 50–250 manually labeled examples, demonstrating the method’s practical applicability to new datasets.

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