December 15, 2018

New paper: Jurgec and Bjorkman (2018)

Peter Jurgec (faculty) and Bronwyn Bjorkman (former postdoc, now at Queen's University) have a paper now published in Phonology, 35(4): "Indexation to stems and words."

This paper presents an extension of indexed constraints, such that they can apply not only to individual morphemes, but also to potentially complex constituents such as the stem. This modification allows us to capture a class of long-distance morphologically derived environment effects (MDEEs) that have been previously unexplained. MDEEs typically involve an exceptional phonological pattern that is lost under affixation. Formally, MDEEs are predicted if complex constituents such as stems are treated as lexically exceptional only when every morpheme contained within them is independently exceptional. This approach further predicts asymmetries between bare roots and affixed words, between roots and affixes, and between inflected and derived words. All other things being equal, the first of each pair is more likely to be exceptional in more contexts.

December 14, 2018

Faculty/staff holiday lunch

Our faculty and staff enjoyed a holiday lunch at Her Father's Cider Bar and Kitchen on Friday, December 14. Thanks to the restaurant and its employees for their hospitality (and for taking the photo!).

Clockwise around the table from left: Sali A. Tagliamonte, Jack Chambers, Yoonjung Kang, Naomi Nagy, Phil Monahan, Barend Beekhuizen, Jessamyn Schertz, Cristina Cuervo, Susana Béjar, Aleksei Nazarov, Marisa Brook, Elaine Gold, Arsalan Kahnemuyipour, Nathan Sanders, Jennifer McCallum, Diane Massam, and Derek Denis.

December 10, 2018

Research Groups: Week of December 10-14

Wednesday, December 12, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM, Bissell Building 113
Morphology Reading Group

Thursday, December 13, 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM, SS 1086
Language Variation and Change Group
Practise talks for LSA/ADS/other conferences held alongside.

December 7, 2018

Congratulations, Emily!

Emily Clare successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, "Dynamicity in speech perception," on Friday, December 7, 2018. The committee included Jessamyn Schertz (supervisor), Yoonjung Kang, Phil Monahan, Elizabeth Johnson, Nathan Sanders, and external examiner Meghan Clayards (McGill University). Congratulations, Dr. Clare!

Elizabeth, Nathan, Meghan, Emily, Jessamyn, Yoonjung, and Phil. (Photo by Jennifer McCallum.)

December 6, 2018

Workshop: New Perspectives on Mental State Attribution

The Department of Philosophy is hosting a workshop, New Perspectives on Mental State Attribution, early next week. This will be taking place at the Jackman Humanities Building (Room 100) on Monday, December 10, and Tuesday, December 11, from 9 AM to 5 PM both days. The program features a mix of guest speakers giving in-depth presentations. Of particular interest to the linguistics community are the two talks on the Tuesday afternoon, as follows:

2:00 PM to 3:30 PM:
Elizabeth Bogal-Allbritten (University of Gothenburg):
"Building attitudes in the grammar."

4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Rachel Dudley (École normale supérieure):
"Pragmatic effects in child's understanding of attitude verbs."

December 5, 2018

Iranian Languages Workshop

Our department has a cluster of scholars keenly interested in the languages of Iran. On top of that, this semester's JAL401: Field Linguistics class taught by Suzi Lima (faculty) collectively investigated Gilaki, an Indo-Iranian language spoken in the northwest of the country. In other to showcase their research, we will be holding a workshop on Iranian languages: Thursday, December 6, from 10 AM through 3 PM in the department lounge. All departmental members are encouraged to attend!

Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty):
"Everything I know about Gilaki."

Gregory Antono (BA):
"Allomorphy in Gilaki: An Optimality Theoretic approach."

Crystal Chen (BA):
"Adjectival order in Gilaki."

Sahar Taghipour (Ph.D.):
"Definiteness in Laki: its distribution and properties."

Rosie Webb (BA):
"Modifier reduplication in Gilaki."

Kristina Springer (BA):
"The morphophonological analysis of verb affixation in Gilaki."

Jida Jaffan (MA):
"One way and the other: assessing the origins of Arabic and Gilaki loanwords based on the undergone linguistic processes."

Koorosh Ariyaee (Ph.D.):
"Loanword adaptation in Persian."

Liam Donohue (MA):
"Locating objects in space and time: An analysis of temporal-spatial copular constructions in Gilaki."

