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McGill at GASLA 16

Lydia White, Heather Goad, Gui Garcia, (PhD ’17) Natália Guzzo, (Post-doc ’18–’19) Liz Smeets (PhD ’19) and Jiajia Su (PhD ’19) presented a paper at Generative Approaches to Second Language Acquisition (GASLA 16) in Trondheim, Norway, May 12-14, entitled Determining prosodic effects in L2 grammars: effectiveness of different methodologies.

There were a number of McGillians present. In the photo: Philippe Prévost (PhD 1997), Silvina Montrul (PhD 1997), Roumyana Slabakova (PhD 1997), Joyce Bruhn de Garavito (PhD 1999), Lydia White, Gui Garcia (PhD 2017) and Liz Smeets (PhD 2019). Also present but not in the photo: Makiko Hirakawa (PhD 2000).

McGill at Ba-TOM 1

Students from the Winter 2022 Linguistic Field Methods class will be traveling to Toronto later this week to present their work on Kirundi at the first Toronto–Montreal Bantu Colloquium, Ba-TOM 1, hosted at the University of Toronto Scarborough May 27th and 28th. Presenters include Chase BolesBrandon ChaperonTerrance Gatchalian, Claire HendersonKatya Morgunova, Willie Myers, and David Shanks.

McGill at New Sounds 2022

McGill linguists of past and present gave talks at New Sounds 2022 10th International Symposium on the Acquisition of Second Language Speech, which took place April 20th–22nd at the University of Barcelona. Talks included:
  • Heather Goad: The role of similarity in feature redeployment.
  • Guilherme D Garcia (PhD 2017) & Chao Zhou: L1 Mandarin prosody helps acquiring L3 Portuguese stress
  • Öner Özçelik (PhD 2012): Effects of surface similarity vs. phonological/linguistic similarity in the L2 acquisition of stress
  • Amina Affes, Adel Jebali & Walcir Cardoso (PhD 2003): Effects of age and language exposure on the acquisition of French pronunciation across different task types
  • Laura Colantoni, Alexei Kochetov & Jeffrey Steele (PhD 2002): Articulatory Insights into the L2 acquisition of English /l/ allophony

Mokha and Goad at (F)ASAL 12

Avleen Mokha (BAhon 2020) and Heather Goad presented a talk titled “A structured approach to obstruent+approximant+vowel strings in Hindi” at the virtual (Formal) Approaches to South Asian Languages 12 earlier this month at the University of Utah.

McGill @ MOTH 2022

McGill linguists of past and present gathered at UQAM last Friday and Saturday for the 10th annual edition of the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Hamilton (MOTH) Syntax Workshop.

Justin Royer gave an invited talk titled “Binding and anti-cataphora in Mayan”. Other talks by McGill grad students included:

  • Terrance Gatchalian – Building Ktunaxa causatives
  • Will Johnston – Directed motion in White Hmong: Serial verb constructions as complex PPs
  • Bernardas Jurevičius – Anaphoricity and referentiality
  • Willie Myers – High-, Low-, and No-absolutive syntax: Effects of object raising in Mam

The full program is available here: https://sites.google.com/view/moth2022/program

Mireille Tremblay (PhD ’91), Richard Compton (Post-doc ’13–’14), Ileana Paul (PhD ’00), Justin Royer, Bernardas Jurevicius, Terrance Gatchalian, Jessica Coon, Lisa Travis, Will Johnston, Willie Myers

McGill @ WCCFL 40

Martina Martinović and Michael Wagner will be presenting at the upcoming West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL 40), hosted virtually by Stanford University May 13–15.

Martina will be presenting a talk titled “[-Person] and [+Person] resumption in Igala”, and Michael will be presenting in the special session on Prosody, Focus, and Ellipsis with a talk titled “Syntactic alternative projection”.

The full program is available here: https://wccfl2022.stanford.edu/program

McGill at upcoming MOTH 2022

The 10th Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Hamilton (MOTH) Syntax Workshop will take place this year April 22nd and 23rd at UQÀM. The line-up includes presentations by Terrance Gatchalian, Will JohnstonBernardas Jurevicius, and Willie Myers, as well as an invited talk by Justin Royer. The full program is available here, and registration is here.

