Archive for the 'Faculty news' Category

McGill at Annual Meeting on Phonology

McGill linguists attended the Annual Meeting on Phonology that took place at UC San Diego on October 5-7. The following posters were presented by current members of the department:
  • “Native and non-native patterns in conflict: Lexicon vs. grammar in loanword adaptation in Brazilian Portuguese” — Natália Brambatti Guzzo
  • “Evidence for a pitch accent in Saguenay French” — Jeffrey Lamontagne, Heather Goad and Morgan Sonderegger
  • “Evidence of phonemicization: Lax vowels in Canadian French” — Jeffrey Lamontagne
In the picture, from left to right:
Natália Guzzo, Marc Garellek (BA 2008), Sara Mackenzie (post-doc 2010-2011), Jeff Lamontagne, Erin Olson (BA 2012), Joe Pater (PhD 1997), Sharon Rose (PhD 1997)

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”.

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!

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).

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

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

Symposium in Honour of Lydia White

The department hosted a reunion of some of Lydia White’s students at Thomson House, August 31stSeptember 1st. Lydia officially retired August 31st but will still continue doing research. Congratulations Lydia!

NSERC Discovery grants to Wagner and O’Donnell

Two faculty have been awarded NSERC Discovery grants for 2018-2023:

Tim O’Donnell: “Towards Robust Unsupervised Language Learning”

Michael Wagner:  “Three dimensions of sentence prosody”

Congratulations!

 

 

Symposium on Second Language Acquisition in Honour of Lydia White

We are pleased to announce that the Department of Linguistics will be hosting the Symposium on Second Language Acquisition in Honour of Lydia White, August 31–September 1, 2018. The program is attached. Everyone is invited to attend. You can find the program here.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of our McGill sponsors: Provost’s Research Fund, Dean of Arts’ Development Fund, as well as the Department of Linguistics.

Clayards at UMass Amherst

Meghan Clayards gave a colloquium talk at UMass Amherst Linguistics on April 18, entitled “Flexibility and individual differences in speech perception”.

 

McGill at WCCFL 36

McGill linguists past and present gathered at UCLA this past weekend to present their research at the 36th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL).

McGill linguists past and present gathered at UCLA this past weekend to present their research at the 36th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics (WCCFL).

Talks:

Matthew Barros & Hadas Kotek (McGill postdoc 2014-16): “Some Issues with Sluicing as Anaphora to Issues“
Mathieu Paillé & Bernhard Schwarz: “Knowing whether and ignorance inferences“

Posters:

Aron Hirsch: “Epistemically-sensitive ‘only’ ”
Maayan Abenina-Adar (McGill MA 2014): “Surprising”
Guilherme D. Garcia (McGill PhD 2017) and Heather Goad: “Can you have stress without feet?”
Jeffrey Lamontagne: “Acoustic Evidence of Phonemicization: Laxing Coarticulation in Canadian French”

Photo, from left to right: Mathieu, Maayan, Heather, Aron, Bernhard

Left to right: Mathieu, Maayan, Heather, Aron, Bernhard

 

ARIA grants

Several undergraduate students received Arts Research Internship Awards (ARIA) to  work with Linguistics faculty this summer:

Emma Gibson: “Intonational Tunes in English: Corpus and Experiment”, working with Michael Wagner

Michael Goodale: “Enabling large-scale analysis of stop consonants across English dialects”, working with Morgan Sonderegger

Emily Goodwin: “Neural Networks, compositionality, and linguistic representation: evidence from monotonicity”, working with Tim O’Donnell

Avleen Mokha: “Prosodic Transfer and the L2 acquisition of Hindi”, working with Lydia White

Benjamin Oldham: “Linguistic Fieldwork Research”, working with Jessica Coon

Madelaine O’Reilley Brown: “Long Distance relationships in Urdu-Hindi: phases or horizons”, working with Lisa Travis

Gregory Theos:  “Storage and Computation of morphology: Evidence from English”, working with Tim O’Donnell

Congratulations!

