Monthly Archive for March, 2013

Future Week

To kick off SLUM’s Future Week 2013, we will be hosting a B&P at Gert’s tomorrow from 5-7pm, and all linguistics students are welcome! The rest of the schedule is posted below, but be sure to check the Facebook event ( for updates on all events throughout the week.

Come join us for beverages and pizza at Gert’s between 5:00 and 7:00pm. This is a great chance to mingle with some really cool linguistics people, and learn about upcoming Future Week events as well as how to get involved in SLUM for next year!

An extension of Undergraduate Advisor Professor Boberg’s office hours from 2-5pm for academic advising.

Dr. Rosalee Shenker, a speech pathologist from the Montreal Fluency Center, will be giving a talk about her experience as a speech language pathologist, how she got to where she is today, and the day in the life of a SLP in Lev Bukhman (in SSMU) at 2:00pm. A reception will follow.

Expert Panel: Young professionals with experience in the field of linguistics will be talking about how they chose their careers in the SSMU Lev Bukhman room at 2:30pm.

Peer Advising: Drop by the Linguistics Lounge (1085 Dr. Penfield, rm. 212) from 3:30-5:30pm for some peer advising as an exciting wrap-up to Future Week before the long weekend

TOM 6 @ McGill

The Sixth Toronto-Ottawa-Montréal Semantics Workshop was held this past Saturday at McGill. The event was well attended and offered the audience much food for thought.

As expected, our reporters risked their lives to immortalize the event. We are proud to offer you a sample of their work. Continue reading ‘TOM 6 @ McGill’

Syntax-Phonology Research Group meeting — March 20

Wednesday, March 20, 4-5:30 p.m. in room 117.

Heather Newell will present :

Morpho-Phonological Doubling: a problem for Nanosyntax?

Algonquian Reading Group — 3/21

This week at Algonquian Reading Group, Carol Little will be presenting on Algonquian Dialectology. For preparation please refer to Dyck et al. 2006’s “Northern East Cree Accent.” The meeting will be held in room 117 at 10:30 this Thursday March 21.

Ergativity Lab — 3/22

ErgLab is moving to a new day and time next week. We’ll meet Friday at 1:30 in room 117 to discuss tests to distinguish high absolutive languages where the absolutive argument moves high from those where it stays low.

Colloquium: Gillian Gallagher (NYU) March 22

Date & Time: Friday, March 22 at 3:30 pm

Place: Education Building, room 433

Title: Identity bias and phonetic grounding in Quechua phonotactics


Many languages distinguish between identical and non-identical segments with respect to some phonotactic restriction. For example, in several unrelated languages, roots with pairs of non-identical ejectives are unattested while pairs of identical ejectives are common (e.g., Bolivian Aymara t’ant’a ‘bread’ *t’ank’a). In other languages, like Cochabamba Quechua, pairs of non-identical and identical ejectives are both unattested. This talk explores the basis for an identity exemption to phonotactics by testing Quechua speakers’ production and perception of non-identical and identical ejective pairs. If identical pairs of ejectives (or segments in general) benefit from some bias, then this bias should be latent in speakers of languages that don’t grammatically distinguish identical from non-identical ejectives. It is found that Quechua speakers are more accurate at repeating nonce words with pairs of identical ejectives (e.g., p’ap’u) than pairs of non-identical ejectives (e.g. k’ap’u), though no distinction is found in a perception task. These results suggest that identical ejectives have an articulatory advantage over non-identical ejectives. Further evidence that articulation is central to the cooccurrence restriction comes from a production task with real phrases of Quechua. Ejectives can cooccur across word boundaries in Quechua (e.g., misk’i t’anta ‘good bread’), though speakers de-ejectivize one of the two ejectives in phrases of this type at a small but significant rate. Implications of these results for the analysis of cooccurrence restrictions and the role of phonetic effects in the grammar are discussed.

McGill Presenters at TOM 6

On Saturday, March 23rd a number of McGill graduate students will present talks and posters at the 6th Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal Semantics Workshop to be held in the Ballroom of Thomson House at 3650 McTavish street. Alanah McKillen will present a talk on “Processing ACD and de re/de dicto ambiguity”. Sepideh Mortazavinia will present a talk on “‘Even’ and ‘only'”. Oriana Kilbourn-Ceron will present a talk on “Even and almost even: teasing apart Spanish ni and ni siquiera“. Dan Goodhue will present a poster on “The meaning of intonation in responses to yes/no questions”. Michael David Hamilton will present a poster on “Scope and reconstruction in Mi’gmaq”. Gretchen McCulloch will present a poster on “Modal indefinites in Mi’gmaq”. And Sasha Simonenko will present a poster on “Semantics of the DP-island effects in Germanic”. To see the complete program, follow this link.

Henderson accepts position at Wayne State

Robert Henderson, who is currently doing a postdoc with Lisa Travis and Jessica Coon, has accepted a tenure track assistant professor position for fall 2013 in the linguistics program at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan.

We wish you the best of luck, Robert!

Speech Learning Lab lunchtime meetings

The Speech Learning Lab will be having lunchtime lab meetings on Tuesdays at 11 in the Green Lab (basement of 1085 Penfield) for the remainder of the semester.  All are welcome to attend, and bring a lunch if you like!

This week (March 12) at noon, Matt Masapollo will be giving a practice talk on his recent work on infant vowel perception.

