« Older Entries

MULL-lab, 09/27 – Martin Renard 

MULL-lab will be meeting this Tuesday, September 27th at 3:30 pm. Meetings will take place in Rm. 002 of the Linguistics department, with a Zoom room open for those unable to join us in person.
This week, Martin from the University of Toronto will be presenting a talk entitled: “Stem and Initial Segment Faithfulness in Kanien’kéha. The abstract is below.
Kanien’kéha (Mohawk) features the rhotic phoneme /r/, which has a marked distribution: it occurs freely in stems, but is generally absent from inflectional affixes, and the few instances of inflectional /r/ that do exist systematically debuccalize to /h/ when not in initial position. I argue that these data call for an OT analysis in terms of positional faithfulness (Beckman 1998), specifically to stems and initial segments. The similar notions of root and initial syllable faithfulness, although better-established in the literature, do not suffice to account for this pattern. The contribution of this work is thus both empirical, by analyzing an underdocumented pattern, and theoretical, by proposing two new kinds of positional faithfulness. Stem faithfulness also has useful implications for language revitalization efforts.
Please register in advance HERE to receive the Zoom link. You can also share this link with others who may want to join

MULL-lab, 09/20 – Katya Morgunova and David Shanks

MULL-lab will be meeting this Tuesday, September 20th at 3:30 pm. Meetings will take place in Rm. 002 of the Linguistics department, with a Zoom room open for those unable to join us in person.
This week, Katya and David will be presenting a talk entitled: “An interface approach to the phases of nominal phrases”. The abstract is below.
The Universal Spine Hypothesis (Bliss 2013, Wiltschko 2014) proposes an articulated nominal spine parallel to that of clauses. Inside of this structure, there are two syntactic phases which correspond to phonological spellout domains: nP and DP (Newell 2008, Newell and Piggott 2014). That is, both nP and DP are spelled out as phonological words (PWd). We examine nominals in Kirundi (Great Lakes Bantu; J62) from the perspective of the phonology-syntax interface, showing that characteristics of Kirundi nominals provide us with unique data supporting these claims. We examine the augment, which we place in Phi, a projection between nP and DP. We show that its phonological behaviour in locative phrases (PP) indicates that the augment is a clitic to a PWd, providing evidence for nP as a phase. In contrast, the augment patterns as an integral part of a PWd in linker phrases (KP), since it is spelled out as the PWd corresponding to the DP phase. Taken together, our proposal highlights that Kirundi offers a unique opportunity to view the phonological consequences of articulated nominal structure, since it has overt morphemes in n (noun class) and Phi (the augment) but not in D. Furthermore, we promote an interface approach to documenting and studying morphological structure.
Please register in advance HERE to receive the Zoom link. You can also share this link with others who may want to join.

MULL Lab, 09/13 – Mateo Jimenez-Haham

MULL-lab will be meeting this Tuesday, September 13th at 3:30 pm. Meetings will take place in Rm. 002 of the Linguistics department, with a Zoom room open for those unable to join us in person.
This week, Mateo Jimenez-Haham will be presenting “An introduction to Guatemala Maya sociolinguistics with a focus on the roles of the Maya movement, identity, dialects, and code-switching in language preservation efforts with an emphasis on Maya Mam.”
Please register in advance HERE to receive the Zoom link. You can also share this link with others who may want to join

James Crippen at “Sharing Our Knowledge / Wooshteen Kanax̱tulaneegí Haa At Wuskóowu”

Professor James A. Crippen presented a talk titled Ḵaachx̱an.áakʼw X̱ʼéidáx̱: Some Dialect Features Of Wrangell Tlingit, detailing some distinctive dialect features of the undocumented variety of Tlingit spoken in Wrangell, Alaska. This talk was given at the 11th meeting of Sharing Our Knowledge / Wooshteen Kanax̱tulaneegí Haa At Wuskóowu, held in Wrangell on 8–11 September, 2022. The talk was livestreamed and is now available on YouTube at the following URL:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HQ6icOpM3Tg

MCQLL Meetings this Term

The Montreal Computational and Quantitative Linguistics Lab (MCQLL) will hold lab meetings this semester on alternating Tuesdays from 15h00 – 16h00, starting this Tuesday, September 6.

In our first meeting, current lab members will present 5-minute lightning talks on their research. All are welcome to attend!

Meetings will be hybrid in-person and on Zoom. We’ll be meeting in person in room 117 of the McGill Linguistics department at 1085 Dr Penfield. If you’d like to attend virtually, Zoom meetings will be held here.

MCQLL Summer News

Former MCQLL MA student (2021), Emily Goodwin traveled to ACL 2022 in Dublin, Ireland to present her paper Compositional Generalization in Dependency Parsing, which is joint work with Siva Reddy, Tim O’Donnell and Dima Bahdanau.

MCQLL PhD student Michaela Socolof traveled to ACL 2022 in Dublin, Ireland to present her paper Characterizing idioms: Conventionality and contingency, which is joint work with Jackie Cheung, Michael Wagner, and Tim O’Donnell. She also had a paper accepted at COLING 2022: “Measuring morphological fusion using partial information decomposition,” which is joint work with Jacob Hoover, Richard Futrell, Alessandro Sordoni, and Tim O’Donnell.

MCQLL PhD student Jacob Louis Hoover’s work with Morgan Sonderegger, Steve Piantadosi (of UC Berkeley), and Tim O’Donnell was accepted to the Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing conference (AMLaP 28), which will take place in York UK. The work is titled With Better Language Models, Processing Time is Superlinear in Surprisal.

MCQLL PhD student Amanda Doucette presented their project Identity, similarity, and the OCP: A model of co-occurrence in 107 languages which was joint work with Tim O’Donnell, Heather Goad, and Morgan Sonderegger.

MCQLL co-director Tim O’Donnell appeared as senior author on the paper Synthesizing theories of human language with Bayesian program induction, which appeared in Nature Communications on the 30th of August. The paper was joint work with first author Kevin Ellis (Cornell, CS) who led the project, Adam Albright (MIT, Linguistics), Josh Tenenbaum (MIT, BCS), and Armando Solar-Lezama (MIT, EECS).

MULL-Lab, 09/06 – First Meeting

The Montreal Underdocumented Languages Linguistics (MULL) Lab will be starting back up with our first weekly meeting on Tuesday, September 6th at 3:30 pm Eastern Time. This year we’ll be doing hybrid meetings, with in-person portions held in Rm 002 in the Linguistics building (1085 rue Docteur-Penfield) and a Zoom room open for those who are unable to join us physically.
For those who aren’t familiar, the MULL Lab is comprised of linguists from various universities in Montreal who work on or are interested in underdocumented languages (see here for past languages represented in MULL!). Each week, we meet to present on our work or related topics.
Please register in advance HERE to receive the Zoom link. You can also share this link with others who may want to join.
Please contact Willie if you have any questions!

McGill at Ba-TOM 1

Students from the Winter 2022 Linguistic Field Methods class traveled 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.

Benilde Mizero, Katya Morgunova, Jessica Coon, Brandon Chaperon, Claire Henderson, Chase Boles, David Shanks, Juvénal Ndayiragije (UT Scarborough), Terrance Gatchalian, and Willie Myers

Presenters included Chase BolesBrandon ChaperonTerrance Gatchalian, Claire HendersonKatya Morgunova, Willie Myers, and David Shanks. They were joined by Kirundi language consultant Benilde Mizero.

MULL-lab, 04/06 – David Shanks

MULL-lab will be meeting this Wednesday, April 6th at 4pm. David will be presenting: The Southern Tutchone NP. The abstract is attached below:

Abstract: Southern Tutchone is a critically endangered Dene (Athabaskan) language spoken in the southern Yukon. This talk focuses on two processes in the nominal domain: possession and nominalization. I will first outline the possessive system before focusing on innovative processes in Southern Tutchone that differ from nearby Dene languages. For example, binding in clausal subject and object pronouns appears to have influenced possession. I will then discuss nominalization, which can be divided into two forms: unmarked nominalizations, which are used to form most nouns in Southern Tutchone; and marked nominalizations, which are found in temporal subordinate constructions.

