Author Archive for McLing

Words Research Group, 10/15

Next meeting: Monday, 15 October, 3:30-5 PM at UQAM, room DS-3470, Pavillon J.-A.-DeSève, 320 Sainte-Catherine East

Topic: There are no Bracketing Paradoxes, or How to be a Modular Grammarian by (and presented by) Heather Newell.

Manuscript:   https://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/003964

Syntax Reading Group, 10/17

At this week’s Syntax Reading Group meeting, Lisa Travis will be presenting some of her work investigating V(P)-movement within a feature-based movement typology. The following is some suggested background reading:
  • On local VP-movement: Pearson, M. (2000). Two types of VO languages. In The Derivation of VO and OV, pp. 327–363. (Sec. 2 in particular)
  • On A-type VP-movement: Massam, D. and Smallwood, C. (1997). Essential features of predication in English and Niuean. In Proceedings of NELS 27, pp 263–272.
  • On feature-based movement: Chapter 2 of Van Urk, C. (2015). A uniform syntax for phrasal movement: A case study of Dinka Bor. PhD thesis, MIT.
As usual, we will meet Wednesday 1-2pm in Linguistics Room 117. All are welcome!

Syntax Reading Group, 10/10

This week, the Syntax Reading Group will be discussing a recent paper in Language by Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine entitled “Extraction and Licensing in Toba Batak”. The paper can be found at this link: https://muse.jhu.edu/article/702689

As usual, we will be meeting Wednesday 1-2pm in Linguistics Room 117. All are welcome!

MQLL Meeting, 10/10

For this week’s MQLL meeting, James Tanner will present new data of individual speaker variability in the Tokyo Japanese voicing contrast. The meeting will be Wednesday Oct 10 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm in room 117.

McGill at GALANA

Several papers by members of the Department were presented at GALANA (Generative Approaches to Language Acquisition North America) in Bloomington, Indiana, Sept. 27–30. Presentations included:
  • “Intervention effects in adult L2 processing of relative clauses” – Vera Xia and Lydia White
  • “Pronoun interpretation in L2 Italian: prosodic effects revisited” – Heather Goad, Lydia White, Guilherme Garcia, Natalia Guzzi, Sepideh Mortazavinia, Liz Smeets, and Jiajia Su
  • “Competence and performance in language acquisition revisited: drawing a fine line” – Keynote talk by Lydia White

Gui Garcia, Lydia White, Liz Smeets, Silvina Montrul, Alan Munn

Lydia White and Vera Xia also presented a poster at EUROSLA, Münster, Germany, Sept. 5-8. on “Intervention effects in L2 representation and processing”.

P* Reading Group, 10/2

The P* Reading Group will be meeting on Tuesday from 11 am until noon in room 002. This week’s meeting will be lead by Heather Goad, who will be giving a practice talk titled “Feet are parametric – even in languages with stress” (talk coathored with Gui Garcia). All are welcome to attend!

Syntax Group, 10/3

This week, Justin Royer will be presenting his work on Chuj noun classifiers in preparation for an upcoming presentation at NELS.

As usual, the Syntax reading group will meet Wednesday 1-2pm in room 117. All are welcome!

Word Structure Research Group, 9/24

Next meeting: Monday, 24 September, 3:30-5 PM at UQAM, room DS-3470, Pavillon J.-A.-DeSève, 320 Sainte-Catherine East  

Topic:
  
A morphological puzzle in Austronesian; presented by Lisa Travis.

Syntax Group, 9/24

This week, the Syntax Group will be discussing a paper by Edith Aldridge entitled “Internally and externally headed relative clauses in Tagalog”, which can be found here: http://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.175. The discussion will be led by Henrison Hsieh, who will also present some of his related work on relative clauses in this language.
We will be meeting Wed 9/26 from 1-2pm in Linguistics room 117. All are welcome to attend!