Clayards Phonetica paper Editor’s Choice

Meghan Clayards’ Phonetica paper, “Individual Talker and Token Covariation in the Production of Multiple Cues to Stop Voicing” (December 2017), has been selected as an Editor’s Choice paper. It was also the most-read article in this journal last month.

Congratulations!

Sonderegger at Boston University

Morgan Sonderegger gave a colloquium talk at Boston University on April 30, entitled “Towards large(r) scale cross-linguistic study of speech: case studies of segmental influences on pitch and duration compression effects”. Details are here.

Goodhue published in Semantics & Pragmatics, and Goodhue & Wagner published in Glossa

Daniel Goodhue’s paper “Must p is felicitous only if p is not known” has recently been published in Semantics & Pragmatics.
Daniel Goodhue and Michael Wagner’s paper “Intonation, yes and no” has recently been published in Glossa. Both papers are open access.
Congratulations to both!

Jessica Coon Receives National Geographic Explorers Grant

Jessica Coon received a National Geographic Explorers Grant to fund research and documentation on Ch’ol (Mayan) during her time in Mexico this year. The title of her project is “Documenting word order variation in Mayan languages: A collection of Ch’ol narratives.” The project will involve training workshops on language documentation in several Ch’ol communities in collaboration with Ch’ol-speaking linguists; recording, transcription and publication of Ch’ol narratives; and analysis of word order variation.

SSHRC Insight Grants Awarded

SSHRC recently released the official announcement of this year’s Insight Grants competition, and two McGill linguists were successful.

Jessica Coon received funding for her project titled “Agreement and anti-agreement” across languages.
Morgan Sonderegger was funded for “Uncovering the structure and sources of speech variability through large-scale studies”. Meghan Clayards and Tim O’Donnell are team members on this project.

Bang et al. in Journal of Phonetics

A paper by Hye-Young Bang and co-authors (Morgan Sonderegger, Yoonjung Kang, Meghan Clayards, Taejin Yoon), “The emergence, progress, and impact of sound change in progress in Seoul Korean: Implications for mechanisms of tonogenesis”, has just appeared in Journal of Phonetics. Congratulations!

This study examines the origin, progression, and impact of a sound change in Seoul Korean where the primary cue to a stop contrast in phrase-initial position is shifting from VOT to f0. Because it shares similarities with the initial phase of tonogenesis, investigating this “quasi-tonogenetic” sound change provides insight into the nature of the emergence of contrastive f0 in “tonogenetic” sound changes more generally. Using a dataset from a large apparent-time corpus of Seoul Korean, we built mixed-effects regression models of VOT and f0 to examine the time-course of change, focusing on word frequency and vowel height effects. We found that both VOT contrast reduction and f0 contrast enhancement are more advanced in high-frequency words and in stops before non-high vowels, indicating that the change is spreading across words and phonetic contexts in parallel. Furthermore, speakers suppress non-contrastive variation in f0 as f0 emerges as a primary cue. Our findings suggest that one impetus for tonogenetic change is production bias coupled with an adaptive link between the cues. We further discuss the role of Korean intonational phonology on f0 which may help explain why the phonetic precondition leads to change in Seoul Korean but not in other languages.

 

McGill at NELS

A sizeable contingent of McGill related linguistics attended the 48th Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistic Society (NELS 48) this past weekend. For the first time, the conference took place outside North America, viz. at the University of Iceland, Reykjavík. As the organizers emphasized, Iceland now easily holds the record as the smallest host country for NELS in terms of both population size (previously: Canada) and land area (previously: USA).

McGill at CILLA

Justin Royer and Jessica Coon headed to the University of Texas at Austin last week for the 8th Conference on Indigenous Languages of Latin America (CILLA). Justin’s talk was titled “Sistemas de clasificación nominal en chuj (maya)”. Jessica gave a plenary talk, presenting joint work with Lauren Clemens (SUNY Albany, McGill postdoc 2014-15), titled “Verb initial word order in Mayan: Causes and consequences.”   Robert Henderson (McGill postdoc 2013-13) also presented.

Justin Royer, Lauren Clemens (post-doc 2014–2015), Jessica Coon, Robert Henderson (post-doc 2012–2013)

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