Archive for the 'Reading groups' Category

WORDS Group, 05/29

The Word Structure Research Group will meet Tues May 29th with two CLA practice talks:

  • Richard Compton – Inuit φ-markers as the exponence of agree: Evidence from granularity, default forms
  • Johnatan Nascimento – The beginning of transformation: A nanosyntactic account for parasynthetic verbs in Brazilian Portuguese

Future meetings will be listed on the research group website here (https://wordstructure.org/meetings/) or if you want to receive announcement through email please write to lisa.travis@mcgill.ca. MEETINGS DURING THE SUMMER WILL BE TUES, 10:30-12, DS-3470 AT UQAM.

Invited speaker (Alexandre Cremers) at the Semantics Research Group – May 23rd & 25th

Alexandre Cremers will be visiting and is giving two talks in the semantics research group. They will take place on May 23rd and 25th at 3pm in 117. Details below. All are welcome!

 

Wednesday, May 23, Title: Testing the QUD sensitivity of modified numerals

Abstract: Modified numerals, such as “at least 3” or “less than 5”, tend to trigger ignorance inferences. Geurts&Nouwen (2007) famously argued that these ignorance inferences are stronger with superlative “at least” than with comparative “more than”, and proposed a modal denotation for “at least” which semantically encoded the ignorance inference. Since then, competing accounts have been proposed which aim to derive all ignorance inferences as implicatures, keeping very simple denotations for “at least” and “more than”. In this talk, I will first present experimental work showing that (a) there is indeed a difference between “at least” and “more than”, but (b) against the predictions of a purely semantic account, the ignorance inference of “at least” is not so strong, and is affected by QUD. Along the way, we also show a contrast between “at least/more than” on the one hand, and “at most/fewer than” on the other hand, as well as some interesting results with bare numerals. No current theory can fully account for the results, but a few are very promising.

 

Friday, May 25, Title: The Exhaustivity of Embedded question: Experimental investigations and theoretical consequences

Abstract: Verbs such as ‘know’ can relate an agent to a question, as in “Mary knows who dances”. The meaning of such sentences has been strongly debated with proponents of a ‘weak exhaustive’ reading (Karttunen, 1977, Berman, 1991), or of a ‘strong exhaustive’ reading (Groenendijk&Stokhof, 1982). To further complicate the matter, an ‘intermediate exhaustive’ reading has also been proposed (Spector, 2005).

In this talk, I will present experimental evidence from adult and children understanding of embedded questions showing that all three readings are possible, but suggesting that the weak exhaustive reading is “basic” while the other two are derived by a strengthening mechanism similar to implicatures (exhaustification). I will then discuss what an exhaustification theory for embedded questions should look like and address several challenges that have been raised against such approaches.

 

Word Structure Research Group in Summer 2018

The Word Structure Research Group will be having meetings at McGill, Tuesdays at 10:30am during the summer (room TBA). There will be no meeting this week but Tues May 29th we will have two CLA practice talks, Richard Compton – Inuit φ-markers as the exponence of agree: Evidence from granularity, default forms and Johnatan Nascimento – The beginning of transformation: A nanosyntactic account for parasynthetic verbs in Brazilian Portuguese. Future meetings will be listed on the research group website here (https://wordstructure.org/meetings/) or if you want to receive announcement through email please write to lisa.travis@mcgill.ca.

Syntax Reading Group, 01/5

In the upcoming Syntax Reading Group meeting, Michaela Socolof (via Skype) and Junko Shimoyama will be giving a practice talk for AFLA as follows: “On the distribution of Maori genitive relative construction“. The meeting with take place on Tuesday, May 1, 12:30-1:30pm in Room 117 (1085 Dr. Penfield).

Everyone is welcome!

Semantics reading group, May 4 : Bruno, Gentile, Goodwin

At the Semantics Research Group on May 4, Chris Bruno, Francesco Gentile, and Emily Goodwin will be presenting on some ongoing research on compositional semantics and monotonicity in neural network models.

The meeting is at 3 PM in room 117.

