Archive for the 'Student news' Category

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).

 

2017 Student Awards

The Department of Linguistics is pleased to announce this year’s award recipients. Learn more about the awards here, and see previous recipients here. Congratulations all!

 

Departmental Awards

Lara Riente Memorial Prize in LinguisticsGuilherme Garcia

Cremona Memorial Prize in Linguistics: Vincent Rouillard

In-House Undergraduate Student Awards

Academic Leadership: Lydia Felice

Department Citizenship Award: Jacob Schermer

Excellence in Research Award: Sarah Mihuc

U2 Academic Achievement Award: Fiona Higgins

McLing summer news, final edition!

Jurij Bozic will attend Roots V at Queen Mary, University of London (17-18th June), where he will give a talk with the title “Roots and Non-Locally Triggered Allomorphy”. He will also spend several weeks in Slovenia eliciting judgements from native speakers on several topics that he is currently researching.

September Cowley has completed her M.A. at McGill and will join UC San Diego’s Linguistics department to begin her PhD this fall.

Henrison Hsieh has been spending some of the summer presenting joint work with Luis Alonso-Ovalle at various conferences, including the upcoming Workshop on the Semantics of African, Asian and Austronesian Languages (TripleA 4) in Gothenburg, Sweden. In July, he will be attending the LSA Summer Institute at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, KY.

The McGill acquisition group will be presenting work on Italian this summer at two conferences. Upcoming talks include:

  • Goad, H., L. White, G. Garcia, N. Guzzo, M. Mortazavinia, L. Smeets & J. Su. 2017. Effects of pause and stress on pronoun interpretation in L2 Italian. Paper to be presented at the International Symposium on Bilingualism (ISB 11), University of Limerick, June 2017.
  • Goad, H., L. White, G. Garcia, N. Guzzo, M. Mortazavinia, L. Smeets & J. Su. 2017. Pronoun interpretation in Italian: assessing the effects of prosody.​ Paper to be presented at the Experimental Psycholinguistics Conference, Menorca, June 2017.

Goodhue and Goodhue & Wagner papers to appear

Daniel Goodhue‘s paper “Must p is felicitous only if p is not known” has been accepted for publication in Semantics & Pragmatics. A draft of the paper is available here.

Daniel Goodhue and Michael Wagner‘s paper “Intonation, yes and no” has been accepted for publication in Glossa. A draft of the paper is available here.

Congrats both!

Gui Garcia in Phonology

Gui Garcia‘s paper ‘Weight gradience and stress in Portuguese’ is officially out in the journal Phonology, and can be found here. Congrats Gui!

McLing summer news, second edition

Some more summer news below––send your summer plans and other news to mcling.linguistics@mcgill.ca.

PhD student Clint Parker will travel to Tajikistan in June to spend two months learning the Tajiki language, a dialect of Persian.  He will stay with a host family in the capital, Dushanbe.  In addition to looking at definiteness in Tajiki, he will use the language to conduct fieldwork on the endangered Pamir languages, also spoken in Tajikistan. Clint received funding from McGill’s Graduate Mobility Award for his trip.

This summer, graduating BA Honours student Sarah Mihuc will be traveling to Guatemala for the University of Maryland summer field school on Mayan languages, going to Yale for a grammar-writing bootcamp on Nyungar, and working for Morgan Sonderegger. In the fall she will be moving to Calgary to work in computer science, with plans to apply to graduate school after 2 years.

Vincent Rouillard is graduating from the BA Honours Linguistics program. He will spend the summer working at the McGill Language and Multilingualism Laboratory, where he is currently researching the effects of bilingualism on the use of sarcasm. By the end of the summer, he will be moving to Boston to begin his PhD in Linguistics at MIT.

Kilbourn-Ceron and Sonderegger in NLLT

Natural Language and Linguistic Theory has just published an article by Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron and Morgan Sonderegger: ‘Boundary phenomena and variability in Japanese high vowel devoicing’. The full article is available here.

