Monthly Archive for August, 2012

Syntax-semantics group, 08/27: Walter Pedersen

When: Monday 08/27 (today!)

Where: Room 117

Who: Walter Pedersen

What: A scale-based analysis of again-ambiguities


This paper develops a new analysis of again-ambiguities, one that takes the scalar properties of verbs as the key determinant of the particular nature of the readings found in ambiguous sentences containing again. We show that the distribution of and differences between what have been called ‘restitutive’ and ‘counterdirectional’ readings fall out naturally from a theory of again that is sensitive to the boundedness properties of verb scales. The analysis developed here is shown to have distinct advantages over other extant analyses, including the traditional decompositional analysis that places the source of the ambiguity in the relative scope of again and a become operator; in particular, it is shown that this latter account is incapable of accounting for certain kinds of attested readings. Additionally, the scale-based theory presented here finds empirical support in the way that again interacts with measure phrases like three metres.

LaTeX workshop: reference management (today!)

What: A workshop on reference management in LaTeX. Topics include LaTeX’s native reference management system (commands and entry format), as well as the more robust natbib package and, most of all, the BibTeX reference management tool. In addition, we will discuss how to draw trees and do numbered examples.

Who: Brian Buccola and Alanah McKillen. (For those who cannot make it, contact Brian or Alanah for copies of the handouts as well as source codes.)

When: Monday (today!), August 20, 01:00 PM.

Where: Room 117 of the linguistics building.

If possible, bring your laptop with LaTeX already installed. If not, you’re still welcome to attend and follow along (we will do an interactive presentation on the projector).

Travis and van der Klok at AFLA and ICAL

Lisa Travis and Jozina van der Klok got back from giving talks at the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association (AFLA) Conference in Taipei at Academia Sinica (Lisa was one of the two invited speakers) and the International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics (ICAL) in Bali, Indonesia. The two AFLA talks were “Austronesian: a view from the outside” (Lisa) and ‘Auxiliary fronting in Javanese from an Austronesian perspective” (Jozina). The two ICAL talks were part of a workshop on Austronesian microvariation: “Microvariation within the ergative parameter” (Lisa) and “Microvariation in modal systems in Javanese” (Jozina). 

Malagasy Sessions

Two linguists from Madagascar (Jeannot Fils Ranaivoson from the Université d’Antananarivo and Jean Lewis Botouhely from the Université d’Antakarana) have visited the department.  Their visit was part of the SSHRC project ‘Dialectal microvariation in Malagasy’.  Principal Investigator, Ileana Paul, from Western University, as well as other project members David Heap (Western University), Eric Potsdam (University of Florida), Ed Keenan (UCLA) and Lisa Travis (McGill) took part in a four day session reviewing recordings from the first year of data gathering on Malagasy dialects.  Attached picture shows Lewis, David, and Jeannot.

Coon, Henderson, and McCulloch return from Guatemala

Jessica Coon and Gretchen McCulloch, together with recent UCSC PhD and new McGill post-doc Robert Henderson, are on their way back from Guatemala where they organized the 2nd Form and Analysis in Mayan Linguistics(FAMLi) conference. The two-day conference was well-attended by linguists from all over, and was preceded by a two-day SSHRC-funded workshop on corpus linguistics. Both were held in the Kaqchikel Maya-speaking town of Patzun. Jessica presented “Concordancia ergativa y clíticos absolutivos: Evidencia en Chol”, Robert presented “Computación e idiomas mayas: Dónde estámos, dónde vamos?”, and co-organizer Gretchen took care of many organizational things.

Also in attendance from Montreal were Gina Cook and Emmy Cathcart of iLanguage, who have been developing the linguistic database application, iField, which was launched as part of the Mayan corpus workshop.

FAMLi group photo


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