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The McGill Linguistics Department Newsletter
Updated: 5 hours 55 min ago

Junko Shimoyama heads to FAJL

Mon, 2014-06-23 02:00

Junko Shimoyama is off to Formal Approaches to Japanese Linguistics (FAJL) in Tokyo this weekend, for a poster presentation on ongoing joint work with Alex Drummond, Bernhard Schwarz and Michael Wagner on dislocation and clausal ellipsis. She will also present the work at Okayama University (in her home town), where Hidekazu Tanaka (McGill PhD 1998) recently joined the faculty after many years of being at the University of York (UK). Junko looks forward to benefitting from Hidekazu’s expertise in right dislocation, as well as Mika Kizu’s (McGill PhD 1999) expertise in cleft constructions.

Syntax-Semantics Reading Group: Buccola on Al-Khatib, part II – 06/27

Mon, 2014-06-23 02:00

Brian Buccola made a presentation last Friday on Al-Khathib (2013) ‘Only’ and Association with Negative Antonyms. Ph. Diss. MIT. He will continue the presentation on Friday 27 at the Syntax-Semantics Reading Group (room 117, from 3:00 to 4:30).

Richard Compton accepts job at UQAM

Mon, 2014-06-23 01:50

Congratulations to postdoc Richard Compton, who has just officially accepted a tenure-track position in the Department of Linguistics at Université du Québec à Montréal, to begin July 1st. Richard completed his PhD in 2012 at University of Toronto, and spent the past year as a postdoc with Jessica Coon and Lisa Travis.

Richard was also just awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant to continue his work on Inuit. The title is “Nominal and verbal incorporation in Inuit”.

Congratulations Richard!

Welcome back, Heather!

Mon, 2014-06-16 02:00

Heather Goad just returned from two weeks in China followed by one week in Norway. She gave four talks at universities in Beijing, Ningbo and Harbin, then taught at the Norwegian National Graduate School in Linguistics in beautiful Hamn i Senja.

Welcome back, Heather!

Syntax-Semantics Reading Group: Buccola on Al-Khatib (2013) – 06/20.

Mon, 2014-06-16 02:00

Brian Buccola will lead a discussion of Al-Khathib (2013) ‘Only’ and Association with Negative Antonyms. Ph. Diss. MIT on Friday 20 at the Syntax-Semantics Reading Group (room 117, from 3:00 to 4:30). The discussion will continue on Friday 27, at the same place and time.

Congratulations graduates

Mon, 2014-06-09 01:50

Congratulations to this year’s BA Linguistics concentrators who graduated before the storm hit Tuesday! Among the graduates were this year’s award recipients. More information on the awards can be found here.

  • Cremona Memorial Prize in Linguistics – Misha Schwartz
  • Academic Leadership Award – Lauren Garfinkle
  • U2 Academic Achievement Award – Elena Russo
  • Department Citizenship Award – Andrew MacLachlan
  • Excellence in Research Award – Louisa Bielig

News is still trickling in about what this year’s graduates will be up to next year, but we can tell you that linguistics major Jason Kobelski Olszewski will be joining the Masters in Multilingualism program offered by the University of Groningen in the Netherlands, and neuroscience major Yan Jun Chen will be staying at McGill to study Speech Pathology. Lizzie Carolan has just returned from a trip to Guatemala researching Mayan languages and will work part-time next year as an RA for Jessica Coon. Andrew MacLachlan will head to University of Toronto in August to study Law and Kaylee Avrashi will head to graduate school for Speech Language Pathology at University of Ottawa.

We also have news of graduates from previous years. Liwen Hou (’13) will begin a PhD program in Computer Science at Northeastern University this fall where she plans to study Natural Language Processing. Ruth María Martínez (’13) is enrolled in the MA program at UdeM.

MA graduates

Mon, 2014-06-09 01:50

Congratulations to this year’s linguistics students graduating with MA degrees, Maayan Adar, Gretchen McCulloch, and Nina Umont. Good work all!

Masters Gretchen McCulloch and Maayan Adar


Gretchen has a new job as the editor of Slate.com’s Lexicon Valley blog. Maayan will join UCLA’s PhD program in the fall. Nina has just started work at iPerceptions where she is putting her stats skills to work.

Fall course announcement: LING 721 “Questions, focus, and friends”

Mon, 2014-06-09 01:50

LING 721 Advanced Seminar 1
“Questions, focus, and friends”
Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine and Hadas Kotek

Monday & Wednesday, 1:30–3:00pm

In this seminar we will explore the syntax and semantics of questions and focus constructions. From a theoretical point of view, we will discuss in detail two technologies used for scope taking—(covert) movement and focus alternative computation—which are commonly employed in the analysis of both questions and focus constructions. From a more typological perspective, we will explore the shared overt morphosyntactic strategies some languages use in the expression of both kinds of constructions.

Phenomena to be discussed include in-situ and ex-situ wh-questions and Association with Focus constructions, pied-piping, movement asymmetries and islands, intervention effects, and alternative questions. Time permitting, we may discuss other phenomena for which both (covert) movement and alternative computation have been (or could be) employed, such as disjunction, NPIs, universal quantification, and head-internal relatives.

Requirements for registered students will include infrequent homework assignments and two language journals, which report on the investigation of wh-questions and focus constructions in a particular language, based on elicitation with a native speaker. We will assume some familiarity with properties of A’ (wh) movement and (extensional) compositional semantics as in Heim & Kratzer (1998), but important parts of the theory will be reviewed in class.

The course will be graded Pass/fail.

Charles Boberg’s research in Metro news

Mon, 2014-06-09 01:40

Charles Boberg‘s research on Canadian English was prominently featured in Metro news last week, online, and in print across Canada… except here in Quebec! You can read the piece on Canadian English here.