 

WORDS Group meeting, 4/10

The next meeting of the Word Structure Research Group will take place on Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 12-1:30pm, in DS-3470 at UQAM (http://carte.uqam.ca/pavillon-ds). We will be discussing Kayne & Pollock (2012) and Kayne (2017).

Everyone is welcome!

  • Kayne, Richard S. 2017. Clitic doubling, person and agreement in French hypercomplex inversion.
  • Kayne, Richard S., and Jean-Yves Pollock. 2012. Locality and agreement in French hyper-complex inversion. InFunctional heads:The cartography of syntactic structures, volume 7, ed. Laura Bruge, Anna Cardinaletti, Giuliana Giusti, Nicola Munaro, and Cecilia Poletto. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

WORDS Group, 4/3

The next meeting of the Word Structure Research Group will take place on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, 12-1:30pm, in DS-3470 at UQAM (http://carte.uqam.ca/pavillon-ds). We will be discussing chapter 4 of Preminger (2014: Agreement and its Failures).

Everyone is welcome!

Semantics Reading Group, Friday April 6th

Bernhard Schwarz and Mathieu Paillé will be giving a practice talk for
WCCFL, on the subject of wh-complements with ‘know’. We will be meeting
on Friday, April 6th at 3pm in room 117.

WORDS Group, 3/27

The next meeting of the Word Structure Research Group will take place Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 12-1:30pm, in DS-3470 at UQAM (http://carte.uqam.ca/pavillon-ds). We will be discussing Preminger (2014) (Agreement and Its Failures), Chapters 1-3.

Everyone is welcome!

P* Reading Group, 2/22

In this week’s P* Reading Group on Thursday (Feb. 22) 11:30 am -12:30 pm in Room 117, Sarah will lead a discussion of Ingvalson et al. (2017). “Non-native speech learning in older adults”. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 148. Everyone is welcome!

WORDS Group, 2/13

The next meeting of the Word Structure Research Group will take place Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 12-1:30pm, in DS-3470 at UQAM (http://carte.uqam.ca/pavillon-ds). We will be discussing Vogel (2009).

Everyone is welcome!

WORDS Group Meeting, 2/6

The next meeting of the Word Research Group will take place on Tuesday, February 6th, 12-1:30pm, in room 002 of the Department of Linguistics at McGill (1085 Dr. Penfield). We will be discussing Booij (1996).

Booij, G. (1996). Cliticization as prosodic integration: The case of Dutch. The Linguistic Review 13. 219-242.

P* Reading Group, 2/8

In this week’s P* Reading Group on Thursday (Feb. 8) 11:30 am -12:30 pm in Room 117, Yeong will lead a discussion of Garellek, M., Ritchart, A., & Kuang, J. (2016). “Breathy voice during nasality: A cross-linguistic study”. Journal of Phonetics, , 59, 110-121. Everyone is welcome!

WORDS Group, 1/30

The WORDS Group will be meeting on Tuesday 30th January, 12-2pm, in DS-3470 at UQAM (http://carte.uqam.ca/pavillon-ds). This week, we will be discussing Nespor and Vogel (1986, chap.5).

Everyone is welcome!

WORDS Group, 1/16

The next meeting of the Word Research Group will take place on Tuesday, January 16th, 12-2pm, in DS-3470 at UQAM (http://carte.uqam.ca/pavillon-ds). Timothy O’Donnell will be giving a talk on his research.

Everyone is welcome!

Synt-ex Reading Group, 1/16

We are starting up our experimental syntax reading group for the winter semester! Our first meeting is this Tuesday, the 16th at the Linguistics building, room 117 at 12pm. There will be snacks, and feel free to bring your lunch. In addition to outlining our plan for the semester, we will discuss this short Scientific American article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-understand-the-deep-structures-of-language/#.

For inspiration, here are some topics we have thought we would like to include: artificial grammar, syntax in songbirds, L2 syntax acquisition, prosody and syntax, computational models, syntax in sign language.

We hope to see you at the first brainstorming meeting !