Simonenko and Schwarz to appear in Natural Language Semantics

Alexandra Simonenko (McGill PhD 2014) and Bernhard Schwarz recently learned that their paper “Factive islands and meaning-driven unacceptability” has been accepted for publication in Natural Language Semantics. Congratulations to both!

Canadian Linguistics Olympiad

McGill Linguistics was a proud sponsor of two Canadian Linguistics Olympiad teams last year. The teams, pictured below with coaches Gustavo Beritognolo (UQÀM) and Andrés Salanova (Ottawa), traveled to Prague over the summer, where they competed against 49 other teams from around the world. They earned two bronze medals and one honourable mention–congratulations future linguists!

Jessica to Calgary

Jessica was at the University of Calgary last week where she gave a colloquium talk, “Feature Gluttony and the Syntax of Hierarchy Effects” (collaborative work with Stefan Keine, USC).

Word Structure Research Group, 9/17

The Word Structure Research Group will have its first meeting of the semester today (September 17th).

Where: UQAM DS-3470

When: Mondays 3:30-5

Everyone is welcome.  If you would like to receive regular group announcements, please contact Lisa Travis.

Welcome new postdocs!

Nico Baier recently received his PhD in Linguistics from UC Berkeley. At McGill this year he’ll be doing a post-doc with Jessica Coon working on agreement and anti-agreement in Kabyle, a Berber language of Algeria. His research interests are in theoretical syntax, morphology, and typology, with particular focus on agreement and extraction and their interaction.

Ying Li did her PhD degree in Linguistics at the University of Newcastle Upon Tyne and her research interests lie primarily in Second Language Acquisition, particularly in the acquisition of L2 phonology, phonetics, and morphology. Her postdoctoral research, supervised by Heather Goad, explores prosodic transfer in a case where the grammar of the language being learned is a subset of the native language grammar. This study is funded by China Scholarship Council.

Returning post-docs include Michael McAuliffe, Natalia Brambatti Guzzo, and Aron Hirsch.

Syntax Group, 7/12

This semester, Syntax Group is organized by Henrison and Nico and will meet Wednesdays from 1–2pm in Linguistics Room 117. All are welcome to attend!

On 9/12 Nico will lead discussion of chapter 2 of Coppe van Urk’s dissertation, which is an overview of the A vs A-bar distinction. The full dissertation may be found here:

The current schedule for meetings this semester can be found here.

McGill at Sinn und Bedeutung 23

McGill Linguists, past and present, attended Sinn und Bedeutung 23, hosted by the Centre de Lingüística Teòrica at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, on September 5-7, 2018. Presentations included:

  • Luis Alonso-Ovalle and Esmail Moghiseh – Contradiction-Free Strengthening and Alternative Discharge: Persian -i Indefinites
  • Amir Anvari, Brian Buccola (PhD McGill 2016) and Andreas Haida – Alternative questions in Farsi
  • Alan Bale (PhD McGill 2006) and Bernhard Schwarz – Reverse proportionality without context dependent standards.
  • Daniel Goodhue (PhD McGill 2018) – High negation questions and epistemic bias.

Brian, Luis, Dan, and Bernhard at SuB 23

Welcome back!

Welcome to the 2018–2019 academic year from McLing, your weekly McGill linguistics newsletter digest. This year’s faculty editors are Jessica and Tim, and Francesco is joining the team as graduate student editor. Throughout the year, don’t forget to send McLing your linguistics news and events!

Welcome 1st year graduate students!

Jacob Hoover is interested in formal linguistics and logic, and has an undergraduate background in mathematics. He is starting the graduate program at McGill after ten years of a career as a ballet dancer, and is also curious about the structure of nonlinguistic communication such as dance.

William Johnston‘s interests are in syntax, semantics, and the cognitive science of language. He completed a B.A. in linguistics at Carleton College.