Breanna Pratley (BA):
"Distribution of active and passive constructions in Gilaki."

December 4, 2018

Research Groups: Friday, December 7

Note that the Fieldwork Group meeting this week is cancelled.

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Language Variation and Change Research Group
Group discussion: Lewis, Mark (2018). A critique of the principle of error correction as a theory of social change. Language in Society, 47(3), 325-346. And an overview of the Journal of English Linguistics, 46(3), on practical strategies for opposing linguistic discrimination.

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Syntax Group
Nico Baier (McGill University): "Unifying anti-agreement and wh-agreement."
In this talk, I investigate the sensitivity of φ-agreement to features typically associated with Ā-extraction, including those related to wh-questioning, relativization, focus and topicalization. This phenomenon has been referred to as anti-agreement (Ouhalla 1993) or wh-agreement (Chung and Georgopoulos 1988; Georgopoulos 1991; Chung 1994) in the literature. While anti-agreement is commonly held to result from constraints on the Ā-movement of agreeing DPs, I argue that it reduces to an instance of wh-agreement, or the appearance of particular morphological forms in the presence of Ā-features. I develop a unified account of these Ā-sensitive φ-agreement effects in which they arise from the ability of φ-probes to copy both φ-features and Ā-features in the syntax. In the morphological component, partial or total impoverishment may apply to feature bundles containing both φ- and Ā-features, deleting some or all of the φ-features. Impoverishment blocks insertion of an otherwise appropriate, more highly specified agreement exponent.

December 3, 2018

LIN362 poster session

The students of LIN362: Historical Linguistics, taught by Aleksei Nasarov (faculty), will be presenting their final projects in the form of a poster session in the department lounge on Tuesday, December 4, from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM. All department members are encouraged to attend!

December 1, 2018

Congratulations, Peter!

Peter Jurgec (faculty) has been awarded an Erasmus+ Mobility Grant, which provides considerable funding for inter-institutional exchange. We will be sending a graduate student from our department to visit Slovenia next autumn; a graduate student from Ljubljana will visit us at the same time. Two of our faculty members will be visiting Slovenia (and vice versa) for a week each sometime in the next two years. We anticipate that the grant will further strengthen our department's interests in Slavic languages from a variety of perspectives and approaches. Congratulations to Peter on the recognition and on opening up this tremendously valuable opportunity for all of us!

November 30, 2018

Congratulations, Arsalan!

Arsalan Kahnemuyipour (faculty) has been awarded a Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute grant to support his research on the syntax of nominal linkers in Iranian languages. This award recognizes Arsalan's substantial efforts towards the study of Persian culture. Congratulations, Arsalan, on this thoroughly well-deserved honour!

November 29, 2018

Congratulations, Iryna!

Iryna Osadcha successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, "Lexical stress in East Slavic: Variation in space and time," on Thursday, November 29, 2018. On the committee were Elan Dresher (supervisor), Peter Jurgec, Joseph Schallert, Aleksei Nazarov, Keren Rice, and external examiner Christina Bethin (Stony Brook University). Congratulations, Dr. Osadcha!

Christopher Spahr (Ph.D. 2015, now at Tulip Software), Iryna, and Elan;
Iryna, Angelika Kiss (Ph.D.), and Aleksei Nazarov (faculty);
Aleksei in front, and Iryna serenading us at her celebration!

November 28, 2018

A Faetar-speaking visitor!

This past weekend, Naomi Nagy (faculty) hosted a speaker of Faetar (a Franco-Provençal language spoken in two small communities in Foggia in south Italy: Faeto and Celle), and used the opportunity to practice her Faetar (photo #1), catch up on Faetar texting practices (photo #2) - not bad for a language with no official writing system! - and compare pizzas in Faeto and Toronto (photo #3). Livia was only 2 the last time Naomi did fieldwork in Faeto.

Telling time with a clock from Faeto: [o fa kase lu kat e mietS]

A text message in Faetar - transcribed in IPA.

Livia e la sua pizza. (Grazie Napoli Centrale!)

November 27, 2018

Guest speaker: Adam Roth Singerman (University of Chicago)

Our department is very pleased to welcome guest speaker Adam Roth Singerman, a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Humanities at the University of Chicago, where he recently earned his Ph.D. from the Department of Linguistics. His research centers on morphosyntax and typology and Tuparí. On Friday, November 30 at 2:30 PM, in SS 560A he will be presenting "The synchrony and diachrony of Tuparí evidentiality".

