Author Archive for McLing

P* Reading Group,

In this week’s P* Reading Group on Wednesday (Nov. 1), 11am-12pm in Room 117, Gasper Begus, a PhD student visiting from Harvard University, will present a talk entitled, “What can unnatural processes tell us about typology?
” The abstract is below. Everyone is welcome!

One of the most contested debates in phonology concerns identifying factors that affect typology. Two lines of thought emerge in this discussion: Analytical Bias (AB) and Channel Bias (CB) approach. Disambiguating between Analytic and Channel Bias influences on typology is complicated by the fact that several proposals assume learning biases (AB) crucially influence the frequency and directionality of sound change (CB). In this talk, I argue that this “duplication problem” is substantially reduced in the case of unnatural alternations. I present a model that estimates CB influences on typology based on a statistical technique non-parametric bootstrap called Bootstrapping Sound Changes (BSC). For any synchronic alternation, the BSC technique estimates the probability that the alternation arises based on the number of sound changes it requires and their respective probabilities. With the BSC technique, we can compare Historical Probabilities of attested and unattested alternations and perform inferential statistics on the comparison, predict (un)attestedness in a given sample for any alternation, and derive quantitative outputs for a typological framework that models both Channel Bias and Analytical Bias influences together. The BSC technique also identifies several mismatches in typological predictions of Analytic and Channel Bias approach. By comparing these mismatches with the observed typology, the paper attempts to quantitatively evaluate the distinct contributions of diachronic and synchronic factors on phonological typology.

Syntax reading group, 11/03

Join us this Friday at 10am for our Syntax meeting in room 117 of the Linguistics building. Jessica Coon will be presenting joint work with Stefan Keine in their paper “Feature Gluttony and Hierarchy Effects”.

Abstract:

This paper offers a new take on a family of hierarchy-effect inducing configurations, including (i) PCC effects (Anagnostopoulou 2005; Nevins 2007), (ii) dative-nominative configurations (Sigurdsson & Holmberg 2008), and (iii) certain copula constructions (Coon, Keine, & Wagner, to appear). Following previous work, we take these configurations to arise in contexts in which two accessible DPs are in the same domain as a single agreeing probe (Béjar & Rezac 2003; Anagnostopoulou 2005). Standard accounts of these hierarchy effects attribute them to failures of nominal licensing, in particular, a Person Licensing Condition (Béjar & Rezac 2003; Preminger 2017). We argue instead that these effects are better understood as arising from properties of probes. We offer a new account which captures commonalities and differences across these constructions, both in terms of the types and specifications of the features involved, as well as in the result of hierarchy violations and their possible repairs.

All are welcome!

MLML Lab Meeting, 10/24

The Montreal Language Modeling Lab is holding weekly meetings starting this semester to discuss topics related to computational and quantitative linguistics. Meetings are held on Tuesday evenings 5:30pm-7:30pm in Room 117, and light food is provided. Email Emily (emily.kellison-linn@mail.mcgill.ca) to be added to the mailing list. In this week’s meeting on Tuesday (Oct. 24), Bing’er will present the 10-minute version of her first eval paper on the perception of tonal register contrast in Chinese Wu dialects, followed by a discussion of Kleinschmidt et al. (2011), “A Bayesian belief updating model of phonetic recalibration and selective adaptation,” Association for Computational Linguistics. All are welcome, but please RSVP if not on the mailing list.

P* Reading Group, 10/25

In this week’s P* Reading Group on Wednesday (Oct. 25), 11am-12pm in Room 117, Bing’er will lead a discussion of Richter et al. (in press). “Evaluating Low-Level Speech Features Against Human Perceptual Data”. Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics. Everyone is welcome!

WORDS Group, 10/27

The WORDS Group will be meeting on Friday 27th October, at McGill, Dr. Penfield Ave. 1085 (room 117) at 1pm-2.30pm. This session will take place in the shape of a Mini Workshop on Person, where we will discuss various examples of morphologically complex pronouns that we have come across.

Everyone is welcome to attend!

McGill to present at NELS 48

McGill’s linguists will present at NELS 48 on 27-29th October 2017, which is hosted by the University of Iceland, in Reykjavík, Iceland. Here is a list of their presentations:

  • Bernhard SchwarzOn the locus of question exhaustification.
  • Daniel GoodhueA minimal theory of verum focus and context dependent bias in questions.

The program can be found here.

P* Reading Group, 10/18

In this week’s P* Reading Group on Wednesday (Oct. 18) 11 am -12 pm in Room 117, Emily will lead a discussion of Dmitrieva et al. (2015). ”Phonological status, not voice onset time, determines the acoustic realization of onset f0 as a secondary voicing cue in Spanish and English”. Journal of Phonetics,49, 77-95.
Everyone is welcome!

Syntax reading group, 10/20

The Syntax reading group is meeting this Friday, October 20th at 10am in room 117 of the Linguistics building. Our speaker of the week is Justin Royer with a talk titled “Towards a unified account of noun classifiers in Chuj (Maya).”