McGill @ MOT 2022

Connie Ting and Wei Zhang each presented at the 2022 edition of MOT, the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto Phonetics/Phonology Workshop, held at the University of Ottawa March 25th and 26th.

  • Connie Ting – “Investigating universality of consonant intrinsic F0 effects”
  • Wei Zhang – “Cue primacy effects in Mandarin tone imitation”

The full program is available here.

McGill @ LSA 2022

McGill linguists presented at this year’s meeting of the Linguistics Society of America, held this past weekend in hybrid format in Washington DC. The full program is available at: https://www.linguisticsociety.org/node/36129/schedule.



McGill at TOMILLA 3

McGill linguists traveled to the University of Ottawa last week for the 3rd Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal Indigenous Languages of Latin America (TOMILLA 3) workshop December 3rd and 4th. McGill talks included:

  • Willie Myers – “High, low, and no absolutive Mayan syntax: effects of object raising in heritage Mam” (based on work with McGill BA student Ix Jimenez-Haham)
  • Justin Royer & Jessica Coon – “Object raising bleeds binding: a new correlate of high-absolutive syntax in Mayan”

Justin Royer, Willie Myers, Ix Jimenez-Haham, Jessica Coon, and collaborator Pedro Mateo Pedro (UofT)

Royer and Coon at FAMLi VI

Justin Royer and Jessica Coon presented collaborative work at the 6th meeting of Form and Analysis in Maya Linguistics (FAMLi VI), which took place in a hybrid format at CIMSUR-UNAM in Chiapas, Mexico November 12th and 13th. The title of their talk was: “Extracción del objeto y el parámetro absolutivo bajo/alto”.

McGill linguists at EMNLP 2021

McGill linguists presented their work at the Conference on Empirical Methods in Natural Language Processing  (EMNLP 2021) November 7–11. Jacob Louis Hoover presented a poster (virtually) for a paper titled Linguistic Dependencies and Statistical Dependence.

here is Jacob presenting his poster

Siva Reddy was an author on Visually Grounded Reasoning across Languages and Cultures, which won the Best Long Paper award. Congrats Siva and team!

McGill at BUCLD

McGill was well represented at the 46th annual Boston University Conference on Language Development (Nov 4-7). The following poster presentations were given by current and former McGillians:

  • Unlearning L1 options and incomplete acquisition: The case of CLLD in Italian and Romanian. Liz Smeets (PhD 2020)
  • Can indirect positive evidence be used in the domain of inflectional morphology? Native English-speaking learners’ understanding of Mandarin plural marking. Ying Li (post-doc 2018-2020) & Heather Goad
  • L2 acquisition of singular/plural interpretation of Japanese bare nouns. Tokiko Okuma (PhD 2015)
  • Does using ‘babytalk’ predict more talking with infants? Infant-directed prosody in the TalkBank LENA corpus. Henny Yeung, Elise McClay (BA Hon 2012) & Emma Hutchinson

McGill @ NELS

McGill linguists will be presenting their work at the upcoming 52nd meeting of the Northeast Linguistics Society (NELS 52), hosted virtually by Rutgers University October 29–31. More information and the full program are available here: https://sites.rutgers.edu/nels-52/.



McGill @ AMP 2021

McGill Linguistics was represented at the Annual Meeting on Phonology 2021, held Oct. 1-3 (virtually) in Toronto:
  • Morgan Sonderegger gave an invited talk, “Corpus studies of variation in obstruent ‘voicing’ across languages and speakers: phonetic variation and implications for phonology”
  • Jeff Lamontagne (PhD ’20, now at Indiana University) gave a talk: “Contrasting Community and Individual Grammars in Laurentian French Laxing”

Alonso-Ovalle at SENSUS 2

Luis Alonso-Ovalle presented collaborative work with Paula Menéndez-Benito (U. Tübingen) and Aynat Rubinstein (Hebrew University Jerusalem) last week at the 2nd meeting of SENSUS Constructing Meaning in Romance, hosted virtually by UMass Amherst. The title of their talk was “Subeventive Modal Projection: The Case of Spanish Subjunctive Relative Clauses” (abstract).