MCQLL, 04/05 – Michaela Socolof

At this week’s MCQLL meeting on Tuesday, April 5 at 3:00-4:00, Michaela Socolof will give a talk titled ‘Characterizing morphological systems using partial information decomposition.’ If you’d like to attend, please register for the Zoom meeting here if you haven’t already.
Abstract

Morphological systems across languages vary when it comes to the relation between form and meaning. In some languages, a single unit of meaning corresponds to a single morpheme, whereas in other languages, multiple units of meaning are bundled together into one morpheme. These two types of languages have been called agglutinative and fusional, respectively, but this distinction does not capture the continuous nature of the phenomenon. We provide a mathematically precise way of characterizing morphological systems using partial information decomposition, which is a framework for decomposing mutual information into three components: unique, redundant, and synergistic information. We show that highly fusional languages are characterized by high levels of synergy.

MULL-lab, 03/30 – Brandon Chaperon

MULL-lab will be meeting this Wednesday, March 30th at 4pm. Brandon will be presenting: Igala’s Dual Negation. Abstract is attached below:

Abstract: This talk presents a puzzle pertaining to two different surface forms for negation in Igala (Niger-Congo). Negation can either surface as a (super) high tone on the subject or as a pre-verbal particle. I will first go over the general distribution patterns of these two segments. Afterwards, I will lay out some tests that showcase the interaction and restrictions of negation with other phenomena (e.g., modals and conditionals). These will hopefully hint at what causes them to surface differently.

MULL-lab, 03/23 – Katya Morgunova

MULL-lab will be meeting this Wednesday, March 23rd at 4pm. 

Katya will be presenting: Augmenting the Kirundi augment. Abstract is attached below:

 

Abstract: The augment is a nominal prefix found in some Bantu languages. It is usually associated with the semantics of definiteness and is often argued to be a D-head. In this talk, I present some new data collected from ongoing fieldwork on the distribution of the augment in Kirundi (Great Lakes Bantu). Following a discussion of prior work in Kirundi and other Bantu languages, I also share my initial analysis of the syntax and semantics of the Kirundi augment.

MULL-lab, 03/16 – Terrance Gatchalian

MULL-lab will be meeting this Wednesday, March 16th at 4pm. 

Terrance will be presenting work on Ktunaxa causatives. Abstract is attached below:

 

Abstract: This talk presents data on the Ktunaxa causative construction, which are morphologically complex, consisting of a valency-preserving causative morpheme and a more general valency-increasing morpheme. I discuss various proposals for the structure of causatives, and show that Ktunaxa demonstrates the need for the syntactic separation of causativization and the introduction of an additional causer argument, along the lines of Pylkkänen’s (2008) theory of causatives. I end with a puzzle on the distribution of causatives.

MULL-lab, 03/09 – Yoann Léveillé

MULL-lab will be meeting this Wednesday, March 9th at 4pm. 

Yoann will be presenting his talk Some observations on the morphosyntax of Inuktitut demonstratives . Abstract is attached below:

Abstract: This talk presents a morphosyntactic overview of demonstratives in Nunavimmiutitut, a dialect of Eastern Canadian Inuktitut spoken in Nunavik, focusing on ongoing work with a consultant and data presented in Beach (2011). First, I present a quick overview of the internal structure of Inuktitut demonstratives. Second, I discuss a few distributional facts and cooccurrence restrictions: ability to bear affixal attributive adjectives, cliticization on nouns and verbs, etc. Third, the incorporation of demonstratives is put in relation to that of other nominals. Finally, I consider the implications of these facts for the categorial status of Inuktitut demonstratives.

MULL-lab, 2/16 – Lisa Travis

The MULL-lab will be meeting on Wednesday, February 16th at 4pm. Lisa Travis will be presenting the second part of Event structure through the lens of Malagasy morphology. Please see the abstract below.

Abstract:

This talk will present a particular view of event structure as suggested by the morphological breakdown of particular verb forms in Malagasy.  The proposal is that Malagasy has morphemes for v (state, inchoative, cause), a verbal base (V), as well as an intervening functional category, Inner Aspect, that encodes telicity. Further, an argument will be made that Achievements are formed by merging a verbal base with a telic Inner Aspect and a stative v.

 

Please register in advance at the link below to receive the Zoom link: https://mcgill.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYpfumsrTsoGNy1hDF4Y6B-kGgUQXE_Zcr1

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

MULL-lab, 2/9 – Lisa Travis

The MULL-lab will be meeting on Wednesday, February 9th at 4pm. Lisa Travis will be presenting Event structure through the lens of Malagasy morphology. Please see the abstract below.

