Monthly Archive for August, 2014

Welcome back! This week’s events…

Welcome back everyone. We will resume our regular news and events updates next week, but wanted to send a quick post with this week’s events. Please send us your news from the summer!

Wednesday, August 27th – Eye-tracking seminar

Please join us on Wednesday, August 27 at 1085 Dr. Penfield (starting in room 117) for a seminar on eye movement research in linguistics. This seminar is aimed especially at introducing the methodology to researchers in theoretical linguistics who might be interested in getting involved in experimental research, with a focus on the sentence/discourse level. The rough schedule for the day is:

10am-12:30: General introduction, the basics of eye movement research in reading (Meg) and in the ‘visual world’ (Jeff).

12:30-1:30: break for lunch (provided)

1:30-4pm: More detailed introduction to the methodology including some hands-on time in the lab.

If you’re interested in attending, please RSVP to Meg ( or Jeff ( so we have an idea how many people to expect and how many lunches to order. If you could include a comment about why you might be interested in eye movements it would be very helpful.

Friday, August 29th – pizza lunch to welcome new graduate students! 

12:30–2pm in the department lounge, please RSVP to Andria De Luca

Friday, August 29th – FestEval (graduate students present their Eval papers)

Tentative Program, to be held (tentatively) in Linguistics 117:

14.00-14.30 Hye-young Bang: An articulatory, acoustic and aerodynamic account of English alveolar fricative acquisition in different vowel contexts

14.30-15.00 Gui Garcia: Stress and gradient weight in Portuguese

15.00-15.15 Short Intermission with refreshments
15.15-15.45 Dan Goodhue: The contradiction contour and the interpretation of yes-no responses.
15.45-16.15 Oriana Kilbourn: Almost: scope and covert exhaustification

16.15-16.45 Marzieh Mortazavinia: Nuclear Stress Assignment in Persian, revisited

McGill Linguistics Colloquium Series 2014-2015

We are pleased to announce the schedule for our colloquium series this school year. As usual, talks are scheduled on Fridays at 3:30 pm. Titles and locations will be announced as the talks approach. We hope to see you there!

Anne-Michelle Tessier (U of Alberta) – Friday, September 12 at 3:30 pm

Kristine Onishi (McGill) – Friday, September 26 at 3:30 pm

Benjamin Bruening (U of Delaware) – Friday, October 3 at 3:30 pm

Hadas Kotek (McGill) – Friday, October 24 at 3:30 pm

Yoonjung Kang (U of Toronto) – Friday, November 14 at 3:30 pm

Florian Jaeger (U of Rochester) – Friday, February 20 at 3:30 pm

Meg Grant (McGill) – Friday, March 13 at 3:30 pm

Lisa Matthewson (UBC) – Friday, April 10 at 3:30 pm

Welcome to new graduate students and post-docs!

The semester is upon us, and we’d like to re-welcome this year’s incoming batch of graduate students and 3 new post-doctoral research fellows!

Graduate Students:

Colin Brown is interested in information structure and its interfaces, particularly in understudied languages. He completed his B.A. at the University of British Columbia.

Francesco Gentile’s main research interest is natural language semantics, with incursions into other areas such as phonology, pragmatics, and philosophy of language. He earned a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Nottingham, and completed an M.A. in Theoretical Linguistics at Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona.

Jeffrey Lamontagne‘s main interests lie in sociophonetics and sound change, from perceptual, articulatory and acoustic perspectives. He has just completed his M.A. in Linguistics at the University of Ottawa.

Betty Leung is interested in first language attrition, online language processing, and computational linguistics.  She studied Linguistics and Cognitive Science at Simon Fraser University.

Dejan Milacic is interested in syntax, semantics, pragmatics and their interfaces. He majored in Cognitive Science at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Pauline Palma‘s two main interests lie in theoretical morphology and in second language acquisition, with a particular interest in syntax and semantics. She completed her B.A. in Linguistics at UQÀM.

Postdoctoral fellows:

Lauren Clemens

Lauren graduated from Harvard in May of this year and is excited to be
joining McGill’s department. Her research focuses on prosody and the
syntax-phonology interface at the sentential level. She works
primarily with data from Austronesian and Mayan languages. Her
specific research interests include prosodic diagnostics for syntactic
structure; the effect of prosodic constraints on word order variation;
and the representation of prosodic structure in the grammar. Her
dissertation “Prosodic Noun Incorporation and Verb-Initial Syntax”
develops a prosodically motivated account of pseudo-noun incorporation
with specific reference to Niuean. Although Lauren is a Hawks fan by
birth, she is glad to have a team to cheer for in the Eastern

picture for mcling

mitcho Erlewine

Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine inexplicably prefers to go by the name “mitcho.” He recently finished his dissertation at MIT, on interactions between the syntax/semantics of focus association and movement. Much of his work is on Mandarin Chinese, but he has also enjoyed investigating Atayal (Austronesian), Kaqchikel (Mayan), Japanese, and English. While at McGill, he will be working on his two current research areas: (a) the cross-linguistic syntax/semantics of focus, and (b) the interaction of movement with case, agreement, and voice. He looks forward to participating actively in McGill department life and collaborating with others.

2012-06-10 at 22-24-02

Hadas Kotek

Hadas recently defended her PhD dissertation in the Department of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT. She completed her undergraduate studies in linguistics at Tel-Aviv University. Her research focuses on the syntax-semantics interface, and utilizes experimental and quantitative tools alongside traditional methods. More specifically, her work examines the interaction between competing operations in syntax and semantics, focusing on the domains of wh-questions, focus constructions, quantification, and degree semantics. Her dissertation studies the syntax, semantics, and processing of multiple wh-questions. She welcomes your recommendations for good middle-eastern grocery stores and Jewish delis in Montreal.



Welcome new lecturer Peter Milne!

McLing would like to welcome Peter Milne, who is joining the department this year as a Faculty Lecturer in phonetics and phonology.  Welcome, Peter!

I have recently graduated from the UofO and spent last term teaching phonetics and phonology at Carleton. I enjoy getting my hands dirty building and evaluating speech recognition systems, such as my SPLaligner. My doctoral dissertation used the technique of forced alignment to investigate some dialectal differences between Québec and France in the pronunciation patterns of word-final consonant clusters.

I am currently exploring several lines of research – all of which seem to include a lot of technology that I am only beginning to understand. I want to know how the performance of automatic speech recognition systems can inform our understanding of the human perception of language. I also want to know if we can detect sound changes in their infancy and make accurate predictions about future sound patterns in a language. I am also interested in helping to develop technologies for lesser studied languages by co-opting existing tools for new uses.

I am looking forward to a great year at McGill meeting and learning from an amazing group of researchers!


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