The next meeting of the Word Research Group will take place on Tuesday, January 16th, 12-2pm, in DS-3470 at UQAM (http://carte.uqam.ca/pavillon-ds). Timothy O’Donnell will be giving a talk on his research.
Everyone is welcome!
We are starting up our experimental syntax reading group for the winter semester! Our first meeting is this Tuesday, the 16th at the Linguistics building, room 117 at 12pm. There will be snacks, and feel free to bring your lunch. In addition to outlining our plan for the semester, we will discuss this short Scientific American article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-to-understand-the-deep-structures-of-language/#.
For inspiration, here are some topics we have thought we would like to include: artificial grammar, syntax in songbirds, L2 syntax acquisition, prosody and syntax, computational models, syntax in sign language.
We hope to see you at the first brainstorming meeting !
Sharon Goldwater from the University of Edinburgh will be giving a talk entitled Bootstrapping Language Acquisition as part of the McGill Linguistics Colloquium Series on Friday, January 12th 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 clear here to visit the Colloquium Series web page.
The first meeting of the Word Research Group will take place on Tuesday, January 9th, 12-2pm, in DS-3470 at UQAM (http://carte.uqam.ca/pavillon-ds).
The topic for this term is clitics and agreement, although from time to time group members will present on other topics related to words. We’ll be hoping to finalize a good chunk of the schedule for readings during this first meeting.
Everyone is welcome to attend!
- Brian Buccola (PhD 2015, http://brianbuccola.com/) (with Andreas Haida): “Expressing agent indifference in German”
- Mitcho Erlewine (Postdoc 2014-15; https://mitcho.com/) (with Hadas Kotek, Postdoc 2014-15, http://hkotek.com/): “Intervention tracks scope-rigidity in Japanese”
- Bernhard Schwarz: “On question exhaustivity and NPI licensing”
- Alexandra (Sasha) Simonenko (PhD 2014, http://people.linguistics.mcgill.ca/~alexandra.simonenko/): “Towards a semantic typology of specifi city markers”
Congratulations to Luis Alonso-Ovalle who together with Paula Menéndez-Benito have a new paper, “Projecting Possibilities in the Nominal Domain: Spanish Uno Cualquiera” appearing in the Journal of Semantics!
Donghyun Kim, Meghan Clayards, and Sarah Colby (SCSD) just returned from the Acoustical Society of America meeting in New Orleans where they each presented posters on their work:
Kim, D., Clayards, M., Kong, E. Individual differences in perceptual adaptation to phonetic categories: Categorization gradiency and cognitive abilities. Poster presentation at the Acoustical Society of America, New Orleans, LA.
Clayards, M.. Individual differences in cue weights are correlated across contrasts. Poster presentation at the Acoustical Society of America, New Orleans, LA.
Colby, S., Poulton, V., Clayards, M. Inhibitory and lexical frequency effects in younger and older adults’ spoken word recognition. Poster presentation at the Acoustical Society of America, New Orleans, LA.
Congratulations to Donghyun Kim, Meghan Clayards, and Heather Goad whose new paper, “A longitudinal study of individual differences in the acquisition of new vowel contrasts” has just been published in the Journal of Phonetics!
Hye-Young Bang is defending her Ph.D. dissertation “The structure of multiple cues to stop categorization and its implications for sound change” on Monday, December 4th, 2017 at 1:00 pm in the Arts Bldg. (Rm. 160). The defence will be followed by a reception in the lounge (Rm. 212).
The WORDS Group will be meeting on Friday 8th December, at McGill, Dr. Penfield Ave. 1085 (room 117) at 1pm-2.30pm. Tim O’Donnell will present “Inducing phonological rules: Perspectives from Bayesian program learning”, his joint work with Kevin Ellis (Kevin Ellis & Tim O’Donnell).
Everyone is welcome to attend!
At this week’s Montreal Language Modeling Lab meeting (Tues Nov 28 at 5:30-7:30pm in Room 117), Wilfred Yau will discuss the surprise exam paradox and its relation to game theory, as well as a brief overview of how game theory is applied in linguistics, especially pragmatics. Light food provided. Everyone is welcome; please RSVP to email@example.com if not on the lab mailing list.
In this week’s P* Reading Group on Wednesday (Nov. 29) 11am-12pm in Room 117, Sarah and Donghyun will give practice talks for their upcoming ASA presentations, entitled “Inhibitory and Lexical Frequency Effects in Younger and Older Adults’ Spoken Word Recognition” and “Individual differences in perceptual adaptation to phonetic categories: Categorization gradiency and cognitive abilities.” Their abstracts are below. Everyone is welcome!