Esmail Moghiseh‘s research interests lie primarily in semantics and pragmatics, and he is also interested in philosophy of language. He earned a master’s degree in engineering from Concordia University, and completed his second degree, B.A. in Linguistics, at McGill University

Michaela Socolof‘s main interests are in syntax, computational linguistics, and fieldwork. She completed her B.A. in Linguistics here at McGill, minoring in Italian, then spent a year as a Baggett Fellow in the University of Maryland’s linguistics department.

Ken Wickham is entering into a qualifying year at McGill having previously completed a BA in Near Eastern studies at the University of Washington. He is primarily focused on syntax, morphology, and typology as they relate to ergativity, but is also interested in syntax-semantics interface, language acquisition, and philosophy of language.

Vanna Willteron got her B.A. in Linguistics, minoring in Philosophy, at Carleton University and has just completed a Qualifying Year here at McGill. She spent the year developing math and programming skills and is finally ready to start her MA, with research interests primarily in computational linguistics.

 

Departmental summer news

McGill linguists did a lot of linguistics this summer! Here is a selection of summer news:

In early July, Amelia Bruno and Eva Portelance (BA McGill, now at Stanford) presented a poster at the “Learning Languages in Humans and Machines” conference in Paris, entitled “A Framework for Lexicalized Grammar Induction Using Variational Bayesian Inference”. This work was coauthored with Tim O’Donnell and Leon Bergen (UCSD).

Jessica Coon returned from her six-month sabbatical stay in Mexico, then in August traveled to Guatemala where she gave a plenary talk (‘Construyendo verbos en chuj y ch’ol’) as well as a collaborative talk (‘Relativas libres en ch’ol y maya yucateco y la tipología de cláusulas relativas sin núcleo’ with Scott Anderbois, Oscar Chan Dzul, and Juan Jesús Vázquez Álvarez) at FAMLi 5.

McGill at FAMLi: Justin Royer, Cora Lesure (BA ’15), Paulina Elias (BA ’18), Robert Henderson (Postdoc ’14), Jessica Coon, Carol-Rose Little (BA ’12)

Brendan Gillon gave one talk entitled ‘Underspecification and the count mass distinction’ at a conference called The Count and Mass Distinction: a linguistic understanding?, held in May at Ruhr Univesität, in Bochum, Germany. Later in the summer, he gave a talk entitled ‘Complementation in Sanskrit treated by a modest generalization of categorial grammar’ in the Sanskrit Computational and Digital Humanities session of the 18th World Sanskrit Conference, held at the University of British Columbia.

Jacob Hoover, Michael Wagner, Masashi Harada, and Gouming Martens (from left to right in the photo below) attended the 2nd Crete Summer School of Linguistics in Rethymnon in July.

Henrison Hsieh published a paper in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory entitled Distinguishing nouns and verbs: A Tagalog case study. It is currently available online here.

Donghyun Kim successfully defended his thesis in August titled “Individual differences in plasticity in speech perception”. Don is off to a post doc at the University of Exeter working with Nicholas Dumay on research involving speech, memory, and sleep. Best of luck Don!

Defence committee from left: Heather Goad, Shari Baum (SCSD), Francisco Torreira, Donghyun Kim, Meghan Clayards, Morgan Sonderegger

Tim O’Donnell visited the Digital and Cognitive Musicology Laboratory at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne this summer to work with collaborators Martin Rohrmeier and Daniel Harasim on models of musical cognition.

Clint Parker attended CoLang 2018 (the Institute on Collaborative Language Research) at the University of Florida. During the first two weeks, he attended workshops focused on ethical considerations in fieldwork and collaboration between universities and Indigenous peoples in language revitalisation.  In the second three weeks, he participated in a practicum in which he helped compile materials and analyze the grammar of the dormant Timucua language, once spoken in northern Florida.  His CoLang work will feed into his second Evaluation Paper, which will connect to language revitalisation and the role of the university in supporting Indigenous languages.