McGill @ Sinn und Bedeutung 26

Sinn und Bedeutung was hosted virtually last week by the Institute of German Language and Literature I and the Cologne Center of Language Sciences at the University of Cologne, and included a number of McGill presentations:

The full program is available here.

McGill at Interspeech and Amlap 2021

McGill will be represented at two upcoming virtual conferences in early September, details and links below:

At  Amlap 2021 in Paris:

Two Prosodylab papers accepted at Interspeech

Two papers from prosodylab have been accepted at Interspeech:
Wagner, Michael, Iturralde Zurita, Alvaro, and Zhang, Sijjia (in press). Parsing speech for grouping and prominence, and the typology of rhythm. Proceedings of Insterspeech in Brno, Czechia. [paper]

You can try out a version of the experiment yourself at the new prosodylab field station.

Humans appear to be wired to perceive acoustic events rhythmically. English speakers, for example,  tend to perceive alternating short and long sounds as  a series of binary groups with a final beat (iambs), and alternating soft and loud sounds as a series of trochees. This generalization, often called the ‘Iambic-trochaic Law’ (ITL), although viewed as an auditory universal by some, has been argued to be shaped by language experience. Earlier work on the ITL had a crucial limitation, in that it did not tease apart the percepts of grouping and prominence, which the notions of iamb and trochee inherently confound. We explore how intensity and duration relate to percepts of prominence and grouping in six languages (English, French, German, Japanese, Mandarin, and Spanish). The results show that the ITL is not universal, and that  cue interpretation is shaped by language experience. However, there are also invariances: Duration appears relatively robust across languages as a cue to prominence (longer syllables are perceived as stressed), and intensity for grouping (louder syllables are perceived as initial). The results show the beginnings of a rhythmic typology based on how the dimensions of grouping and prominence are cued.
A paper about the  *prosoBeast* annotation tool:

Gerazov Branislav and Michael Wagner (in press). ProsoBeast Prosody Annotation Tool. Proceedings of Insterspeech in Brno, Czechia. ArXiv e-prints. [paper][git]

The labelling of speech corpora is a laborious and time-consuming process. The ProsoBeast Annotation Tool seeks to ease and accelerate this process by providing an interactive 2D representation of the prosodic landscape of the data, in which contours are distributed based on their similarity. This interactive map allows the user to inspect and label the utterances. The tool integrates several state-of-the-art methods for dimensionality reduction and feature embedding, including variational autoencoders. The user can use these to find a good representation for their data. In addition, as most of these methods are stochastic, each can be used to generate an unlimited number of different prosodic maps. The web app then allows the user to seamlessly switch between these alternative representations in the annotation process. Experiments with a sample prosodically rich dataset have shown that the tool manages to find good representations of varied data and is helpful both for annotation and label correction. The tool is released as free software for use by the community.

McGill @ CLA 2021

Current and former McGillians were well represented at the annual meeting of the Canadian Linguistic Association, held virtually June 4–7. Presentations included:
  • Bronwyn M. Bjorkman (BA 2006): Representing and resolving feature conflicts
  • Heather Goad & Natália Brambatti Guzzo: Regularly inflected forms can be prosodically ambiguous in English
  • Heather Newell (PhD 2006): The Morphophonology of Tamil Pronouns: A solution to a locality problem
  • Ileana Paul (PhD 2000), Lisa Travis, Jozina Vander Klok (PhD 2013) & Susi Wurmbrand:  Crossed control as Voice restructuring
  • Gretchen McCulloch (MA 2014) participated in the Round table: What can I do with a degree in linguistics? How to be a linguist outside academia 

The full program is available at: https://cla-acl.ca/programmes/congres-de-2021-meeting.html

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