Author Archive for McLing

Sonderegger presents at U of T

Morgan Sonderegger visited the University of Toronto last Friday, where he gave two talks: “The dynamics of sounds on reality television”, as a department colloquium, and “Voice onset time: automatic measurement and corpus studies”, in a joint meeting of the Phonetics/Phonology Group and the Psycholinguistics Group.

McGill Presenters at SALT 23

On May 3rd to May 5th, a number of McGill post-docs, faculty and alumni will present at the 23rd Semantics And Linguistic Theory (SALT 23). Luis Alonso-Ovalle will present a joint poster with Paula Menendez-Benito titled “Modal determiners and alternatives: Quantity and ignorance effects”. Robert Henderson will present a poster “Quantizing scalar change”. Gwendolyn Gillingham (BA ’07) will present a talk called “Focusing on unlikely accented nominals: Context, alternatives and implied expectations”. And Edwin Howard (BA ’09) will present a talk titled “Superlative degree clauses: evidence from NPI licensing”. Congratulations all!

McGill Presenters at GASLA 12

On April 26th to April 28th, a number of McGill students and faculty presented at the 12th Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition (GASLA 12). Mordecai Lieberman presented a talk titled “The impact of transferred prosodic structures on L2 morphological comprehension”. Guilherme Garcia presented a poster “Stress patterns in English and Brazilian Portuguese: Proposing an accuracy ranking based on weight and syllabic structure”. Jeffrey Klassen presented a poster called “Acquisition of English focus prosody: Evidence from native speakers of Spanish”. And Lydia White presented a talk as part of a special workshop on applying generative SLA to the language classroom. The talk was called “Implications of generative second language research for language teaching: overview and assessment”. Congratulations all!

Syntax/Semantics Research Group 4/26

Who: Alan Bale

When: Friday 4/26, 3 pm

Where: room 117

What: Some differences between ignorance and scalar implicatures.

Background reading: Chierchia, Fox & Spector (2013)

Syntax-Semantics Research Group 


Bouchard wins Arts Insight Dissertation Award

The Arts Committee on Graduate Students has awarded David-Etienne Bouchard the 2013 Arts Insight Dissertation Award, for the best McGill dissertation of 2012 in the social sciences.  Congratulations, David-Etienne!

Syntax-Phonology Research Group meeting — 4/3

Wednesday, April 3, 4-5:30 p.m. in room 117.

Glyne Piggott will present:

Chains or Strata? The Case of Maltese by Paul Kiparsky (2011)

Syntax-Semantics Reading Group – 4/5

Who: Erica Yoon (Cog. Sci. Honors, ARIA)

What: Practice talk for CLS on “Testing the two grammar hypothesis for Korean: Scopal interaction of object QPs and negation”, joint work with Junko Shimoyama.

Where: Room 117

When: Friday, April 5th, 3:00 pm

Background Reading: Click here

More info on Syntax Semantics reading group




McGill Presenters at TOM 6

On Saturday, March 23rd a number of McGill graduate students will present talks and posters at the 6th Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal Semantics Workshop to be held in the Ballroom of Thomson House at 3650 McTavish street. Alanah McKillen will present a talk on “Processing ACD and de re/de dicto ambiguity”. Sepideh Mortazavinia will present a talk on “‘Even’ and ‘only'”. Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron will present a talk on “Even and almost even: teasing apart Spanish ni and ni siquiera“. Dan Goodhue will present a poster on “The meaning of intonation in responses to yes/no questions”. Michael David Hamilton will present a poster on “Scope and reconstruction in Mi’gmaq”. Gretchen McCulloch will present a poster on “Modal indefinites in Mi’gmaq”. And Sasha Simonenko will present a poster on “Semantics of the DP-island effects in Germanic”. To see the complete program, follow this link.

Ling Lunch 3/13 – Mike Hamilton

When: Wednesday 3/13 1:00–2:00 pm in room 117

Who: Michael Hamilton

What: Phrase structure in Mi’gmaq: A Configurational account of a “Non-configurational” language. This is the departmental presentation of Michael Hamilton’s second evaluation paper.

Also, below are the talks for the rest of the term. Please contact us at if you’d like to present.

March 20 – TOM practice talks/posters (unconfirmed)
March 27 – Beamer workshop (unconfirmed)
April 3 – TBA*
April 10 – TBA*
April 17 – Lauren Eby Clemens (Harvard University)

Syntax-Semantics Reading Group – 3/15

Who: Brendan Gillon

What: Complement polyvalence and polyadicity

Where: Room 117

When: March 15, 3:00pm

Background reading: Implicit complements: A dilemma for model theoretic semantics

Garcia presents a talk and a poster at the UD Conference on Stress and Accent

On November 29 to December 1, Guilherme Garcia presented a talk and a poster at the UD Conference on Stress and Accent at the University of Delaware. Both were joint work with Natália Guzzo. The talk was titled “Considerations on Brazilian Portuguese stress assignment in derivations”. The poster was titled “Prominence in sequences of clitics and its relation to stressed words.” To see the program, click the link above. Great work, Guilherme!