Next week (March 19), Thea Knowles will present the most recent data from an ongoing project on how acoustic phonetic cues change under different prominence conditions. We’ll also discuss a short paper by Jennifer Cole and collaborators which is relevant to the topic:

Cole, J., Choi, H., Kim, H., & Hasegawa-Johnson, M. (2003). The effect of accent on the acoustic cues to stop voicing in Radio News speech. Paper presented at the International Conference on Phonetic Sciences.


Syntax-Phonology Research Group meeting – 3/12

Note: Exceptionally meeting Tuesday, March 12, 11h35 a.m.  in room 002

Topic: Classical Armenian Declension  by Pavel Caha, Nordlyd 36, special issue on Nanosyntax,  Peter Svenonius, Gillian Ramchand, Michal Starke, and Tarald Taraldsen (eds), pp. 77–112. CASTL, Tromsø.

Ling Lunch 3/13 – Mike Hamilton

When: Wednesday 3/13 1:00–2:00 pm in room 117

Who: Michael Hamilton

What: Phrase structure in Mi’gmaq: A Configurational account of a “Non-configurational” language. This is the departmental presentation of Michael Hamilton’s second evaluation paper.

Also, below are the talks for the rest of the term. Please contact us at if you’d like to present.

March 20 – TOM practice talks/posters (unconfirmed)
March 27 – Beamer workshop (unconfirmed)
April 3 – TBA*
April 10 – TBA*
April 17 – Lauren Eby Clemens (Harvard University)

Algonquian Reading Group — 3/14

When: Thursday 3/14 @ 10:30 in room 117
At this week’s meeting of the Algonquian Reading Group, Hisako Noguchi will be presenting Dechaine & Wiltschko’s paper, Heterogeneity of Reflexives (2012). As usual, we will meet in room 117 at 10:30. 

Syntax-Semantics Reading Group – 3/15

Who: Brendan Gillon

What: Complement polyvalence and polyadicity

Where: Room 117

When: March 15, 3:00pm

Background reading: Implicit complements: A dilemma for model theoretic semantics

Gretchen McCulloch Receives LSA Institute Fellowship

Gretchen McCulloch has received an LSA fellowship to attend the 2013 Linguistic Institute.

Congratulations, Gretchen!

Garcia presents a talk and a poster at the UD Conference on Stress and Accent

On November 29 to December 1, Guilherme Garcia presented a talk and a poster at the UD Conference on Stress and Accent at the University of Delaware. Both were joint work with Natália Guzzo. The talk was titled “Considerations on Brazilian Portuguese stress assignment in derivations”. The poster was titled “Prominence in sequences of clitics and its relation to stressed words.” To see the program, click the link above. Great work, Guilherme!

Coon, Little, and McClay present at ICLDC 3

Jessica Coon, Carol Little, and Elise McClay traveled to Honolulu to present collaborative work on Mi’gmaq at the 3rd International Conference on Language Documentation and Conservation (ICLDC 3) at the University of Hawai’i Manoa. The title of the presentation was “Student Perspectives on Mi’gmaq Language-Learning through Multi-Modal Teaching: A Community–Linguistics Partnership”. To learn more about the Mi’gmaq collaboration, visit After the conference, Elise and Carol participated in a two-day Field Study trip to Hilo, where they learned more about the revitalization of Hawaiian.

Elise McClay and Carol Little

McGill presenters at MOT

On March 15 – 17 a number of McGill students and faculty will each present at MOT, the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto Phonology Workshop. Morgan Sonderegger will be presenting joint work with James Kirby titled “A model of population dynamics in phonetic change”. Brian Buccola will present a talk titled “A mathematical demonstration that classic Optimality Theory is expressively weaker than ordered rewrite rules”. Visitor Kevin Russell and post-doc Tanya Slavin  will present “Predicting sandhi effects from syntactic structure in Plains Cree” and Heather Goad and Akiko Shimada will present “Blackfoot /s/”. For a pdf of the schedule, follow this link.

Okuma and Su present at PsychoShorts

On March 1st, Tokiko Okuma and Jiajia Su presented at the PsychoShorts Conference at the University of Ottawa. The title of Tokiko’s talk was “L2 acquisition of the OPC in Japanese by L1 English and L1 Spanish speakers”. The title of Jiajia’s talk was “The Definiteness Effect in the L2 English of Chinese Learners”. For more information, follow the link above. Great work, Toki and Jiajia!

Ergativity Lab — 3/5

ErgLab will be meeting this week on Tuesday at 10:00 in 117. We’ll continue to talk about developing our questionnaire, this time focusing on diagnostics for the source of ergative case. Robert will be leading the discussion through presenting a recent handout of Julie Legate’s.

Ling Lunch 3/13 — Michael Hamilton

When: Wednesday 3/13 1:00–2:00 pm in room 117

Who: Michael Hamilton

What: Phrase structure in Mi’gmaq: A Configurational account of a “Non-configurational” language. This is the departmental presentation of Michael Hamilton’s second evaluation paper.

Also, below are the talks for the rest of the term. Please contact us at if you’d like to present.

March 20 – TOM practice talks/posters (unconfirmed)
March 27 – Beamer workshop (unconfirmed)
April 3 – TBA*
April 10 – TBA*
April 17 – Lauren Eby Clemens (Harvard University)
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