The Semantics Research Group will be meeting on Friday April 28. Linmin Zhang (from Concordia) will be presenting a practice talk of her upcoming SALT presentation. Title and abstract to follow.
Author Archive for McLing
- Vincent Rouillard – Minimize Restrictors! Beyond Definite Descriptions
- Francesco Gentile – A new presuppositional semantics for how many-questions
- Chris Bruno – Contrastive negation and alternatives
- Invited speaker: Prof. Junko Shimoyama – On Inverse Trace Conversion and the maximal informativeness analysis of Japanese internally-headed relative clauses (joint work with Keir Moulton, Simon Fraser University)
- Invited speaker: Prof. Luis Alonso-Ovalle – Against the Odds: On the Modal Component of the Ability/Involuntary Action Verbal Inflection in Tagalog (joint work with Henrison Hsieh (McGill University)
Please join us for an afternoon Bantu Workshop, to celebrate the end of this semester’s Bobangi Field Methods class. There will be presentations by some of the undergraduate and graduate students, our Bobangi consultant Mpoke Mimpongo (UQAM), and invited speaker Jenneke van der Wal (Harvard). All talks will take place in McGill Education Building, room 216. The schedule is below–all are welcome!
12:30–12:45 – Paige Palenski, Syntactic structure of clausal negation in Bobangi
12:45–1:00 – Benjamine Oldham, Object marking in Bobangi: A pronominal incorporation analysis
1:00–1:15 – Renata Masucci, Tone in Bobangi
1:15–1:30 – Paulina Elias, Object asymmetry in Bobangi
1:30–1:45 – BREAK
1:45–2:00 – Sara Carrier-Bordeleau, Verbal reduplication in Bobangi
2:00–2:15 – Jasmine Zhang, Vowel sandhi in Bobangi
2:15–2:30 – Emily Kellison-Linn, Intonation of polar questions and declarative statements in Bobangi
2:30–2:45 – Yeong Park, High boundary tone in Bobangi
2:45–3:00 – Rosie Barnes, Agent nominalizations in Bobangi
3:00–3:15 – BREAK
3:15–3:45 – Mpoke Mimpongo (UQAM), TBA
3:45–4:45 – Invited Speaker – Jenneke van der Wal (Harvard University)
Title: Investigating focus marking in Luganda and Lingala
Abstract: While it is admittedly difficult to investigate information structure in an unfamiliar language, in this talk I hope to show that there are some manageable diagnostics for focus that can be applied in elicitation. Based on data from Luganda and Lingala I show why the discoveries about focus marking in Bantu languages are crucial for understanding both the synchronic analysis and the diachronic development of focus. (full abstract)
Morgan Sonderegger was part of one of 14 teams internationally receive funding through the Trans-Atlantic Platform Digging into Data Challenge. Charles Boberg and Michael Wagner are also also collaborators on the project. You can learn more about the project in the McGill Reporter:
The project, SPeech Across Dialects of English (SPADE): large-scale digital analysis of a spoken language across space and time, is led by an international team: Jane Stuart-Smith, University of Glasgow, Sonderegger, and Jeffrey Mielke, North Carolina State University, and will analyze 43 existing datasets of both Old World (British Isles) and New World (North American) English, including many private datasets held by “data guardians.”
Meghan will be traveling to London to give three presentations at the Workshop on Speech Perception and Production across the Lifespan, held at University College London April 26–27th. These include:
- Sarah Colby, Meghan Clayards & Shari Baum: “Top-down and bottom-up perceptual learning for speech is maintained in older adults”
- Elizabeth Wonnacott, Anastasia Giannakopoulou, Helen Brown & Meghan Clayards: “High or Low? Comparing high- and low variability phonetic training in adult and child second-language learners”
- Sarah Colby, Victoria Poulton & Meghan Clayards: “Inhibition predicts lexical competition in older adults’ spoken word recognition”
The full program is available here.
Jessica is returning this week from San Jose, where she spent the weekend at Silicon Valley Comic Con. She gave a public lecture, “The Linguistics of Arrival: Aliens, Fieldwork, and Universal Grammar”, and participated on a panel for women in STEM. She also met some interesting characters:
Recently, she was featured on the BBC Radio 4’s “The Film Programme”. Up-to-date Arrival-related media is on her website.