Abstract:

Devoicing of high vowels (HVD) in Tokyo Japanese applies in two environments—between voiceless consonants, and between a voiceless consonant and a “pause”—and applies variably as a function of a number of factors. The role and definition of “pause” in this process, in terms of a physical pause or prosodic position (word or phrase boundary), remains unclear, as does what is expected when these environments overlap, and why HVD appears to be categorical in some environments and variable in others. This paper addresses three outstanding issues about HVD—the role of “boundary phenomena” (prosodic position and physical pauses), the relationship between the two environments, and the sources of variability in HVD—by examining vowel devoicing in a large corpus of spontaneous Japanese. We use mixed-effects logistic regression to model how boundary phenomena affect the likelihood of devoicing and modulate the effects of other variables, controlling for other major factors, including a measure of gestural overlap. The results suggest that all boundary phenomena jointly affect devoicing rate, and that prosodic phrase boundaries play a key role: variability in HVD looks qualitatively different for phrase-internal and phrase-final vowels, which are affected differently by word frequency, speech rate, and pause duration. We argue the results support an account of HVD as the result of two overlapping vowel devoicing processes, each widely-attested cross-linguistically: devoicing between voiceless consonants, and devoicing before prosodic phrase boundaries. Variability in the application of these two processes can then be partially explained in terms of aspects of phonetic implementation and processing: gestural overlap (Beckman 1996), which often plays a role in reduction processes, and the locality of production planning (Wagner 2012), a recent explanation for variability in the application of external sandhi processes.

McGill at SALT 2017

McGill linguists will be heading to the University of Maryland later this week for the 27th Semantics and Linguistic Theory (SALT 27) meeting. Presentations include:

  • Chris Bruno – Contrastive negation and the theory of alternatives
  • Henrison Hsieh and Luis Alonso-Ovalle – Anchored implicatives: Tagalog ability/involuntary action
  • Bernhard Schwarz – Strength as entropy in questions: Evidence from uniqueness presuppositions

McLing summer news, first edition

Graduating BA Honours student Sara Carrier-Bordeleau is going to work in freelance translation and move to Helsinki (Finland) within the year. She’s also planning to continue to do linguistic research in her spare time and to apply to graduate school in linguistics later on.
BA student Paulina Elias received a Social Equity ARIA fellowship to spend this summer working with Jessica Coon on an ongoing collaborative project between McGill University and Universidad del Valle de Guatemala to document and analyze Chuj, a Mayan language spoken in Guatemala and Mexico.
BA Honours student Lydia Felice has finished her thesis on alternations between free state and construct state nominals in Kabyle (Berber), and will be entering the theoretical linguistics PhD program at Georgetown University in the fall.
Fiona Higgins, BA Honours linguistics student, is doing a summer research project through the Arts Internship Research Award program with Heather Goad on the perception of /s/ in hearing impaired children.
Martha Schwarz is graduating from the MA program this year, and will be moving to California to start a PhD at UC Berkeley in the fall. In late May she will go to the Manchester Phonology Meeting (25mfm) at the University of Manchester to give a talk based on her MA thesis, titled “Nepali laryngeal contrasts: voiced aspirates and laryngeal realism.”
BA student Eva Portelance will be graduating and then heading to Stanford in the fall to start a PhD in Linguistics. Her honours thesis was entitled Scrambling on the move: Lithuanian, free word order and minimalism. She will also be presenting her research on the prediction of narrative frames in novels, which she started during her ARIA internship last year, at the Digital Humanities 2017 conference in August.

McGill at TOM Workshop on Semantics

McGill Linguistics was well represented at the 10th Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal Workshop on Semantics, held this year at the University of Toronto on April 22nd. Presentations included:
  • 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)

Junko, Chris, Luis, Henrison, and Francesco at TOM

Gui Garcia to Ball State University

McLing is thrilled to report that PhD student Guilherme Garcia has just accepted a tenure-track position in phonology and phonetics in the Linguistics Department at Ball State University. The position begins in January 2018. Congratulations Gui!

Henrison Hsieh and Luis Alonso-Ovalle at AFLA

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“.

 

McGillians at AFLA: Ileana Paul (PhD ’00), Jozina vander Klok (PhD ’12), Tingchun Chen (BA ’10), Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine (Post Doc ’14-15), Henrison Hsieh (current PhD)

 

 

Kilbourn-Cerón’s article in Journal of Semantics

Oriana Kilbourn-Cerón’s article “Embedded Exhaustification: Evidence from Almost”  is one of the most read articles in Journal of Semantics, according to the journal webpage. Congratulations, Oriana!

Martha Schwarz at FASAL

Martha Schwarz presented a poster on “Case Assignment in Nepali” at the Formal Approaches to South Asian Languages conference at MIT, March 4-5th. This poster grew out of her summer fieldwork in India, funded by a MITACs travel grant.

Presentations at Toronto Intonation workshop

McGill linguists will participate in the Second Intonation Workshop at the University of Toronto February 16-17, giving two papers:

“The continuation contour in French: Realisation and representation”
Jeffrey Lamontagne, Heather Goad & Morgan Sonderegger

“Melodic alternations in Spanish, and their implications for intonational phonology”
Francisco Torreira (McGill University and Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics) &
Martine Grice (University of Cologne)

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.