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Summer news round-up

Paulina Elias (BA ’18) will begin the masters program in Speech Language Pathology at Western University. Congrats Paulina!

Francesco Gentile and Bernhard Schwarz will be presenting their new joint work on how many questions at the Workshop Exhaustivity in Questions and Answers – Experimental and theoretical approaches in Tübingen in June. The title of their talk is: “An argument that higher order wh-quantification is over existentials only”.

Masashi Harada will present a poster at GLOW in Asia Xll in Seoul, South Korea. The poster about his first Eval paper will be titled “Contextual effects on case in Japanese copular constructions”. For this research trip, Masashi will be funded by the CRBLM.

Parameters Workshop

The Parameters Workshop in Honour of Lisa Travis took place Friday and Saturday last week at Thomson House, and included a number of current and former McGill affiliates, especially students, colleagues, and collaborators of Lisa Travis.

workshop participants outside Thomson House

The workshop included two full days of talks and posters on the topic of parameters. Special thanks to grad student organizers Masashi Harada, Henrison Hsieh, Mathieu Paillé, and Justin Royer.

Lisa gave the plenary talk

McGill at SALT 29

McGill linguists traveled to California last week for the 29th meeting of SALT (Semantics and Linguistic Theory), held May 17th–19th at UCLA. Talks and posters by McGill affiliates included:

  • Luis Alonso-Ovalle and Esmail Moghiseh – Neutralizing Free Choice Items via Domain Restriction: Farsi -i Indefinites
  • Aron Hirsch and Bernhard Schwarz – Singular “which”, mention-some, and variable scope uniqueness
  • Bernhard Schwarz, Alexandra Simonenko (PhD ’14), and David Oshima – Factive islands from necessary blocking

The full program can be found here. Some current and former McGill linguists gathered for a photo:

McGill @ SALT: Bernhard, Esmail, Luis, mitcho Erlewine (postdoc ’14–
’15), Aron, Maayan Adar (MA ’14)

Jessica to UK for Annual Babel Lecture

Jessica Coon travels to the UK later this week to give the annual Babel Lecture at the University of Huddersfield on May 24th. She appeared in Babel Magazine’s Meet the Professionals in connection with her work on the movie Arrival.

McGill at MOTH

The 2019 Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Hamilton (MOTH) Syntax Workshop took place this past weekend at Carleton University in Ottawa. Lisa Travis gave an invited talk, and Mathieu Paillé presented a talk title “Unergatives in Malay inside-verbals.”

McGill at MOTH: Kumiko Murasugi (postdoc ’93-’94), Lisa, Mathieu, and Bronwyn Bjorkman (BA ’06) 

Luis Alonso-Ovalle at Maryland

Luis Alonso-Ovalle gave a colloquium talk at the Department of Linguistics of the University of Maryland on Friday April 26. He presented joint work with Aron Hirsch. The title of their talk was “Keep ‘only’ strong!”

Register for the Parameters Workshop in Honour of Lisa Travis, May 17th and 18th

Lisa Travis is retiring at the end of this year and we are throwing a party––in the form of a conference on parameters––to celebrate her career and her many years of contributions to the McGill Linguistics Department. The schedule for the Parameters Workshop in Honour of Lisa Travis is now available here: https://lingconf.com/parameters/schedule/
We have a great line-up of 8 invited presentations (including by the guest of honour), as well as shorter talks and a poster session. The two-day event will be held at Thomson House, Friday and Saturday May 17th and 18th, and you are all invited.
Registration is free if you register before May 10th. Please register here: https://lingconf.com/parameters/registration/
We hope to see you there!
The organizing team: Jessica Coon, Masashi Harada, Henrison Hsieh, Matthieu Paillé, Ileana Paul, Justin Royer, and Junko Shimoyama

Tanner, Sonderegger, and Torreira in Frontiers in Psychology

McLing is happy to report that a paper co-authored by James Tanner, Morgan Sonderegger, and Francisco Torreira has just been published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. The title is ‘Durational Evidence That Tokyo Japanese Vowel Devoicing Is Not Gradient Reduction’, and is available here: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00821/

Jessica Coon in Florida

Jessica Coon was at the University of Florida in Gainesville April 5-6 for the 5th Florida Linguistics Yearly Meeting (FLYM) where she gave a plenary talk, presenting collaborative work with Nico Baier and Ted Levin. The title of her talk was titled: “Mayan Agent Focus and the Ergative Extraction Constraint”. A new manuscript of this work is available here.

Michel Paradis in The Handbook of the Neuroscience of Multilingualism

The Handbook of the Neuroscience of Multilingualism was just published with a special forward by emeritus McGill linguistics professor Michel Paradis. Congratulations Michel!

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

Michael at UofT

Michael Wagner presented a keynote talk titled “Toward a Bestiary of the Intonational Tunes of English” at the 4th Intonation Workshop at University of Toronto last Friday, reporting on joint work with McGill PhD alum Dan Goodhue on the on the intonational bestiary.

Moulton and Shimoyama in Glossa

A paper by Keir Moulton (U. Toronto, former McGill post-doc) and Junko Shimoyama just appeared in Glossa. The paper is titled “On the Inverse Trace Conversion and maximal informativeness analysis of Japanese internally-headed relative clauses: A reply to Erlewine and Gould 2016”, and can be found here.