Inhibitory and Lexical Frequency Effects in Younger and Older Adults’ Spoken Word Recognition
Older adults are known to have more difficulty recognizing words with dense phonological neighbourhoods (Sommers & Danielson, 1999), suggesting an increased role of inhibition in older adults’ spoken word recognition. Revill & Spieler (2012) found that older adults are particularly susceptible to frequency effects, and will look more to high frequency items compared to younger adults. We aim to replicate and extend the findings of Revill & Spieler (2012) by investigating the role of inhibition along with frequency for resolving lexical competition in both older and younger adults. Older (n=16) and younger (n=18) adults completed a visual word paradigm eyetracking task that used high and low frequency targets paired with competitors of opposing frequency, and a Simon task as a measure of inhibition. We find that older adults with poorer inhibition are more distracted by competitors than those with better inhibition and younger adults. This effect is larger for high frequency competitors compared to low. These results have implications for the changing role of inhibition in resolving lexical competition across the adult lifespan and support the idea that decreased inhibition in older adults contributes to increased lexical competition and stronger frequency effects in word recognition.
Individual differences in perceptual adaptation to phonetic categories: Categorization gradiency and cognitive abilities
We examine whether listeners flexibly adapt to unfamiliar speech patterns such as those encountered in foreign-accented English vowels. In these cases, the relative informativity of acoustic dimensions (spectral quality vs. duration) can be changed such that the most informative dimension (spectral quality) is no longer informative, but the role of the secondary cue (duration) is enhanced. We further test whether listeners’ adaptive strategies are related to individual differences in utilizations of secondary cues (measured by categorization gradiency) and cognitive abilities. Native English listeners (N=36) listened to continuum of vowels /ɛ/ and /æ/ (as in head and had) varying spectral and duration values to complete a perceptual adaptation task, a visual analogue scaling (VAS) task, and were given cognitive ability tasks examining executive function capacities. Results showed that listeners mostly used spectral quality to signal vowel category at baseline, but rapidly adapted by up-weighting reliance on duration when spectral quality was no longer informative. The VAS task showed substantial individual differences in categorization gradiency with more gradient listeners using a secondary cue more, but gradiency was not linked to degree of adaptation. Finally, results of cognitive ability tasks revealed that individual differences in inhibitory control, but not the other cognitive abilities, correlated with the amount of perceptual adaptation.
Lucie Ménard (UQÀM) will be giving a talk at 3:30pm on Friday, December 1st. The talk abstract is forthcoming. Please note that the talk will be in Arts Bldg. W-20 instead of the normal room.
We look forward to seeing you there!
SSHRC recently released the official announcement of this year’s Insight Grants competition, and two McGill linguists were successful.Jessica Coon received funding for her project titled “Agreement and anti-agreement” across languages. Morgan Sonderegger was funded for “Uncovering the structure and sources of speech variability through large-scale studies”. Meghan Clayards and Tim O’Donnell are team members on this project.
BA student Paulina Elias and PhD student Justin Royer traveled to Toronto to present their work on Chuj at the first Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal Indigenous Languages of Latin America (TOMILLA) workshop at the University of Toronto. Paulina’s talk was “Positionals and directionals in Chuj” and Justin’s was “Noun classifiers, (in)definiteness, and pronouns in Chuj”.
Congratulations to Donghyun Kim, Meghan Clayards, and Heather Goad for the acceptance of their paper “A longitudinal study of individual differences in the acquisition of new vowel contrasts” by the Journal of Phonetics.
This Monday, we will discuss the paper by Ladd and Morton (1997). The paper is about whether there is a categorically different ‘contrastive’ accent in English, or whether apparent differences are just due to degrees of inference.
Ladd, D. R. and Morton, R. (1997). The perception of intonational emphasis: continuous or categorical? Journal of Phonetics, 25(3):313–342.
At this week’s Montreal Language Modeling Lab meeting (Tues Nov 21 at 5:30-7:30pm in Room 117), Vanna Willerton will give an overview of Charles Yang’s model of linguistic productivity called the Tolerance Principle, from Yang’s book The Price of Linguistic Productivity. Those who are familiar with Tim’s work will be particularly interested as his Fragment Grammars model and the Tolerance Principle are alternative theories of productivity. Light food provided. Everyone is welcome; please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org if not on the lab mailing list.
In this week’s P* Reading Group on Wednesday (Nov. 22) 11am-12pm in Room 117, Donghyun will lead a discussion of Franken et al. (2017). Individual variability as a window on production-perception interactions in speech motor control. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 142(4), 2007–2018. Everyone is welcome!