McGill linguists are attending the Fourth Workshop on Sound Change on 19-22 April, 2017, at the University of Edinburgh, to present their work:
- Morgan Sonderegger, Michael McAuliffe, Hye-Young Bang: Segmental influences on F0: cross-linguistic and interspeaker variability of phonetic precursors
- Hye-Young Bang, Morgan Sonderegger, Meghan Clayards: Speaker variability in cue weighting for laryngeal contrasts: the relationship to sound change
The 2017 Canadian Linguistics Annual Undergraduate Symposium (CLAUSE̥) took place this past weekend at Concordia University. Talks by McGill linguists included:
- Teresa Addo – Overcoming perceptual illusions: Ultimate attainment by Japanese-speaking learners of English
- Sara Carrier-Bordeleau – Orphan prepositions as DP ellipsis
- Sarah Mihuc – Effects of focus and word order in Kabyle
- Victoria Poulton, Sarah Colby, Meghan Clayards – Investigating influences of working memory and inhibition on lexical frequency effects in older adults
- Clea Stuart – Where the Malagasy adverbs are
There were also two workshops, led by current and former McGill students Sonia Massi and Emilio Assuncao, as well as a plenary talk by McGill PhD (’08) Heather Newell (UQÀM).
Henrison Hsieh presented collaborative work with Luis Alonso-Ovalle at the 24th meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (AFLA 24), which took place this past weekend at the University of Washington in Seattle. The title of their talk was “Anchored implicatives: Tagalog ability/involuntary action“.
Jessica travels to Amherst later this week to give a colloquium talk at UMass. The title of her talk is: “Building verbs in Chuj: Consequences for the nature of roots”.
Tim O’Donnell was in Leiden last week for the The Comparative Biology of Language Learning workshop, held at the Lorentz Center April 3–7. He gave a talk Thursday, title and abstract below:
Bayesian Program Learning of Morphophonological RulesBoth children and linguists confront a similar problem of inference:given utterances produced by speakers, together with aspects of themeaning of those utterances, discover the grammatical principles thatrelate form to meaning. We study this abstract computational problemwithin the domain of morphophonology, contributing a computationalmodel that learns phenomena from many natural languages andgeneralizes in humanlike ways from data used in behavioral studies ofartificial grammar learning.Our work draws on two analogies. The child-as-linguist analogy holdsthat both children and linguists must solve the same abstractinductive reasoning problem, even though the nature of the input dataand underlying mental algorithms are surely different in precisedetail. Accordingly we isolate the problem of learningmorphophonological systems, and show that a single solution to thisproblem can capture both linguistic analyses from natural languagesand infant rule learning of artificial languages. We adopt theframework of “Bayesian Program learning” (BPL) – in which learning isformulated a synthesizing a program which compactly describes theinput data. This learning-as-programming analogy lets us exploitrecent techniques from the field of program synthesis to inducemorphophonological rules from data. While child-as-linguist poses thecomputational problem, learning-as-programming offers a solution.
BA Honours student Lydia Felice presented a poster at the 48th Annual Conference on African Linguistics (ACAL 48), which took place March 31-April 2 at Indiana University Bloomington. Her poster, based on her Honours thesis work, was titled “On the State Distinction and Case in Kabyle Berber”.
This issue of the journal Glossa includes an article by Jessica Coon and Lizzie Carolan (BA ’14): ‘Nominalization and the structure of the progressives in Chuj Mayan’. The full article is available on the Glossa page.
The 2017 Canadian Linguistics Annual Undergraduate Symposium (CLAUSE̥) is coming up this weekend, April 7th–9th, at Concordia University. Though the full program is still TBA, several McGill students will be presenting. We’ll report back with more info next week, or check the website for program updates.
Michael served as an ‘opponent’ on Matthijs Westera‘s thesis defense in Amsterdam last week at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation Universiteit van Amsterdam. The thesis is titled “Exhaustivity and Intonation. A Uni fed Theory“. While there, Michael also presented a paper on “Prosodically marking focus and givenness: What a purely pragmatic account needs to account for” in a satellite workshop to the event.
Monday March 20, 4-5.30 (Education Building, Room 434)