Abstract:

This talk will present a particular view of event structure as suggested by the morphological breakdown of particular verb forms in Malagasy.  The proposal is that Malagasy has morphemes for v (state, inchoative, cause), a verbal base (V), as well as an intervening functional category, Inner Aspect, that encodes telicity. Further, an argument will be made that Achievements are formed by merging a verbal base with a telic Inner Aspect and a stative v.

 

Please register in advance at the link below to receive the Zoom link: https://mcgill.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYpfumsrTsoGNy1hDF4Y6B-kGgUQXE_Zcr1

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

MULL-lab, 2/2 – Willie Myers

The MULL-lab will be on Wednesday, February 2nd at 4pm. Willie Myers will be presenting Nasals, Glides and Complex Onsets in Kirundi. Please see the abstract below.

Abstract:

This talk presents three phonology puzzles based on preliminary fieldwork in Kirundi. The first puzzle examines NC clusters with a focus on nasal + voiceless stop clusters (which are commonly prohibited in Bantu languages). The second puzzle looks at the distribution of glides in the language. The third puzzle brings these two nasals and glides together to analyze Kirundi’s complex onset clusters – unexpected based on Proto-Bantu’s traditional (C)V syllable structure.

Please register in advance at the link below to receive the Zoom link: https://mcgill.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYpfumsrTsoGNy1hDF4Y6B-kGgUQXE_Zcr1

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

MCQLL, 01/25 – Jacob Louis Hoover

At this week’s MCQLL meeting on Tuesday, January 25 at 3:00-4:00, Jacob Louis Hoover will give a talk titled ‘Processing time is a superlinear function of surprisal.’ If you’d like to attend, please register for the Zoom meeting here if you haven’t already
Abstract:
The incremental processing difficulty of a linguistic item is related to its predictability. Surprisal theory (Hale, 2001; Levy, 2008) posits that the processing cost of a word in context is a linear function of its surprisal. This prediction has received considerable attention and broad support from empirical studies using a variety of language models to estimate surprisal. However, no algorithmic theory of processing has been proposed which scales linearly in surprisal. Additionally, recent empirical work has also begun raise questions about the assumption of linearity.  We present a study specifically aimed at discerning the general shape of the linking function, using a collection of modern pretrained language models (LMs) to estimate surprisal. We find evidence of a superlinear effect on reading time. We also find that the better a language model’s predictions are on average, the more clearly the relationship is between surprisal and processing is superlinear. These results suggest revising the linearity hypothesis of surprisal theory, and can provide support for algorithmic theories of human language processing which scale faster than linearly in surprisal.

MULL-Lab, 01/26 – Will Johnston

The MULL-lab will be on Wednesday, January 26th at 4pm. Will Johnston will be presenting ‘Disposal’ constructions in Hmong. Please see the abstract below.

Abstract:

In this talk, I present three interrelated puzzles involving so-called ‘Disposal’ serial verb constructions (SVCs) in Hmong. These involve the use of two or more transitive verbs (with shared subject and object arguments) to jointly describe a single event, as in (1). The first puzzle is the word order of Disposal SVCs, which in contrast to other Hmong SVCs (i) is flexible, and (ii) takes into account semantic/temporal information. The second relates to a type of object shift unique to Disposal constructions (and unattested in the literature). The third is the unique behavior of examples involving a particular verb, muab `to take’, which suggests they require a separate treatment.

 

  1. nws        tsa                          cov taws                           txhoov pov        cia
  2. 3SG        stand.up              CLF.PL firewood                 cut          throw    set.aside

‘He stood up the wood, chopped it, and threw it aside (into storage).’

 

Please register in advance at the link below to receive the Zoom link: https://mcgill.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYpfumsrTsoGNy1hDF4Y6B-kGgUQXE_Zcr1

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

MULL-lab, 01/19 – First meeting

This semester, the MULL-lab will be meeting Wednesdays at 4 pm on Zoom. Our first meeting will be on Wednesday, January 19th.

Please register in advance at the link below to receive the Zoom link:

https://mcgill.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYpfumsrTsoGNy1hDF4Y6B-kGgUQXE_Zcr1

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

« Older Entries
Blog authors are solely responsible for the content of the blogs listed in the directory. Neither the content of these blogs, nor the links to other web sites, are screened, approved, reviewed or endorsed by McGill University. The text and other material on these blogs are the opinion of the specific author and are not statements of advice, opinion, or information of McGill.