WORDS Group meeting, 9/1

The first meeting of the Word Research Group will take place on Tuesday, January 9th, 12-2pm, in DS-3470 at UQAM (http://carte.uqam.ca/pavillon-ds).

The topic for this term is clitics and agreement, although from time to time group members will present on other topics related to words. We’ll be hoping to finalize a good chunk of the schedule for readings during this first meeting.

Everyone is welcome to attend!

WORDS Group, 12/8

The WORDS Group will be meeting on Friday 8th December, at McGill, Dr. Penfield Ave. 1085 (room 117) at 1pm-2.30pm. Tim O’Donnell will present “Inducing phonological rules: Perspectives from Bayesian program learning”, his joint work with Kevin Ellis (Kevin Ellis & Tim O’Donnell).

Everyone is welcome to attend!

 

 

MLML Meeting, 11/28

At this week’s Montreal Language Modeling Lab meeting (Tues Nov 28 at 5:30-7:30pm in Room 117), Wilfred Yau will discuss the surprise exam paradox and its relation to game theory, as well as a brief overview of how game theory is applied in linguistics, especially pragmatics. Light food provided. Everyone is welcome; please RSVP to emily.kellison-linn@mail.mcgill.ca if not on the lab mailing list.

P* Reading Group, 11/29

In this week’s P* Reading Group on Wednesday (Nov. 29) 11am-12pm in Room 117, Sarah and Donghyun will give practice talks for their upcoming ASA presentations, entitled “Inhibitory and Lexical Frequency Effects in Younger and Older Adults’ Spoken Word Recognition” and “Individual differences in perceptual adaptation to phonetic categories: Categorization gradiency and cognitive abilities.” Their abstracts are below. Everyone is welcome!

Inhibitory and Lexical Frequency Effects in Younger and Older Adults’ Spoken Word Recognition
Sarah Colby
Older adults are known to have more difficulty recognizing words with dense phonological neighbourhoods (Sommers & Danielson, 1999), suggesting an increased role of inhibition in older adults’ spoken word recognition. Revill & Spieler (2012) found that older adults are particularly susceptible to frequency effects, and will look more to high frequency items compared to younger adults. We aim to replicate and extend the findings of Revill & Spieler (2012) by investigating the role of inhibition along with frequency for resolving lexical competition in both older and younger adults. Older (n=16) and younger (n=18) adults completed a visual word paradigm eyetracking task that used high and low frequency targets paired with competitors of opposing frequency, and a Simon task as a measure of inhibition. We find that older adults with poorer inhibition are more distracted by competitors than those with better inhibition and younger adults. This effect is larger for high frequency competitors compared to low. These results have implications for the changing role of inhibition in resolving lexical competition across the adult lifespan and support the idea that decreased inhibition in older adults contributes to increased lexical competition and stronger frequency effects in word recognition.

Individual differences in perceptual adaptation to phonetic categories: Categorization gradiency and cognitive abilities
Donghyun Kim
We examine whether listeners flexibly adapt to unfamiliar speech patterns such as those encountered in foreign-accented English vowels. In these cases, the relative informativity of acoustic dimensions (spectral quality vs. duration) can be changed such that the most informative dimension (spectral quality) is no longer informative, but the role of the secondary cue (duration) is enhanced. We further test whether listeners’ adaptive strategies are related to individual differences in utilizations of secondary cues (measured by categorization gradiency) and cognitive abilities. Native English listeners (N=36) listened to continuum of vowels /ɛ/ and /æ/ (as in head and had) varying spectral and duration values to complete a perceptual adaptation task, a visual analogue scaling (VAS) task, and were given cognitive ability tasks examining executive function capacities. Results showed that listeners mostly used spectral quality to signal vowel category at baseline, but rapidly adapted by up-weighting reliance on duration when spectral quality was no longer informative. The VAS task showed substantial individual differences in categorization gradiency with more gradient listeners using a secondary cue more, but gradiency was not linked to degree of adaptation. Finally, results of cognitive ability tasks revealed that individual differences in inhibitory control, but not the other cognitive abilities, correlated with the amount of perceptual adaptation.

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