Those Tupían languages described as possessing grammaticalized evidentality typically mark the category through freestanding particles located in a predicate peripheral or clause peripheral position (Moore 1984; Gabas Jr. 1999; Seki 2000; Galucio 2011). Tuparí, however, marks evidentiality throug a bound verbal suffix that sits inside of tense morphology and agrees in number with the subject. This suffix, -pnē/-psira, participates in a nuanced set of interactions with the language's set of second position clause typing particles. This talk draws upon original fieldwork to provide a detailed description and analysis of -pnē/-psira. I show that -pnē/-psira presupposes commitment to p on the part of the speaker. This analysis correctly predicts the incompatibility between -pnē/-psira and thoes clause types that express doubt or uncertainty, and it also accounts for how the witnessed/non-witnessed evidential contrast projects out of finite embedded clauses. This talk also puts forth a diachronic hypothesis concerning the origins of -pnē/-psira. A separate suffix, -psē/-pnē/-psira, qualifies as a resultative in the sense of Nedjalkov and Jaxontov (1988) and Nedjalkov (2001). Resultative -psē/-pnē/-psira is partially homophonous with evidential -pnē/-psira but the two morphemes differ from one another according to several syncrhonic diagnostics. I argue that resultative readings ('the pen is lying in a fallen position') were reinterpreted as non-firsthand declaratives ('the pen fell [non-witnessed]'). Tuparí thus instantiates the same resultative to evidential grammaticalization pathway which is known from Eurasia (Tatevosov 2001; Jalava 2014, 2017; Friedman 2018, among others) but which to my knowledge has not previously been described for an indigenous language of the Americas.

November 26, 2018

Research Groups: Week of November 26-30

Note the slight irregularities in the timing this week.

Wednesday, November 28, 12:00 PM - 2:00 PM, Bissell Building 113
Morphology Reading Group
Virgilio Partida Penalva (Ph.D.) leading a discussion of: Harris, James, and Morris Halle (2005). Unexpected plural inflections in Spanish: Reduplication and metathesis. Linguistic Inquiry, 36(2), 195-222.

Friday, November 30, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Psycholinguistics Group
Presentation by guest speaker Michael Tanenhaus (University of Rochester).

Friday, November 30, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Phonology Research Group
Andrei Munteanu (Ph.D.): "Homophony avoidance in Russian nominals: an experimental approach."

Friday, November 30, 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
Semantics Research Group
Group discussion: Singerman, Adam Roth (2018). Negation as an exclusively nominal category. Language, 94(2), 432-467.

November 22, 2018

LSA Linguistic Institute 2019

Next's year's Linguistic Institute offered by the Linguistic Society of America is being held at the University of California, Davis, from June 24 through July 19, 2019. Three current departmental members will be teaching classes. Sali A. Tagliamonte (faculty) is teaching 'Dialectology in the 21st Century'; Marisa Brook (faculty) and Emily Blamire (Ph.D.) are jointly at the helm of 'Topics in Sociolinguistics and Computer-Mediated Communication'. Former postdoc Heather Burnett (now at Centre national de la recherche scientifique) is also leading a class: 'Game-Theoretic Approaches to Sociolinguistic Variation and Change'.

November 20, 2018

Research Groups: Friday, November 23

Note the slightly irregular times and/or places this week.

10:00 AM - 11:30 AM, SS 4043
Psycholinguistics Group
Daphna Buchsbaum (faculty, Department of Psychology): "Does pragmatic context influence children's use of majority information in object label learning and causal learning?"

10:30 AM - 12:00 PM, SS2110
Syntax Group
Paper discussion led by Andrew Peters (Ph.D.): Lima, Suzi (2018). New perspectives on the count-mass distinction: Understudied languages and psycholinguistics. Language and Linguistics Compass, 2018, e12303.

1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Fieldwork Group
Virgilio Partida Penalva (Ph.D.) leading a presentation of the methodology of the MesoSpace group.

November 19, 2018

Invited talk: Suzi Lima (University of Toronto/Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)

We are delighted to host a talk by Suzi Lima, currently an Assistant Professor in our department visiting from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. Her research encompasses documentation and revitalization, acquisition, semantics/pragmatics, and psycholinguistics. Her talk, "A typology of the count/mass distinction in Brazil and its relevance for count/mass theories," will be taking place on Friday, November 23 at 3:00 PM in SS 560A. A reception will follow in the department lounge.