Justin Royer did three months of research and fieldwork in Mexico, where he was supervised by Roberto Zavala at the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS) in San Cristóbal de las Casas, funded by a MITACs travel grant. While in Mexico, he participated to the workshop on Headless Relatives Clauses in Mesoamerican Languages CIESAS. He also attended two conferences where he presented two talks, and one joint poster with Luis Alonso-Ovalle:
  • In May, at the Primer encuentro de estudios sobre el Chuj at the Universidad Autónoma de México he gave a talk entitled ‘La (in)definitud en chuj y los clasificadores nominales’.
  • In August, at Form and Analysis in Mayan Linguistics (FAMLi 5) in Antigua, Guatemala he gave a talk titled Configuraciones referenciales en chuj and a poster (with Luis Alonso-Ovalle) titled ‘La modalidad de decisión arbitraria en chuj: komon

Justin with Chuj consultant Magdalena Torres in Yolnhajab’, Guatemala

Liz Smeets travelled to Italy to test second language learners of Italian with Romanian or English as a first language for her dissertation research on Conditions on L1 transfer in L2 discourse-syntax mappings. Liz also published a paper entitled ‘The acquisition of object movement in Dutch: L1 transfer and near-native grammars at the syntax–discourse interface’ in Second Language Research. The paper can be found here.

In July, Lisa Travis gave a joint paper at the International Conference on Austronesian Linguistics (ICAL) with Ileana Paul, held at the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar.  She stayed on ten days to work with students and professors at the university (see attached photo) collecting data for a paper co-authored with Baholisoa Ralalaoherivony and Jeannot Fils Ranaivoson on dialect variation in Malagasy focus constructions.

The Montréal Computational and Quantitative Linguistics Laboratory (MCQLL) hosted two local workshops. From June 11-15, MCQLL held a workshop on models of morphological productivity which included visitor Mika Braginsky from MIT. From August 15-17, MCQLL hosted a workshop on computational minimalist grammars and parsing which included Eva Portelance, visiting from Stanford, and Leon Bergen, visiting from UCSD.

Finally, a number of other publications involving current and former McGill authors came out this summer! These include:

Clemens, Lauren and Jessica Coon. (2018) Deriving verb-initial word order in Mayan. Language 94(2): 237–380 doi:10.1353/lan.2018.0017

Hamlaoui,FatimaMarzena Żygis, Jonas Engelmann, and Michael Wagner (2018). Acoustic correlates of focus marking in Czech and Polish. Language and Speech, 1(20):44pp DOI: 10.1177/0023830918773536

Mackenzie, SaraErin Olson, Meghan Clayards, and Michael Wagner (2018). North American /l/ both darkens and lightens depending on prosodic context. Laboratory Phonology, 9(1)(13) DOI: 10.5334/labphon.104

Santi, AndreaNino Grillo, Emilia Molimpakis & Michael Wagner (2018) Processing relative clauses across comprehension and production: similarities and differences, Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1080/23273798.2018.1513539

Smeets, Liz and Michael Wagner (2018). Reconstructing the syntax of focus operators. Semantics & Pragmatics, 11(6):1–27. DOI: 10.3765/sp.11.6

Vander Klok, JozinaHeather Goad, and Michael Wagner (2018). Prosodic Focus in English vs. French: A Scope Account.Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 3(1): 71. 1-47 DOI: 10.5334/gjgl.172

McGill Linguistics FestEval

On Friday, September 7, 3–5pm (Room TBA) our annual FestEval will take place.  The following grad students will present their recent evaluation papers:
3.00pm Jurij Bozic: Tense Deficiency and Scope Inversion: Implications for Control and Case
3.30pm Amy Bruno: Minimalist Grammar Induction using Variational Bayesian Inference
4.00pm Gouming Martens: Frozen by Context: Focus Effects on Syntactic Freezing
4.30pm Clinton Parker: Agreement, clitic doubling, and vestigial ergativity in Shughni
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