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P* Reading Group, 4/17 – Heather Goad

P* Reading Group (Wednesday, 1:30 pm)

Heather will lead a discussion of Inkelas (2019) “Modeling Scalar Vowel Strength in Q Theory” on Wednesday (Apr. 17th) 1:30-2:30pm. All are welcome to attend!

MCQLL, 4/10 – Wilfred Yau

At next week’s meeting, Wilfred will be presenting the following paper: Mao, L., & Hulden, M. (2016). How regular is Japanese loanword adaptation? A computational study. Please find the abstract below:
Abstract: The modifications that foreign loanwords undergo when adapted into Japanese have been the subject of much study in linguistics. The scholarly interest of the topic can be attributed to the fact that Japanese loanwords undergo a complex series of phonological adaptations, something which has been puzzling scholars for decades. While previous studies of Japanese loanword accommodation have focused on specific phonological phenomena of limited scope, the current study leverages computational methods to provide a more complete description of all the sound changes that occur when adopting English words into Japanese. To investigate this, we have de- veloped a parallel corpus of 250 English transcriptions and their respective Japanese equivalents. These words were then used to develop a wide-coverage finite state transducer based phonolog- ical grammar that mimics the behavior of the Japanese adaptation process, mapping e.g cream[kôi:m] to [kW.Ri:.mW]. By developing rules with the goal of accounting completely for a large number of borrowings, and analyzing forms mistakenly generated by the system, we discover an internal inconsistency within the loanword phonology of the Japanese language, something arguably underestimated by previous studies. The result of the investigation suggests that there are multiple dimensions that shape the output form of the current Japanese loanwords. These dimensions include orthography, phonetics, and historical changes. (link to paper: https://www.aclweb.org/anthology/C16-1081?fbclid=IwAR3NYKaphmkENltohIpdTJhZLZFe1Fzbtez90-P_FaIWHIkK5imlN7Qyh4I)
We will meet 5:30pm Wednesday in room 117. Food will be provided.

McGill at CUNY 2019 Conference on Human Sentence Processing

Graham Adachi-Kriege, Greg Theos, (both undergraduate researchers working with Tim) and Vanna Willerton presented their posters at the CUNY 2019 Conference on Human Sentence Processing (https://www.colorado.edu/event/cuny2019/) held on March 30-April 01. Graham and Vanna covered their recent work on the rate of child over-irregularization errors, focusing on the English past tense. Greg presented his evaluation of a theory of morphological productivity using simulated lexical decision time data.

Semantics Group, 4/5 – Daniel Hole (Stuttgart University)

This Friday, Daniel Hole (Stuttgart University) will be giving a talk titled “Arguments for a universal distributed syntax of evaluation, scalarity and basic focus quantification with ‘only’”.

Abstract: In this talk, I review the evidence that has been adduced for a multi-constituent syntax of focus particle constructions. Traditionally, those components that I model as independent morphemes with their own scope-taking properties have been analyzed as submorphemic components of focus particles. I use ‘only’ words to make this point. This work is based on Hole (2013, 2015, 2017), and it makes use of data from Chinese, Vietnamese, German and Dutch. However, many arguments carry over to English. Time allowing, I will also present novel data from the interaction of German nur with modals and the German NPI modal brauchen ‘need (+NPI)’. This approach to focus particles stands in stark contrast to Büring & Hartmann (2001) or Coppock & Beaver (2013) and follows trains of thought as laid out in Smeets and Wagner (2018).
We will meet at 3:30 (Room TBD, but likely R117). All are welcome to attend!

P* Reading Group, 3/27

P* Reading Group (Wednesday, 1:30 pm)

We’ll be having P* Group on Wednesday, March 13th at 1:30 pm in room 831 of SCSD (2001 McGill College, 8th floor), during which Alvaro will lead a discussion of  Pinet and Iverson’s (2010) Talker-listener accent interactions in speech-in-noise recognition: Effects of prosodic manipulation as a function of language experience. The paper is available at bit.ly/PGroup_2019a. All are welcome to attend!