Since Link's (1983) seminal contribution, much work has explored the semantics of count and mass nouns from both theoretical and experimental perspectives. In this talk, I explore some of the recent advances in this field, drawing particularly from experimental research and descriptions of understudied Brazilian languages, more specifically, Yudja (Juruna family, Tupi Stock). This talk has two main goals. First, I will explore the debate about what can be counted grammatically, that is, how we define atoms and what role extra-linguistic factors may play in this process, focusing on the distinction between natural and semantic atomicity (Rothstein 2010). More specifically, I will show that, in many languages, substance-denoting nouns - predicted to be uncountable in most count/mass theories (cf. Chierchia 1998, 2010) - can interact with the counting system, suggesting that the substance/object distinction might have an impact on what is more likely to be counted, but does not in itself restrict counting. I will also argue that the counting units that we use with object denoting nouns do not always correspond to 'natural atoms'. Second, I will discuss the results of a large-scale project on the count-mass distinction in 17 Brazilian languages, and how the results of this project can contribute to typological research on this topic.

November 18, 2018

Invited talk for Cognitive Science: Michael K. Tanenhaus (University of Rochester/Nanjing Normal University)

The Cognitive Science Program at University College is hosting Michael K. Tanenhaus, who is the Beverly Petterson Bishop and Charles W. Bishop Professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Linguistics and the Director for Center for Language Sciences at the University of Rochester, and also Chair Professor at Nanjing Normal University. His extensive research focuses on psycholinguistics and processing. He will be giving a talk, "Real-time spoken language comprehension: A tale of signal and context," on Thursday the 29th in UC 140 starting at 4:30 PM.

November 17, 2018

Congratulations, Elizabeth!

We are thrilled to have learned that cross-appointed faculty member Elizabeth Johnson (psychology, UTM) has been awarded a Canada Research Chair in Spoken Language Acquisition! From her research profile:

Johnson is exploring whether infants whose primary caregivers are late learners of English face different developmental challenges than those whose parents learned English early. She is also examining what factors should be considered when assessing language skills and vocabulary size in infants who receive exposure to multiple varieties of spoken English.

Congratulations, Elizabeth, on this landmark honour!

November 16, 2018

Julie at UTM Linguistics Brown Bag

Julianne Doner (Ph.D.) is the next guest speaker for the Linguistics Brown Bag Lunch series at the Mississauga campus. Her talk, "A 3D typology of the EPP", will be taking place on Monday, November 26, from 11 AM to 12 PM, in room 5128 of the New North Building.

The Extended Projection Principle (EPP) was proposed by Chomsky (1981, 1982) to account for why subjects are obligatory in English clauses. I define the EPP as the obligatory move of some element into the inflectional domain. A variety of EPP types have been identified cross-linguistically: (a) Massam and Smallwood (1997) argue that the EPP in Niuean is checked by VPs; (b) Alexiadou and Anagnostopoulou (1998) argue that the EPP can vary in the size (Xº or XP) of the element that checks it; (c) Davies and Dubinsky (2001) argue for a contrast between D- and V-prominent EPP; and (d) Richards and Biberauer (2005) claim that the EPP pied-pipes the entire vP in some Germanic languages. I argue that the EPP can vary in three dimensions: (a) by having a head (Xº) or a phrase (XP) as a goal, (b) by pied-piping the entire vP or not, and (c) by targeting an argument/nominal (D) or a predicate (Pred). Combining these three dimensions gives us a total of 8 logical types, 7 of which are attested.

Pied-piping No pied-piping
Dº-EPP German
(Richards and Biberauer 2005)
(Alexidou and Anagnostopoulou 1998)
Predº-EPP Irish Inuktitut
(Johns 2007)
DP-EPP Afrikaans
(Richards and Biberauer 2005)
PredP-EPP indistinguishable from no pied-piping Niuean
(Massam 2001)

Some languages exhibit alternations between two EPP types, providing evidence that these different types are equivalent on some level. I will show that intra-linguistic alternations in EPP type target only one dimension of variation at a time. However, where Biberauer (2010) proposes that the various EPP occur independently and can co-occur, as each particular type alternates between presence versus absence, I show that the various EPP types are in complementary distribution. I will also show that these different movements are also united in being somewhat mysterious or unexplained.