All are welcome!

WORDS Group, 10/20

The WORDS Group will be meeting on Friday 20th October, at McGill, Dr. Penfield Ave. 1085 (room 117) at 1pm-2.30pm. Gabe Daitzchman will present the first three chapters of Harbour (2016) and also data on Hebrew and Nama.

Reading: Harbour, Daniel. (2016). Impossible Persons. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Everyone is welcome to attend!

Semantics Research Group, 10/20

The Semantics Research Group will be meeting Friday, October 20th in room 117 from 15h-16h30. Bernhard Schwarz will be presenting a talk in preparation for NELS, titled “On the locus of question exhaustification”. The abstract and some suggested reading is below.

Abstract:
Heim (1994) argued that wh-questions are systematically ambiguous between non-exhaustive (Hamblin 1973, Karttunen 1977) and exhaustive (Groenendijk and Stokhof 1984) readings. Question exhaustivity has been credited to a syntactically represented operator, with two different views regarding its position: (i) “high exhaustification” applies to the question meaning as a whole (Heim 1994, Beck and Rullmann 1999); (ii) “low exhaustification” applies in the wh-question nucleus, below the wh-phrase (Guerzoni & Sharvit 2014, Nicolae 2015). I will offer an argument that only high exhaustification exists.

Suggested reading: Nicolae , Andreea: 2015. Questions with NPIs. Natural Language Semantics, Volume 23, Issue 1, pp 21–76

P* Reading Group, 10/11

In this week’s P* Reading Group on Wednesday (Oct. 11) 11 am -12 pm in Room 117, Jiaer will lead a discussion of Kim et al. (2012). ”How does context play a part in splitting words apart? Production and perception of word boundaries in casual speech “. Journal of Memory and Language,66/(4).
Everyone is welcome!

Fieldwork lab, 10/13

We’re having our next Fieldwork meeting at 10am this upcoming Friday October 13th in room 117 of the Linguistics building, where graduate student Masashi Harada will be leading our discussion.

Everyone is welcome!

WORDS Group, 10/13

The WORDS Group will be meeting on Friday 13th October, at McGill, Dr. Penfield Ave. 1085 (room 117) at 1pm-2.30pm. Gabe Daitzchman will present on Ackema & Neeleman (2013):

  • Ackema, Peter, and Neeleman, Ad. (2013). Person features and syncretism. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 31(4). 901-950.

Everyone is welcome to attend!

Semantics Research Group, 10/13

The semantics research group will be meeting on Friday the 13th October in 117 at 15h. Chris Bruno will be presenting an article from the recent special edition of Linguistics & Philosophy on numerals: Jefferson Barlew’s “Focus on Numbers”.

Syntax Group, 10/06

We’re having our second Syntax reading group meeting at 10am this upcoming Friday October 6th in room 117 of the Linguistics building. Everyone is welcome!

WORDS Group, 10/6

The WORDS Group will be meeting on Friday 6th October, at McGill, Dr. Penfield Ave. 1085 (room 117) at 1pm-2.30pm. Lisa Travis will present her joint work with Ileana Paul on Malagasy pronouns. The suggested reading is:

  • Zribi-Hertz, Anne and Liliane Mbolatianavalona. 1999. Towards a modular theory of linguistic deficiency: Evidence from Malagasy personal pronouns. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 17: 161–218.

Everyone is welcome to attend!

P* Reading Group, 9/27

In this week’s P* Reading Group on Wednesday (Sep. 27) 11 am -12 pm in Room 117, Jeff will lead a discussion of Frost (2011). ”Stress and cues to relative prominence in English and French: A perceptual study”. Journal of the International Phonetic Association,(41/1).
Everyone is welcome!

WORDS Group, 9/29

The WORDS Group will be meeting on Friday 29th September, at McGill, Dr. Penfield Ave. 1085 (room 117) at 1pm-2.30pm. The focus of this meeting will be on discussing the paper ‘Decomposing Pronouns’ by R-M. Dechaine and M. Wiltschko (2002; Linguistic Inquiry 33(3), p.409-442), presented by Tom Leu.

Everyone is welcome to attend!

Fieldwork Lab meeting, 9/29

The Fieldwork Lab will be meeting on Friday September 29th, from 10-11am in room 117. Discussion will be guided by Prof. Lisa Travis and will focus on a particularly daunting fieldwork experience (relevant reading is Zribi-Hertz & Mbolatianavalona’s paper on Pronouns) as well as the data pattern from Malagasy among other related topics.

All are welcome!

Sonderegger, Bane and Graff in the news

The recent paper in Language by Sonderegger, Bane and Graff (The Medium-Term Dynamics of Accents on Reality Television) has been discussed in the press. Morgan Sonderegger has been interviewed for CTV News, as well as CBC News. The latter piece also includes Charles Boberg discussing the Montreal accent. Coverage of the paper has also appeared in the McGill Newsroom and the LSA press release.

Congratulations to the authors for this success!

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