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The McGill Linguistics Department Newsletter
Updated: 11 hours 33 min ago

MOTH 6 at McGill

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 02:00

We are happy to announce the program of the 6th annual Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Hamilton workshop on syntax (MOTH 6) on Saturday, April 28, 2018, hosted at Thomson House, McGill University:

Nico Baier (Faculty lecturer) is the invited speaker, and there will be five presentations by McGill students:

  • Jason Borga – Sprouting, Preposition Stranding, and Sluicing Identity
  • Masashi Harada – Japanese Sluicing with an AP Remnant as a Copular Sentence-Based Sluicing
  • Henrison Hsieh – Peripheral extraction in Tagalog: implications for syntactic ergativity
  • Gouming Martens – Frozen by Context: Focus Effects on Syntactic Freezing
  • Clinton Parker – A feature-based analysis for vestigial ergativity in Shughni

If you’re planning to attend, please register online by the deadline so that we can place appropriate orders for food. Registration link:

Registration deadline: Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

Congratulation Jeff and Oriana!

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 02:00

Congratulations Jeff, for winning this year’s Faculty of Arts Graduate Student Teaching Award! And Congratulations Oriana, for winning this year’s Arts Insights Dissertation Award in the Social Sciences! You can cheer for them in person when the awards will be announced at the Arts Faculty Council meeting on April 10, at 3:00 pm in Leacock 232.

Sonderegger at Boston University

Mon, 04/09/2018 - 01:50

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.

Alonso-Ovalle, Shimoyama,and Schwarz Awarded Insight Grant

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 16:57

Congratulations to Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Junko Shimoyama, and Bernhard Schwarz who have been awarded an SSHRC Insight grant for their application Modality across Categories: Modal Indefinites and the Projection of Possibilities!

WORDS Group, 4/3

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 02:50

The next meeting of the Word Structure Research Group will take place on Tuesday, April 3, 2018, 12-1:30pm, in DS-3470 at UQAM ( We will be discussing chapter 4 of Preminger (2014: Agreement and its Failures).

Everyone is welcome!

Semantics Reading Group, Friday April 6th

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 02:20

Bernhard Schwarz and Mathieu Paillé will be giving a practice talk for
WCCFL, on the subject of wh-complements with ‘know’. We will be meeting
on Friday, April 6th at 3pm in room 117.

McGill at MOT 2018

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 02:00

The Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto Workshop on Phonology/Phonetics was held March 24-25 at McMaster University. The following papers were presented by McGill students and faculty:

  • Emily Kellison-Linn and Morgan Sonderegger: ‘A large-scale study of consonant voicing effects on F0 in spontaneous English speech’
  • Jiaer Tao, Francisco Torreira & Meghan Clayards: ‘Durational cues to word boundaries in spontaneous speech’
  • Jeffrey Lamontagne, Heather Goad & Morgan Sonderegger: ‘Morphological and phonological motivations for prominence shifts in French’
  • Heather Goad, McGill and Lisa deMena Travis: ‘Phonological evidence for morpho-syntactic structure in Athabaskan’

Past and present McGillians were well represented:

Emily Elfner (post-doc 2012-2014), Elan Dresher (BA 1971), Jeff Lamontagne, Emily Kellison-Linn, Jiaer Tao, Yeong Woo Park, Heather Goad

Dan Goodhue postdoc position

Tue, 04/03/2018 - 02:00

Daniel Goodhue (PhD 2018) just took up a short-term postdoctoral position in the Département D’Études Cognitives at the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, France, where he is working with Salvador Mascarenhas and Emmanuel Chemla in the Laboratoire de Sciences Cognitives et Psycholinguistique. Congratulations, Dan!

WORDS Group, 3/27

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 02:50

The next meeting of the Word Structure Research Group will take place Tuesday, March 27, 2018, 12-1:30pm, in DS-3470 at UQAM ( We will be discussing Preminger (2014) (Agreement and Its Failures), Chapters 1-3.

Everyone is welcome!

Brambatti Guzzo in Journal of Linguistics

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 02:00

Congratulations to Natalia Brambatti Guzzo, who has just published the paper ‘The prosodic representation of composite structures in Brazilian Portuguese’ in the Journal of Linguistics.


In previous research, word–word compounds and stressed affix + word structures have been assigned to the same prosodic domain in Brazilian Portuguese (BP), on account of certain similarities in phonological behaviour (Silva 2010, Toneli 2014): both types of composite structures undergo vowel raising at the right edge of each element in the construction, and vowel sandhi processes between their elements. In this paper, I show that word–word compounds and stressed affix + word structures exhibit significant differences in stress patterns in BP, which supports their prosodization in two separate domains. While stressed affix + word structures are assigned secondary stress following the phonological word (PWd) stress algorithm, each element in word–word compounds behaves as an independent PWd with regard to the stress pattern that it exhibits. I thus propose that while stressed affix + word structures are recursively prosodized in the PWd domain, word–word compounds are prosodized in the composite group, the domain proposed by Vogel (2008, 2009) that immediately dominates the PWd and accounts for the prosodization of structures with compositional characteristics. The analysis reconciles two views on prosodic structure that are traditionally assumed to be mutually exclusive: the view that prosodic domains can be recursive (e.g. Inkelas 1990, Selkirk 1996) and the view that the prosodic hierarchy includes an additional domain specific to composite structures above the PWd (e.g. Vogel 2009, Vigário 2010).

