Archive for the 'Student news' Category

Sepideh (Marzieh) Mortazavinia’s Thesis Defence, June 1st

Sepideh (Marzieh) Mortazavinia is defending her Ph.D thesis on the “Second Language Acquisition of Focus-Sensitive Presupposition Triggers in English and Persian” on June 1 2018, at 2.30pm in the Ferrier Building, rm. 456. Come join the defence and the reception in the department after!

Incoming Grad Class (Fall 2018)

McLing is pleased to announce the incoming class of graduate students. We’re looking forward to seeing you all in the fall!

  • Jacob Hoover (MA, coming from Harvard)
  • Will Johnston (PhD, Carleton College)
  • Esmail Moghiseh (MA, McGill)
  • Michaela Socolof (PhD, McGill)
  • Vanna Willerton (MA, Carleton U./McGill)
  • Kenneth Wickham (Qualifying Year, U. Washington)

McGill students win awards

The following graduate and undergraduate students are the recipients of the stated awards:

Undergraduate

  • Óscar Costa – Academic Leadership Award
  • Gabriel Daitzschman – Cremona Memorial Prize
  • Maya Keshav – Department Citizenship Award
  • Yunxiao (Vera) Xia – Award for Excellence in Research
  • Being Wang – U2 Academic Achievement Award

Graduate

  • Kim Donghyun – Lara Riente Memorial Prize

Congratulations!

Marielle Côté-Gendreau wins two research prizes

Undergaduate student Marielle Côté-Gendreau  has won two research prizes in the value of $1000 (CAD) each, one for the project “Contribution onomastique à l’histoire sociale : Napoléon, son prénom et son mythe dans le Canada français du XIXe siècle“, and the other for having a promising profile as a researcher. Both prizes were awarded at the 86th ACFAS meeting. Marielle was congratulated, along with two other winners, by Rémi Quirion, Quebec’s scientifique en chef for their achievements, which can be viewed here.

Congratulations!

 

 

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.

 

McGill at WCCFL 36

McGill linguists past and present gathered at UCLA this past weekend to present their research at the 36th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL).

McGill linguists past and present gathered at UCLA this past weekend to present their research at the 36th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL).

Talks:

Matthew Barros & Hadas Kotek (McGill postdoc 2014-16): “Some Issues with Sluicing as Anaphora to Issues“
Mathieu Paillé & Bernhard Schwarz: “Knowing whether and ignorance inferences“

Posters:

Aron Hirsch: “Epistemically-sensitive ‘only’ ”
Maayan Abenina-Adar (McGill MA 2014): “Surprising”
Guilherme D. Garcia (McGill PhD 2017) and Heather Goad: “Can you have stress without feet?”
Jeffrey Lamontagne: “Acoustic Evidence of Phonemicization: Laxing Coarticulation in Canadian French”

Photo, from left to right: Mathieu, Maayan, Heather, Aron, Bernhard

Left to right: Mathieu, Maayan, Heather, Aron, Bernhard

 

ARIA grants

Several undergraduate students received Arts Research Internship Awards (ARIA) to  work with Linguistics faculty this summer:

Emma Gibson: “Intonational Tunes in English: Corpus and Experiment”, working with Michael Wagner

Michael Goodale: “Enabling large-scale analysis of stop consonants across English dialects”, working with Morgan Sonderegger

Emily Goodwin: “Neural Networks, compositionality, and linguistic representation: evidence from monotonicity”, working with Tim O’Donnell

Avleen Mokha: “Prosodic Transfer and the L2 acquisition of Hindi”, working with Lydia White

Benjamin Oldham: “Linguistic Fieldwork Research”, working with Jessica Coon

Madelaine O’Reilley Brown: “Long Distance relationships in Urdu-Hindi: phases or horizons”, working with Lisa Travis

Gregory Theos:  “Storage and Computation of morphology: Evidence from English”, working with Tim O’Donnell

Congratulations!

Congratulation Jeff and Oriana!

Congratulations Jeff, for winning this year’s Faculty of Arts Graduate Student Teaching Award! And Congratulations Oriana, for winning this year’s Arts Insights Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences! You can cheer for them in person when the awards will be announced at the Arts Faculty Council meeting on April 10, at 3:00 pm in Leacock 232.

Justin Royer receives Mitacs Award

Justin Royer has received a Mitacs award to do fieldwork in Mexico this summer. He will be doing fieldwork on Chuj and will also spend some time at CIESAS (centro de investigaciones y estudios superiores en antropología social) with Prof. Roberto Zavala.

Congratulations!

Daniel Goodhue defends dissertation

Congratulations to Daniel Goodhue, who defended his dissertations on 9th February 2018! Daniel’s dissertation, supervised by Michael Wagner and co-supervised by Luis Alonso-Ovalle and Bernhard Schwarz  is titled “On asking and answering biased polar questions.” Congratulations, Dan!

Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Bernhard Schwarz, Daniel Goodhue, Michael Wagner

Daniel Goodhue’s dissertation defence, 2/9

McGill University

Department of Linguistics

Daniel Goodhue

Ph.D. Oral Defence

 

On asking and answering biased polar questions

Friday, February 9th, 2018

at 3:00 pm

in the Arts Bldg. Rm. 160

followed by a reception in the lounge (rm. 212)

Bang et al. in Journal of Phonetics

A paper by Hye-Young Bang and co-authors (Morgan Sonderegger, Yoonjung Kang, Meghan Clayards, Taejin Yoon), “The emergence, progress, and impact of sound change in progress in Seoul Korean: Implications for mechanisms of tonogenesis”, has just appeared in Journal of Phonetics. Congratulations!

This study examines the origin, progression, and impact of a sound change in Seoul Korean where the primary cue to a stop contrast in phrase-initial position is shifting from VOT to f0. Because it shares similarities with the initial phase of tonogenesis, investigating this “quasi-tonogenetic” sound change provides insight into the nature of the emergence of contrastive f0 in “tonogenetic” sound changes more generally. Using a dataset from a large apparent-time corpus of Seoul Korean, we built mixed-effects regression models of VOT and f0 to examine the time-course of change, focusing on word frequency and vowel height effects. We found that both VOT contrast reduction and f0 contrast enhancement are more advanced in high-frequency words and in stops before non-high vowels, indicating that the change is spreading across words and phonetic contexts in parallel. Furthermore, speakers suppress non-contrastive variation in f0 as f0 emerges as a primary cue. Our findings suggest that one impetus for tonogenetic change is production bias coupled with an adaptive link between the cues. We further discuss the role of Korean intonational phonology on f0 which may help explain why the phonetic precondition leads to change in Seoul Korean but not in other languages.

 

McGill at NELS

A sizeable contingent of McGill related linguistics attended the 48th Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society (NELS 48) this past weekend. For the first time, the conference took place outside North America, viz. at the University of Iceland, Reykjavík. As the organizers emphasized, Iceland now easily holds the record as the smallest host country for NELS in terms of both population size (previously: Canada) and land area (previously: USA).

McGill at CILLA

Justin Royer and Jessica Coon headed to the University of Texas at Austin last week for the 8th Conference on Indigenous Languages of Latin America (CILLA). Justin’s talk was titled “Sistemas de clasificación nominal en chuj (maya)”. Jessica gave a plenary talk, presenting joint work with Lauren Clemens (SUNY Albany, McGill postdoc 2014-15), titled “Verb initial word order in Mayan: Causes and consequences.”   Robert Henderson (McGill postdoc 2013-13) also presented.

Justin Royer, Lauren Clemens (post-doc 2014–2015), Jessica Coon, Robert Henderson (post-doc 2012–2013)

McGill at AMP 2017

McGill Linguists past and present presented at the 2017 Annual Meeting on Phonology last month at NYU:

  • Jeffrey Lamontagne, Heather Goad & Morgan Sonderegger: “Variability in French prominence: Evidence for weight sensitivity”
  • Jeffrey Lamontagne & Francisco Torreira: “Production planning and directionality in external sandhi”
  • Martha Schwarz (MA 2017), Morgan Sonderegger, & Heather Goad: “Representing a four-way contrast: Nepali, voiced aspirates and laryngeal realism”
  • Öner Özçelik (PhD 2012): “Phonological markedness and extraprosodicity as predictors of morphological errors in SLI”

Paulina Elias at SEURA symposium

Linguistics undergrad Paulina Elias was one of the first SEURA (Social Equity Undergraduate Research Award) recipients during this award’s first year at McGill. Paulina’s research project this past summer focused on the documentation of Chuj, a Mayan language spoken in Guatemala and by speakers here in Montreal, and was supervised by Jessica Coon. Last week they attended the SEURA Symposium, where they participated in a discussion panel that centred around social equity in research.

McGill Ling at Montreal AI Symposium

McGill linguists past and present presented at the Montreal AI Symposium on Sep 26:

Chris Bruno, Eva Portelance (BHons ’17), Tim O’Donnell: “Unsupervised induction of natural-language dependency structures”

Elias Stengel-Eskin, Emily Kellison-Linn, Tim O’Donnell: “Variational Inference for Unsupervised Lexicon Learning”

Summer 2017 PhD defenses

Congratulations to Guilherme Garcia and Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron, who defended their dissertations this summer!

