Archive for the 'Faculty news' Category

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‘.

Congratulations Lisa Travis!

Congratulations to Lisa Travis, who will be retiring at the end of this year. Last week, current and former students and colleagues gathered for a surprise party in Lisa’s honour. McGill alums Laura Kalin, Ileana Paul and Jozina Vander Klok presented Lisa with a book of 44 papers written on the occasion of her retirement entitled Heading in the right direction: Linguistic treats for Lisa Travis, which was published by McGill Working Papers in Linguistics and will be available online shortly.

McGill will also host a workshop on parameters in honour of Lisa’s retirement this May. See details and a call for papers here.

Junko Shimoyama at Ottawa

Junko Shimoyama gave a colloquium talk on Friday, Nov. 2 at the University of Ottawa, on positively biased negative polar questions in Japanese and their embeddability. This is joint work with Dan Goodhue (PhD 2018) and Mako Hirotani at Carleton University.

Junko Shimoyama at WAFL

Junko Shimoyama gave an invited talk at the 14th Workshop on Altaic Formal Linguistics (WAFL) at MIT last week (Oct. 19-21), which was preceded by a workshop in honor of Shigeru Miyagawa (Oct. 18). Her talk was titled “Embeddability of biased negative polar questions in Japanese”, which is joint work with Dan Goodhue (PhD 2018) and Mako Hirotani (Carleton University).

Morgan Sonderegger at University of Oregon

Morgan Sonderegger was at University of Oregon’s Department of Linguistics October 25-26, where he gave a workshop entitled “Topics in fitting and using mixed-effects regression models” and a colloquium talk, “Towards larger-scale cross-linguistic and cross-variety studies of speech”.

McGill at NWAV 47

McGill linguists were at New Ways of Analyzing Variation, NWAV 47 last week at NYU where they gave talks and ran a workshop.

Workshop:
  • Integrated Speech Corpus ANalysis – ISCAN: A new tool for large-scale, cross-corpus, sociolinguistic analysis – Jane Stuart-Smith (University of Glasgow), Morgan Sonderegger, James Tanner, Vanna Willerton, Michael McAuliffe (McGill University)

Talks:

  • Age vectors vs. axes of intraspeaker variation for North American and Scottish English vowel formants  – Mielke, Fruehwald, Thomas, McAuliffeSonderegger and Dodsworth
  • Dialectal and social factors affect the phonetic bases of English /s/-retraction – Stuart-Smith, Sonderegger, Macdonald, McAuliffe and Mielke

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

The paper “Examining Factors Influencing the Viability of Automatic Acoustic Analysis of Child Speech,” by Thea Knowles (McGill BA 2012; now at Western University), Meghan Clayards and Morgan Sonderegger was published in the Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. Congrats!

Jessica Coon to Liverpool Biennial

Jessica will give a public lecture at the UK Biennial of Contemporary Art in Liverpool later this week. The talk, “Aliens, Fieldwork, and Universal Grammar” is one of ten public lectures during the 15-week event.

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”.

 

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