Abstract: In this response to Erlewine & Gould (2016), we argue that an account of internally-headed relative clauses using Inverse Trace Conversion and the maximal informativeness semantics for definites of von Fintel et al. (2014) does not derive the observed interpretations when the internal head is quantified by certain downward entailing quantifiers and derives no interpretation at all for non-monotonic and some upward entailing quantifiers. We then argue that the cases that Erlewine & Gould (2016) claim to be a newly identified interpretation of internally-headed relatives are actually headless relatives.

Michael Wagner at MarantzFest

Michael Wagner attended MarantzFest at NYU last week, a workshop in honor of Alec Marantz.

 

Knowles, Clayards, and Sonderegger in Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research

McGill Linguistics alum and current PhD candidate at Western, Thea Knowles, was the lead author on a paper published in the Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research along with co-authors Meghan Clayards and Morgan Sonderegger. The paper is titled “Examining Factors Influencing the Viability of Automatic Acoustic Analysis of Child Speech” and is available online here and in preprint form here.

Coon in Journal of Linguistics

Jessica Coon’s article, “Building verbs in Chuj: Consequences for the nature of roots” was just published in the 2019 winter issue of Journal of Linguistics. A preprint is available here.

Abstract:

This paper offers an in-depth look at roots and verb stem morphology in Chuj (Mayan) in order to address a larger question: when it comes to the formation of verb stems, what information is contributed by the root, and what is contributed by the functional heads? I show first that roots in Chuj are not acategorical in the strict sense (cf. Borer 2005), but must be grouped into classes based on their stem-forming possibilities. Root class does not map directly to surface lexical category, but does determine which functional heads (i.e. valence morphology) may merge with the root. Second, I show that while the introduction of the external argument, along with clausal licensing and agreement generally, are all governed by higher functional heads, the presence or absence of an internal argument is dictated by the root. Specifically, I show that transitive roots in Chuj always combine with an internal argument, whether it be (i) a full DP, (ii) a bare pseudo-incorporated NP, or (iii) an implicit object in an antipassive. In the spirit of work such as Levinson (2007, 2014), I connect this to the semantic type of the root; root class reflects semantic type, and semantic type affects the root’s combinatorial properties. This work also contributes to the discussion of how valence morphology operates. In line with works such as Alexiadou, Anagnostopoulou & Schäfer (2006), I argue that valence morphology applies directly to roots, rather than to some ‘inherent valence’ of a verb.

M. Schwarz, Sonderegger, and Goad to appear in Journal of Phonetics

An article by Martha Schwarz (MA alum 2017), Morgan Sonderegger, and Heather Goad has just been accepted to Journal of Phonetics: “Realization and representation of Nepali laryngeal contrasts: Voiced aspirates and laryngeal realism”.

Abstract:
Theories of Laryngeal Realism argue for a tight correspondence between a segment’s phonetic cues and the (laryngeal) phonological features that represent it. As such, the ‘p’/’b’ contrast in French, expressed phonetically by vocal fold vibration during the stop closure, is represented by a [voice] feature while the ‘p’/’b’ contrast in English, expressed phonetically by contrasting long and short lag VOT, is represented by a [spread] feature. Laryngeal realist literature focuses on whether a given segment is best represented by [voice] or [spread], and proposes a set of criteria and tests by which to diagnose the representation. In this study we push laryngeal realist theory in a new direction — to segments proposed to be specified for both [voice] and [spread] features — a combination which poses challenges to the current diagnostics. To do so, we analyze acoustic data from Nepali, an Indo-Aryan language with a single class of stops described as both voiced and aspirated. We apply the same criteria and diagnostics used in laryngeal realism. We find support for the proposed representation, with a caveat that the [voice] feature appears stronger than [spread].

Boberg et al. Handbook of Dialectology

The Handbook of Dialectology, co-edited by Charles Boberg, John Nerbonne, and Dominic Watt was published by Wiley-Blackwell earlier this year.

Bernhard Schwarz at McGill Student Association of Cognitive Science

On November 13, Bernhard gave an invited presentation “How and why: a case study in meaning”  in the Cognitive Science speaker series,x organized by McGill’s Student Association of Cognitive Science. The presentation was based on joint work with Alexandra Simonenko (McGill PhD ’14).
Abstract: The body of literature on the semantics of questions, sparked by classic works from the 1970s and 1980s, is substantial, yet most of this literature focuses narrowly on questions about individuals (Who left?or degrees (How long is it?)In this talk, I will offer some remarks about how– and why-questions like How did you open the door? or Why did the lights go out?. I will discuss why investigating the semantics of such questions is hard, what types of evidence are available to probe their meanings, and I will report on some surprising differences in logical behaviour between different types of how– and why-questions

Michael Wagner in France

Michael is back from at talk at LINGUAE at ENS in Paris, and presenting a joint keynote at the Workshop on Prosody & Meaning and SemDial in Aix en Provence. The talks reported on joint work with Dan Goodhue on their project ‘Toward an Intonational Bestiary‘.

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