McGill at TOM 11

Mon, 03/26/2018 - 02:00

The annual Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal workshop in semantics (TOM) is an informal event that brings together semanticists working at universities in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. It is a great opportunity for graduate students to present work in progress and obtain feedback from colleagues. This year’s edition of the workshop (TOM 11) took place on Saturday, March 17 at the University of Ottawa, and featured the following presentations by McGill students:

  • Francesco Paolo Gentile: “Non-local modification of possible: a ‘tough’ analysis”
  • Esmail Moghiseh: “Existential free-choice items and contradiction-free strengthening” (joint work with Luis Alonso-Ovalle)
  • Mathieu Paillé: “Knowing whether and ignorance inferences” (joint work with Bernhard Schwarz)

McGill at DGfS 2018

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 02:00
Justin Royer traveled to the University of Stuttgart in Germany where he presented some of his research at the 40th annual conference of the German Linguistics Society (DGfS). His talk was titled Specificity, (in)definiteness, and noun classifiers in Chuj (Mayan). 

Justin Royer receives Mitacs Award

Mon, 03/19/2018 - 02:00

Justin Royer has received a Mitacs award to do fieldwork in Mexico this summer. He will be doing fieldwork on Chuj and will also spend some time at CIESAS (centro de investigaciones y estudios superiores en antropología social) with Prof. Roberto Zavala.


McGill at ConCALL 3

Mon, 03/12/2018 - 02:00

Clint Parker presented some of his recent research on alignment in Shughni at the third Conference on Central Asian Languages and Linguistics (ConCALL 3) at Indiana University March 2-4. His talk was titled Vestigial Ergativity in Shughni: Typology and Analysis.

McGill at Current Issues in Comparative Syntax

Mon, 03/05/2018 - 02:00

Jessica Coon presented a talk at the workshop Current Issues in Comparative Syntax, held last week at the National University Singapore. Her talk was titled “Feature Gluttony and the Syntax of Hierarchy Effects” (joint work with Stefan Keine). Other past McGill affiliates were also in attendance:

Mitcho Erlewine (former McGill post-doc), Jessica Coon, Mark Baker (former McGill faculty)

Colloquium: Susana Béjar, 23/02

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 12:08

Susana Béjar from the University of Toronto will giving a talk entitled “Person, Agree, and Derived Predicates” as part of the McGill Linguistics Colloquium Series on Friday, February 23th at 3:30pm in room 433 of the Education Building. All are welcome to attend! For the abstract and for any other colloquium information, please visit the Colloquium Series web page:

P* Reading Group, 2/22

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 02:30

In this week’s P* Reading Group on Thursday (Feb. 22) 11:30 am -12:30 pm in Room 117, Sarah will lead a discussion of Ingvalson et al. (2017). “Non-native speech learning in older adults”. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 148. Everyone is welcome!

McGill at BLS 44

Mon, 02/19/2018 - 02:00

Berkeley Linguistics Society Meeting 44 took place on 9-11th February 2018. McGill’s linguists of past and present attended and gave the following presentations:

  • Ileana Paul & Lisa Travis: Pronoun-Noun constructions in Malagasy: variation and change
  • Gabriel Daitzchman: The most specific person: Morphological decomposition and analysis of Hebrew π
  • Carol-Rose Little: A feature-based analysis of the Ch’ol (Mayan) person paradigm
  • Lauren Clemens: Verb-initial word order in Mayan languages: Causes and consequences

Gabe Daitzchman, Ileana Paul, Carol-Rose Little, Lauren Clemens, Lisa Travis, Martha Schwartz

WORDS Group, 2/13

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 02:50

The next meeting of the Word Structure Research Group will take place Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 12-1:30pm, in DS-3470 at UQAM ( We will be discussing Vogel (2009).

Everyone is welcome!

Daniel Goodhue defends dissertation

Mon, 02/12/2018 - 02:00

Congratulations to Daniel Goodhue, who defended his dissertations on 9th February 2018! Daniel’s dissertation, supervised by Michael Wagner and co-supervised by Luis Alonso-Ovalle and Bernhard Schwarz  is titled “On asking and answering biased polar questions.” Congratulations, Dan!

Luis Alonso-Ovalle, Bernhard Schwarz, Daniel Goodhue, Michael Wagner