March 14-16, 2014
SLUM is looking for speakers for the next McCCLU – a three-day conference held in the spring each year. Undergraduate Linguistics students will be coming from all over the Northeastern U.S., Ontario, and Quebec to give talks about their research. For more information, or to submit an abstract, please see our post on the Linguist List: http://linguistlist.org/callconf/browse-conf-action.cfm?ConfID=169873
All are welcome (and encouraged) to attend.
As we previously announced, Rajesh Bhatt visited the department to give a talk at the Syntax/Semantics Reading Group and a presentation in LING 417. McLing reporters attended both events and brought with them some pictures to share with you.
Ed Keenan (UCLA) will be giving a talk this Friday, Nov 8th from 4:30–6:00pm in Room 002. Title and abstract are below. Please note the talk will be delivered in French.Title: Interrogative Predicates: Malagasy and some Relatives Abstract: The primary purpose of this talk is to describe the rich diversity of interrogative predicates, both verbal and non-verbal, in Malagasy (W. Austronesian; Madagascar). We extend our knowledge of the internal structure of interrogative predicates and the semantic range of questions a language can grammatically code (Gil 2001, Cysouw 2004). Our data support earlier typological studies establishing the existence of interrogative verbs (Hagège 2003, 2008). More theoretically, we provide some modest new support for generalizations due to Oda 2005 and Potsdam 2009 relating word order patterns to derivation type.
Current post-doc Richard Compton traveled to Toronto to receive the Course Instructor Award at the University of Toronto Mississauga. Congratulations Richard!
Morgan Sonderegger visited the University of Toronto last Friday, where he gave two talks: “The dynamics of sounds on reality television”, as a department colloquium, and ”Voice onset time: automatic measurement and corpus studies”, in a joint meeting of the Phonetics/Phonology Group and the Psycholinguistics Group.
This week’s Agreement Reading Group presentation will be by Yuliya Manyakina who will be presenting Déchaine & Wiltschko (2002). As always, AGReading group will take place Friday at 1pm in room 117. All are welcome.
There is no Ling-Tea this week, see you again next week.
PhD student Walter Pedersen‘s article on again ( ”A scalar analysis of again“) has been accepted for publication at the Journal of Semantics.
(with Stefan Keine)”
In this presentation we develop an argument that head movement may have semantic effects and that it can hence not be a PF phenomenon.The argument is based on novel facts regarding scope in infinitival complementation structures in German. We show that every element inside the infinitival clause must take scope over the matrix verb ifthe embedded clause is a VP that remains in situ. If, by contrast, the embedded clause is either a vP or a VP that undergoes movement, no such wide scope is possible. We propose that wide scope of embedded elements is the result of syntactic verb cluster formation: The infinitival verb incorporates into the higher verb. To obtain the observed scope facts, we suggest that the verb cluster is semantically interpreted via Function Composition. Supplemented with standard assumptions about the interpretation of movement, this account derives the wide scope of material inside the embedded clause.For updates & background readings: http://www.mcgill.ca/linguistics/research/syntax-semantics-research-group Monday, Nov. 4, 2:30-4:00 1085 Penfield, Room 002 (Guest lecture in LING 417 Topics at the interfaces) “On Correlatives” Keir Moulton (Simon Fraser University)** Friday Nov. 8, 3:00-4:30 1085 Penfield, Room 002 (Syntax-semantics research group meeting) “Separating crossover from cataphora, experimentally” (tentative title) For updates & background readings: http://www.mcgill.ca/linguistics/research/syntax-semantics-research-group Monday, Nov. 11, 2:30-4:00 1085 Penfield Room 002 (Guest lecture in LING 417 Topics at the interfaces) “On Pseudo-relatives and their relation to internally headed relatives”
Who: Alyona Belikova
When: Friday, November 1st, 2:30pm, followed by a reception in the linguistics lounge
Where: ARTS Building, Rm. 160
Title: Getting L2 Reflexive and Reciprocal Verbs Right
This dissertation investigates whether or not linguistically misleading classroom instruction can affect second language (L2) acquisition. Of particular interest are linguistically inappropriate classroom rules which are superficially logical but linguistically false.