MCQLL, 03/27

At next week’s meeting, James will be presenting some preliminary work with Morgan Sonderegger and Jane Stuart-Smith on dialectal & speaker variability in the consonant voicing effect.

The meeting will start 5:30pm Wednesday 3/27 in room 117. Food will be provided.

Semantics Group, 3/29 – Aron Hirsch and Bernhard Schwarz

This Friday, Aron Hirsch and Bernhard Schwarz will present their joint work on which-questions.
Title: Singular which, mention-some, and variable scope uniqueness.
Abstract:
We present data that we take to support the conclusion that the uniqueness presupposition of singular which-questions is not triggered by an answer operator, as proposed in Dayal (1996), but is instead triggered by which itself. The key observation is that uniqueness may be introduced at a low site, below where the answer operator necessarily takes scope. Our conclusion clears the way for an attractive analysis of mention-some questions, put forward in Fox (2013).
As usual, we will be meeting at 3pm in Room 117. All are welcome to attend!

MCQLL, 3/20

At next week’s meeting, Emi will present on sections of chapters 3 (“The Tipping Point”) and 4 (“Signal and Noise”) of Charles Yang’s book The Price of Linguistic Productivity; How children learn to break the rules of language. The presentation will focus on the Tolerance Principle, Yang’s account of linguistic productivity. Specifically, she will highlight the principle’s recursive applications, particularly as they apply to the case of German plural nouns.

We will meet Wednesday 5:30pm in room 117. Food will be provided

P* Reading Group, 3/13 – Jeff Lamontagne on Breen (2018)

P* Reading Group (Wednesday, 1:30 pm)

We’ll be having P* Group on Wednesday, March 13th at 1:30 pm in room 831 of SCSD (2001 McGill College, 8th floor), during which Jeff will lead a discussion of  Breen’s (2018) Effects of metric hierarchy and rhyme predictability on word duration in The Cat in the Hat. The paper is available at bit.ly/PGroup_2019a. All are welcome to attend!

P* Reading Group, 2/27 – Meghan Clayards on Yu (2019)

P* Reading Group (Wednesday, 1:30 pm)

We’ll be having P* Group on Wednesday, February 27th at 1:30 pm in room 831 of SCSD (2001 McGill College, 8th floor), during which Meghan will lead a discussion of  Yu’s (2019) “On the nature of the perception-production link: Individual variability in English sibilant-vowel coarticulation”. The paper is available at bit.ly/PGroup_2019a. All are welcome to attend!

MCQLL, 2/27

At next week’s MCQLL meeting, Graham will give a presentation on the following paper:
Abstract:
How do children begin to use language to say things they have never heard before? The origins of linguistic productivity have been a subject of heated debate: Whereas generativist accounts posit that children’s early language reflects the presence of syntactic abstractions, constructivist approaches instead emphasize gradual generalization derived from frequently heard forms. In the present research, we developed a Bayesian statistical model that measures the degree of abstraction implicit in children’s early use of the determiners “a” and “the.” Our work revealed that many previously used corpora are too small to allow researchers to judge between these theoretical positions. However, several data sets, including the Speechome corpus—a new ultra-dense data set for one child—showed evidence of low initial levels of productivity and higher levels later in development. These findings are consistent with the hypothesis that children lack rich grammatical knowledge at the outset of language learning but rapidly begin to generalize on the basis of structural regularities in their input.
We will be meeting Wednesday at 5:30pm in room 117.

Semantics Group, 3/1 – Michael Wagner

This week, Michael Wagner will give a talk titled “Interactions between focus and choice of intonational tune”. As usual, we will meet on Friday at 3pm in Room 117. All are welcome to attend!

Kim and Clayards in Language, Cognition and Neuroscience

This week a new article was published online in Language, Cognition and Neuroscience with co-authors Donghyun Kim (recent PhD graduate) and Meghan Clayards.
Donghyun Kim & Meghan Clayards (2019). Individual differences in the link between perception and production and the mechanisms of phonetic imitation, Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1080/23273798.2019.1582787
Here is the hyperlink

P* Reading Group, 2/20 – James Tanner on Williams and Escudero (2014) 

P* Reading Group (Wednesday, 2 pm)

We’ll be having P* Group on Wednesday, February 6th at 1:30 pm in room 831 of SCSD (2001 McGill College, 8th floor), during which James will lead a discussion of  Williams and Escudero’s (2014) “A cross-dialectal comparison of vowels in Northern and Southern British English”. The paper is available at bit.ly/PGroup_2019a. All are welcome to attend!