McGill presenters at MOT

On March 15 – 17 a number of McGill students and faculty will each present at MOT, the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto Phonology Workshop. Morgan Sonderegger will be presenting joint work with James Kirby titled “A model of population dynamics in phonetic change”. Brian Buccola will present a talk titled “A mathematical demonstration that classic Optimality Theory is expressively weaker than ordered rewrite rules”. Visitor Kevin Russell and post-doc Tanya Slavin  will present “Predicting sandhi effects from syntactic structure in Plains Cree” and Heather Goad and Akiko Shimada will present “Blackfoot /s/”. For a pdf of the schedule, follow this link.

Okuma and Su present at PsychoShorts

On March 1st, Tokiko Okuma and Jiajia Su presented at the PsychoShorts Conference at the University of Ottawa. The title of Tokiko’s talk was “L2 acquisition of the OPC in Japanese by L1 English and L1 Spanish speakers”. The title of Jiajia’s talk was “The Definiteness Effect in the L2 English of Chinese Learners”. For more information, follow the link above. Great work, Toki and Jiajia!

Colloquium: Kevin Russell (U of Manitoba/McGill) – March 1

Speaker: Kevin Russell (U of Manitoba/McGill)

When: Friday, March 1 at 3:30 pm

Where: Education Building, room 433

Title: When phonology goes bad

AbstractThe consensus on dyslexia, to the extent there is one, is that the core deficit lies in the reader having poor phonological representations or poor ability to use their phonological representations. Yet most dyslexic readers show no obvious problems in using phonology during everyday speaking and listening.

This talk addresses the question of what it could possibly mean for a phonological representation to be poor. It synthesizes current findings in spoken word recognition and the development of phonological categories in infants and young children, to determine what the phonological representations of beginning readers are probably like and how, in some, they can be adequate for spoken communication but still be a poor match for the assumptions of an alphabetic orthography.

Register for TOM to be held at McGill

The Linguistics department of McGill University will host the Sixth Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal Semantics Workshop (TOM 6). If you plan to attend, you must register. To register, click this link.

When: 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. Click here for more info.

Colloquium: Jennifer Cole (U of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) – 2/22

Speaker: Jennifer Cole (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)

When: Friday, February 22nd, 3:30 pm

Where: Education room 433

Title: Memory for Prosody

Abstract: Lacking the automatic playback of audio recording devices, humans recall a previously heard utterance on the basis of a cognitive representation of the linguistic object encoded in memory. When repeating or imitating a heard utterance, this representation serves to guide the phonology and phonetics of the spoken output. A number of recent studies show that the memory encoding of perceived speech includes (sub‐phonemic) phonetic detail that reflects the individual speaker’s voice and variation in the phonetic implementation of phones. The study presented in this talk asks about the memory encoding of prosody: Does the cognitive representation of the prosodic form of a heard utterance specify the abstract phonological features that encode pitch‐accents and prosodic phrase boundaries? Does it include speaker‐and utterance‐dependent phonetic detail?

Two different production tasks are used to explore the prosodic aspect of these representations: an imitation experiment in which speakers heard and then imitated spontaneous utterances from a Maptask corpus, and a read enactment task in which speakers read the same sentences aloud from text presentation. For each task, the resulting utterances were compared for similarity to the original Maptask utterance in their phonological prosodic features (prominences and boundaries) and in acoustic measures of the phonetic cues to those features. The main empirical findings from these studies are (i) imitators reproduce the phonological prosodic features more reliably than their specific phonetic cues, and (ii) the prosodic form of read‐enacted utterances is phonologically and phonetically more variable across speakers than with imitated utterances. These findings, considered in the context of our ongoing work on prosody perception, support a complex model of prosody encoding: Listeners encode prosody in terms of both phonetic detail and abstract prosodic features, but abstract features play a privileged role in later tasks involving recall for reproduction.

Syntax-Phonology Reading Group, Thursday 2/14

Exceptionally meeting on Thursday 2/14 at 11h35, room TBA

Topic:  The nanosyntax of Nguni noun class prefixes and concords  by Knut Tarald Taraldsen, LINGUA, vol. 120.6pp. 1522–1548

Discussion led by Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron.

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 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
Jan 23rd
Jan 30th
Feb 6th
Feb 13th
Feb 20th
Feb 27th
Mar 13th
Mar 20th
Mar 27th
Apr 3rd
Apr 10th
-Jeff for the Ling Lunch team

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.

Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.