Gui’s dissertation, supervised by Heather Goad and defended August 2, is titled “Weight effects on stress: lexicon and grammar.” Gui is currently a lecturer in the Department of Education at Concordia University. In the winter he will be joining the Department of English at Ball State University as an assistant professor (tenure-track) in phonology/phonetics. Congratulations, Gui!

Gui (third from left), supervisor Heather Goad (fourth from left), and oral defense committee.

Oriana’s dissertation, supervised by Morgan Sonderegger and Michael Wagner July 21, is titled “Speech production planning affects variation in external sandhi.”  Oriana is currently a lecturer in the Department of Linguistics at Concordia University. Congratulations, Oriana!

Oriana with supervisors

Welcome new graduate students!

Welcome to this year’s incoming class of graduate students and QY student!

Jason Borga is primarily interested (so far!) in syntax, syntax-semantics interface, and language acquisition. He completed his B.A. in Cognitive Science at the University of Connecticut.

Masashi Harada completed his M.A. in linguistics at the University of Kansas. His primary research interests currently lie in the theory of syntax, semantics, and the interface of syntax with other modules of grammar.

Filiz Mutlu

Mathieu Paillé has research interests including syntax, biolinguistics, and Algonquian languages. He completed his B.A. in linguistics at the University of Winnipeg.

Justin Royeis interested in syntax, semantics, fieldwork and Mayan languages, and has conducted research on classifier systems and (in)definiteness. He completed his B.A. in Linguistics at Concordia University.

Vanna Willerton wants to get into the field of computational linguistics and, to this end, will spend the qualifying year developing her math and programming skills. She completed her B.A. in Linguistics, minoring in Philosophy, at Carleton University.

Wilfred Yau is interested modelling natural languages using computational and mathematical tools, such as lexical semantics, probabilistic programming and Bayesian Models of Language Processing. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto with a double major in Economics and Linguistics.

 

McLing summer news

What did McGill linguists do this summer? Some answers can be found below. If you didn’t get your post in on time, email the editors for round two.

Luis Alonso-Ovalle  presented work at SALT.

Chris Bruno presented work relating to his first evaluation paper at SALT, held at the University of Maryland, College Park. The title was “Contrastive negation and the theory of alternatives”.

Jessica Coon traveled to Beijing in May to present a public lecture on Arrival at the 2017 Global Machine Intelligence Summit. Then in June she headed to Guatemala to meet up with current and past McGill students in connection with the University of Maryland’s Guatemala Field Station. For the first two weeks the students took Kaqchikel immersion classes, and and spent the second two weeks conducting research on Mayan languages.

Jessica and Lisa Travis are happy to report that the Oxford Handbook of Ergativity was published over the summer, co-edited by Jessica Coon, Diane Massam (U. Toronto), and Lisa Travis.

Henrison Hsieh presented ongoing work with Luis Alonso-Ovalle entitled “Overcoming the Unexpected: The Tagalog Ability/Involuntary Action Form” at WCCFL and SALT, among other venues. Later in the summer, he attended the 2017 LSA Institute in Lexington KY before going to Southeast Asia to attend the Workshop on Quirks of Subject Extraction at the National University of Singapore and do some data collection in the Philippines.

Michael McAuliffe presented three co-authored papers at Interspeech 2017 in Stockholm, on Polyglot and Speech Corpus Tools , on the Montreal Forced Aligner, and on sentence prosody (with co-authors including Michael Wagner and Morgan Sonderegger).

Clint Parker spent most of his summer in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, where he lived with a Tajik host family and studied the Tajik language (a dialect of Persian). While in Dushanbe, Clint was also able to study Shughni, an Eastern Iranian minority language of Tajikistan and Afghanistan, on which he hopes to focus much of his research. The summer helped him both to gain language skills necessary to do fieldwork on Shughni and to make contacts for future research in the country.

Bernhard Schwarz presented work at SALT.

Morgan Sonderegger presented two papers at Phonetics and Phonology in Europe (PaPE 2017).

A paper by James Tanner, Morgan Sonderegger, and Michael Wagner appeared in Laboratory Phonology (doi: 10.5334/labphon.96).

Lydia White attended two conferences in June: (i) the International Symposium on Bilingualism, University of Limerick, Ireland (https://isb11.com/); (ii) the Experimental Psycholinguistics Conference, Menorca (http://www.psycholinguistics.info/experimental/index.html). She presented papers on L2 Italian pronoun interpretation on behalf of the Second Language Acquisition Group (Heather Goad, Gui Garcia, Natália Brambatti Guzzo, Sepideh Mortazavinia, Liz Smeets, Jiajia Su, Lydia White). Lydia also made a keynote presentation in Menorca.

A paper on pronoun interpretation in L2 English by Roumyana Slabakova, Lydia White & Natália Brambatti Guzzo appeared in Frontiers in Psychology 8:1236 in July (doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01236).

 

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