Monthly Archive for May, 2012

2012 student awards

The Department of Linguistics is pleased to announce this year’s award recipients. Congratulations all!


Departmental Awards

Lara Riente Memorial Prize in Linguistics: Alexandra Simonenko and Jozina Vander Klok

Cremona Memorial Prize in Linguistics: Elise McClay and Erin Olson


In-House Undergraduate Student Awards

Academic Leadership: Hannah Pinsky

Department Citizenship Award: Madeleine Revill

Excellence in Research Award: Erica J. Yoon

U2 Academic Achievement Award: Douglas Herrick

Mi’gmaq group returns to Listuguj

The McGill Mi’gmaq group returned to the Listuguj First Nation community May 22nd, where they will spent a few days working with community members and language teachers to kick off the summer project of developing online language learning material. This summer the team will be led by Conor Quinn, who completed his PhD at Harvard on Penobscot, an Algonquian language of Maine.

Travelers include graduate students Mike Hamilton and Gretchen McCulloch, undergraduates Jacob Leon, Carol Little, Yuliya Manyakina, Erin Olson, and Elise McClay, joined by Alan Bale, Jessica Coon, and Janine Metallic.

While most of the group returned to Montreal Friday, a few members stayed behind and will spend extended periods of time in Listuguj this summer. Gretchen McCulloch will remain in the community for a few weeks before she heads to the CoLang Institute on Collaborative Language Research in Lawrence, Kansas. Elise McClay will spend much of her summer living in the community, interrupted by a trip to Ireland in July. Carol Little will head to Listuguj in early July, where she will participate in the Mi’gmaq language classes for post-secondary students in the community.

You can keep up with the group’s work on

Eval paper presentation 5/11 – Tokiko Okuma

Speaker: Tokiko Okuma
When: Friday, May 11th at 2pm
Where: Linguistics 002
Title: “L2 Acquisition of Japanese noun accents by L1 English learners”

The experiment reported in this paper explores the influence of L1 prosodic structures on the L2 acquisition of Japanese simple and compound nouns by L1 English learners. Japanese unaccented simple nouns have a structure without a foot. Japanese compounds form one PWd as a whole with one foot. These structures differ from those of their English counterparts; in English, every PWd must have a foot and English compounds have two PWds with two positions of prominence. As a result, L2ers are expected to have a problem with these structures if they transfer L1 prosodic structures into the interlanguage grammar. In the experiment, 9 L2ers were compared with native Japanese speakers in producing simple and compound nouns. The results for pitch and intensity show that the L2ers produced L1 feet in unaccented simple nouns. By contrast, they successfully formed one PWd for the whole compound. These results suggest that modification of existing prosodic constituents (PWds) is acquirable at early stages of development, whereas elimination of existing prosodic constituents (feet) is more problematic.

Syntax Semantics Research Group: Monday 14

Monday, May 14, 2012, 3:00-4:30 pm

Erica Yoon and Junko Shimoyama: Investigation of the scope of negation and quantifiers in Korean, practice talk for WAFL 8.

Background reading: Han, Chung-hye, Jeffrey Lidz, and Julien Musolino. 2007. Verb-raising and grammar competition in Korean: Evidence from negation and quantifier scope. Linguistic Inquiry 38:1-47.

Conferences round-up

Sara Mackenzie (Memorial University), and Erin Olson, Meghan Clayards & Michael Wagner (McGill) presented a poster a poster on the production and perception of the allophones of /l/ in English at the 7th North American Phonology Conference at Concordia this week: “The Role of Allophonic Variation in Speech Segmentation”. They will also present this project as a poster at Labphon in Stuttgart later this summer.

Recent MA student Akiko Shimada and Heather Goad will present ‘The special status of Blackfoot /s/’ at the 20th Manchester Phonology Meeting in May.

Jessica Coon and Lisa Travis are both invited speakers at the ergativity-themed first Cambridge Comparative Syntax Conference (CamCoS 1) in Cambridge, UK May 18–19th.  Jessica’s talk is titled “Taking ergativity’ out of split ergativity: A structural account of aspect and person splits”. Lisa will present “When a language becomes or ceases to be ergative”.

Erica Yoon (Cognitive Science honours) and Junko Shimoyama are presenting a joint paper titled ‘Investigation of the scope of negation and quantifiers in Korean’ at the 8th Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics at the University of Stuttgart (WAFL 8, May 18-20, 2012).

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