MCQLL, 2/20 – Seara Chen

At next week’s MCQLL meeting, Seara Chen will be presenting on computational model for phonotactics. She will present a survey of two of the major types of computational models for phonotactics, which are based on a collection of papers. In addition, she will also give a short explanation of the current experiment they are working in the lab that will be used to compare different automated phonotactic scorer.

The meeting will be Wednesday 2/20 5:30pm in room 117. All are welcome!

Semantics Group, 2/22 – Grégoire Winterstein (UQAM)

After a long wait, we are happy to announce the first presentation of the Semantics Group in the Winter term. Grégoire Winterstein (UQAM) will give a talk titled “Bayesian argumentation within language: the case of ‘even’ “.

Abstract: In this talk, I will present some evidence that support the idea that some natural language expressions encode argumentative constraints. Practically, this means that the linguistic form of an utterance matters when evaluating the sort of conclusion the speaker is trying to support in discourse, and how effective their utterance is in providing support for these conclusions. To formalize these argumentative effects, I use a Bayesian approach that gives a probabilistic interpretation to argumentation and assumes that semantic meaning also deals with probabilities. To illustrate, I will discuss the case of scalar additive elements such as English “even” that have been analyzed as conveying the argumentative superiority of their prejacent compared to their antecedent. I argue against such an analysis, but still maintain that their semantics is argumentative.

As usual, the meeting will take place in Room 117 starting at 3:00pm. All are welcome to attend!

MCQLL, 2/13 – Vanna Willerton

At next week’s MCQLL meeting, Vanna will be presenting two short papers on the topic of language acquisition. Both papers use statistical methods to deduce interesting information regarding the role of data in early language learning:

  1. How Data Drive Early Word Learning: A Cross-Linguistic Waiting Time Analysis. Mollica & Piantadosi (2017)
  2. Humans store ~1.5 megabytes during language acquisition: information theoretic boundsMollica & Piantadosi (?)

It is not required that you all read them, but they are quite short so you are welcome to read ahead of time to make a more interesting discussion. Please click the titles for papers.

We will be meeting Wednesday 5:30pm in room 117.

Semantics Group, 2/15 – Grégoire Winterstein (UQAM)

This Friday, we will have our first meeting in the Winter term. Grégoire Winterstein (UQAM) will give a talk titled “The augmentative properties of ‘even’ “.

As usual, the meeting will take place in Room 117 starting at 3:00pm. All are welcome to attend!

P* Reading Group, 2/6 – Yeong Woo Park

P* Reading Group (Wednesday, 2 pm)

We’ll be having P* Group on Wednesday, February 6th at 1:30 pm in room 831 of SCSD (2001 McGill College, 8th floor), during which Yeong will lead a discussion of  Xu’s (2009) “Timing and coordination in tone and intonation—An articulatory-functional perspective”. The paper is available at bit.ly/PGroup_2019a. All are welcome to attend!

MCQLL, 2/6 – Jacob Hoover

At next week’s MCQLL lab meeting, Jacob will present on Non-projectivity and mild–context sensitivity. He will be presenting on Marco Kuhlmann’s 2010 book “Dependency Structures and Lexicalized Grammars”.  Word-to-word dependencies have a history in descriptive linstuistics, based on the intuition that the structure of a sentence can be captured by the relationships between the words.  Dependency structures can be sorted into different classes depending on the amount and form of crossing dependencies that are allowed.  Examining classes of non-projective dependency structures and how they relate to grammar formalisms (starting with projective dependency structures = lexicalized context-free grammars), as well as dependency corpora is a way to investigate what kind of limited context-sensitivity should be used to best deal with the long distance dependencies and free word order in natural languages.

We will meet Wednesday 2/6 5:30pm in room 117.

 

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