A case in point is provided by French reflexive and reciprocal verbs, which are formed with the clitic se. The reflexive/reciprocal clitic se does not behave on a par with object clitic pronouns as many reliable syntactic diagnostics suggest (Kayne 1975, Reinhart & Siloni 2005). Superficially, however, se generally resembles object clitic pronouns, due to similarities in distribution and form. It is, then, not surprising that classroom French L2 instruction consistently misrepresents se verbs as syntactic transitive constructions, and se itself as a reflexive/reciprocal object pronoun. Two experimental tasks (contextualized grammaticality judgments and truth value judgments) are designed to examine whether Russian- and English-speaking L2 learners of French adopt the linguistically inaccurate classroom generalization or converge on a native-like representation of se. Both tasks involve constructions where se and clitic pronouns behave differently. In addition, a questionnaire on se taps participants’ recollection of any explicit classroom instruction. The most important finding of the dissertation is that although about half of participants refer to se as an object pronoun in the sequestionnaire – thus showing that they remembered the classroom generalization – L2 learners still clearly make the relevant native-like distinction between se and true object pronouns in the experimental tasks. Learners’ failure to internalize superficially logical but linguistically false generalizations at the level of linguistic competence – as opposed to the level of learned linguistic knowledge (Schwartz 1993) – suggests that adult language acquirers must still employ language-specific learning mechanisms and go beyond instruction.
While focusing on the L2 acquisition of French reflexive and reciprocal verbs by native speakers of Russian and English, the present dissertation also reformulates the existing literature on the related phenomena in light of current developments in theoretical syntax and develops an analysis of reflexive and reciprocal verbs which has adequate empirical coverage and also does away with certain previous stipulations.
A follow-up on a post from last week: McGill linguists are well represented in poster presentations at the upcoming International Conference on Multilingualism, a two-day conference on multilingualism and brain plasticity being held at McGill:
- Meghan Clayards & Elizabeth Wonnacott: A case study of childhood L2 learning of phonological contrasts
- Heather Goad, Moti Lieberman, & Lydia White: Parsing ambiguous relative clauses: L2 sensitivity to prosodic cues to high and low attachment
- Justin Koh, Heather Goad, Audrey Delcenserie, & Fred Genesee: Atypical word-level prominence in internationally-adopted French-speaking children
- Tokiko Okuma: The development in interpreting Japanese pronouns by adult bilingual speakers
- Tania Leal Mendez, Roumyana Slabakova (PhD 1997) & Thomas Farmer – The Relationship between prediction and proficiency in on-line L2 processing
- Liz Smeets, Luisa Meroni, & Sharon Unsworth: Acceleration in the bilingual acquisition: the case of specific indefinites
The full program for the conference can be viewed here.
Professor Emeritus Glyne Piggott is just back from an invited colloquium talk on October 25th at the University of Connecticut. The title of his talk was “Movement in phonology: another reason for affix displacement.” Welcome back!
Lisa Travis was just in Leiden for the Little v Workshop, for which she was a keynote speaker. The title of her talk is “Little v as a domain/phase delimiter.”
Jessica Coon travels to Tromsø, Norway this week for a conference called “Features in Phonology, Morphology, Syntax, and Semantics: What are They?” She will present joint work with Alan Bale (Concordia) titled “The inseparability of person and number in Mi’gmaq.” The rest of the program can be viewed here.
Who: Mikael Vinka & Christian Waldmann, Umeå University, Sweden
Where: Wednesday, October 23 from 3–4pm in room 117
What: Surface anaphors in Swedish
Sepideh was originally scheduled to present her work on even at the Syntax/Semantics Reading Group next Friday, October 25, at 3:00 (room 117, as usual.) Because Chomsky is giving a talk at UQAM at around the same time, Sepideh’s presentation will be rescheduled.
The SSOC (Syntax/Semantics Organizing Committee) unanimously decided that it would not be fair for Chomsky to have to compete with the Syntax Semantics Reading Group. What if his audience decided to come to the reading group, instead?
In this week’s AGR Reading group, Alan Bale and Jessica Coon will lead discussion of Harley & Ritter’s 2002 Language article, “Person and Number in Pronouns: A Feature Geometric Analysis” and discuss ongoing work on agreement in Mi’gmaq. AGR Reading group meets Fridays from 1:00–2:30 in Linguistics room 117. All are welcome!
Liz Smeets will be presenting a poster entitled “Acceleration in the Bilingual Acquisition: the Case of Specific Indefinites” at the International Conference on Multilingualism, a two-day conference on multilingualism and brain plasticity at McGill University.
Location: Ballroom, Thomson House
Date: Friday October 25th
Time: 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm