Archive for the 'Student news' Category

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

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.


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)

Sepideh receives CRBLM stipend

McLing is happy to report that Sepideh Mortazavinia has just received a CRBLM graduate student stipend for her project “Second Language Acquisition of Presupposition”, supervised by Lydia White and Michael Wagner. Congratulations Sepideh!

7th Annual Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Research Event – 1/17, 4:30-6:30 PM

The 7th Annual Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Research Event is on Tuesday, 1/17, from 4:30-6:30 in Leacock 232. The event features posters and presentations by students who received an Arts Undergraduate Research Internship Award in Summer 2017, including several projects involving linguistics students and faculty. The following linguistics-related posters will be showcased:

  • Eva Portelance, “Narrative Frameworks”, supervised by Andrew Piper (LLCU)
  • Lydia Felice, “Free State/Construct State Alternation in Kabyle”, supervised by Jessica Coon
  • Theodore Morely (Computer Science), “Web-Tools for Linguistic Research”, supervised by Morgan Sonderegger
  • Elias Stengel-Essen (Cognitive Science), “Linguistic Enrichment of Speech-Corpus Tools”, supervised by Morgan Sonderegger

Lydia Felice and Eva Portelance will also be speaking at the event.

All are welcome!

McGill at LSA/SSILA/ADS 2017

McGill linguists past and present attended the 91st Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, and the associated meeetings of the Society for the Study of the Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) and the American Dialect Society(ADS), which took place 5–8 January 2017 in Austin, Texas. Their many presentations included:

  • George Aaron Broadwell, Lauren Eby Clemens (Postdoc ’14-’15): “Inflectional change in Copala Triqui”
  • Lauren Clemens (Postdoc ’14-’15), Jessica Coon, Carol-Rose Little (BA ’12), Morelia Vázquez Martínez: “Encoding focus in Ch’ol spontaneous speech”
  • Lauren Clemens (Postdoc ’14-’15): “Prosody, pseudo noun incorporation, and V1 syntax: VP-fronting or Vo-raising?”
  • Emily Elfner (Postdoc ’12-’14), Patricia A. Shaw: “Game-based methodology for the study of intonational contours in Kwak’wala”
  • Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine (Postdoc ’14-’15), Theodore Levin: “On the unavailability of argument ellipsis in Kaqchikel”
  • Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine (Postdoc ’14-’15): “C-T head-splitting: evidence from Toba Batak”
  • Guilherme Garcia: “Adapting inconsistent lexical patterns: a Bayesian approach to weight and stress”
  • Daniel Goodhue: “Biased polar questions: VERUM focus is semantic focus, high negation is a distinct phenomenon”
  • Natália Brambatti Guzzo, Heather Goad: “Overriding default interpretations through prosody: depictive predicates in Brazilian Portuguese”
  • Aron Hirsch (BA ’12): “Fragments, pseudo-clefts, and ellipsis”
  • Thomas Kettig (BA ’13): “One hundred years of stability: the case of the BAD-LAD split”
  • Hadas Kotek (Postdoc ’14-’16): “Movement and alternatives don’t mix: a new look at intervention effects”
  • Jeffrey Lamontagne, Heather Goad, Morgan Sonderegger: “Penultimate prominence in Québec French: internal motivations or English influence?”
  • Jeffrey Lamontagne and Gretchen McCulloch (MA ’13): “Wayyy longgg: orthotactics and phonology in lengthening on Twitter”
  • Cora Lesure (BA ’15): “Phonologically null morphemes and templatic morphology: the case of Chuj (Mayan)”
  • Moti Liberman and Gretchen McCulloch (MA ’13) organized a symposium entitled “Datablitz: Getting High School Students Into Linguistics”
  • Michael McAuliffe, Michaela Socolof (BA ’16), Sarah Mihuc, Michael Wagner, Morgan Sonderegger: “Montreal Forced Aligner: an accurate and trainable forced aligner using Kaldi”
  • Michaela Socolof (BA ’16): “The position of the negative particle ara and NPIs in Kabyle negation”
  • Morgan Sonderegger, Michael McAuliffeJurij BozicChristopher BrunoSeptember CowleyBing’er JiangJeffrey LamontagneMartha SchwarzJiajia Su: “Laryngeal timing across seven languages: phonetic data and their relationship to phonological features”
  • Lisa Travis: “A typology of VP-fronting”
  • Jozina Vander Klok (PhD ’12) and Vera Hohaus: “Building Blocks of Weak Necessity Modality: The View from Paciran Javanese”

Some current and past McGill affiliates gathered for a photo:



Gui Garcia to appear in Phonology, and workshop in Brazil

Guilherme Garcia‘s paper “Weight gradience and stress in Portuguese” has just been accepted for publication in the journal Phonology. A draft of the paper, based on his first Eval, can be found on LingBuzz. Congrats Gui!

Gui also recently taught a workshop on Bayesian data analysis using R at Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul (PUC-RS), in Brazil.

Michael Wagner in Tromsø

Michael Wagner recently returned from giving an invited lecture at the Workshop on Hierarchical Structures in Phonology, Morphology and Syntax which took place October 27–38th at UiT in Tromsø, Norway.
The title of his talk was: “Allophonic variation and the locality of production planning”, which reported on joint work with Meghan Clayards, Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron, Morgan Sonderegger and James Tanner.  The abstract can be found here.

McGill at NELS 47

McGill linguists presented at the 47th Annual Meeting of North East Linguistic Society (NELS 47), which was hosted at the University of Massachusetts Amherst October 14–16. Presentations by current McGill affiliates included:

McGill affiliates of past and present gathered for a photo at the dinner:

Gui Garcia, Laura Kalin, Michael Wagner, Jessica Coon, Aron Hirsch, Cora Lesure, Bernhard Schwarz, Hadas Kotek

Gui Garcia, Laura Kalin, Michael Wagner, Jessica Coon, Aron Hirsch, Cora Lesure, Bernhard Schwarz, Hadas Kotek

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