Calendar 2017

Fall term our regular meeting time is Friday 1-2:30 PM, and we will meet in room 117 in the Department of Linguistics at McGill (1085 Dr Penfield) (unless otherwise indicated). Please email Jurij Božič to be added to the email list, or if you wish to present some work.

All are welcome!

Please note, upcoming meetings below are subject to modification.

Date Discussion leader Topic Readings
Friday, January 13 Organisational meeting Discussion on the upcoming ACFAS workshop
Friday, January 20 All Head movement in syntax and morphology? Two handouts from the Workshop on the Status of Head Movement in Linguistic Theory (Stanford University, Sept. 16-17, 2016):

Gribanova, V. & Harizanov, B. (2016): Whither Head Movement

Harley, H. (2016): What Hiaki stem forms are really telling us

Friday, Feb. 3 All Head movement in syntax and morphology? Gribanova, V. & Harizanov, B. (2016): Whither Head Movement (the manuscript)
Friday, Feb. 10 Máire Noonan and Lisa Travis Revisiting Long Head movement
  • Borsley, R., M.-L. Rivero, and J. Stephens. 1996. Long head movement in Breton. In The syntax of the Celtic languages: A comparative perspective, R. D. Borsley and I. Roberts (eds), 53-74. CUP.
  • King, T. H. 1996. Slavic clitics, long head movement and prosodic inversion. Journal of Slavic Linguistics 4(1):274-311.
  • Rivero, M.-L. 1994. Clause structure and V-movement in the languages of the Balkans. NLLT 12: 62–120.
Friday, Feb. 17; 10:30-11:30 All Meeting with Boris Harizanov
    Note place & time change! Meeting is at McGill this week, room 117, at 10:30.
Friday, Feb. 24 Jurij Bozic and Lisa Travis
  • Non-local allomorphy in Kiowa;
  • Mirror Principle Violations in Navajo
  • Bonet, Eulàlila, & Daniel Harbour. 2012. Contextual allomorphy. In The morphology and phonology of exponence, Trommer, J. (ed), Oxford: OUP, pp. 195–235.
  • Harley, Heidi. 2010. Affixation and the Mirror Principle. In Interfaces in Linguistics: New Research Perspectives, Folli, R. & Ulbricht, C. (eds), Oxford: OUP, pp. 166– 186
Friday, March 3 No meeting (Study Break at UQAM and McGill)
Friday, March 10 Meeting cancelled
Friday, March 17 No meeting (Half of group at GLOW)
Friday, March 24 No meeting (MOT is happening at UQAM)
Friday, March 31 Peter Guekguezian (University of Southern California) Toward a Typology of Prosodic Word Structure Effects of Morphosyntactic Phases. Templates as the Interaction of Recursive Word Structure and Prosodic Well-formedness.

    (Ms. Univ. of Southern California).
Friday, April 7 Heather Goad and Lisa Travis DIFFERENT ROOM: DS-3459 The role of phonology in the Navajo Mirror Principle problem Harley, H. 2010. Affixation and the Mirror Principle. In R. Folli & C. Ullbricht (eds). Interfaces in Linguistics, Oxford:OUP, 166-186. 


Friday, April 28 Heather Goad and Lisa Travis The role of phonology in Mirror Principle violations: the case of Navajo & Chilcotin (continued)
Friday, May 12, 8h30-17h Colloque à l’Association francophone pour le savoir, ACFAS 85. Université McGill, Rutherford 114, 3600 rue University. Le mot : syntaxe, morphologie et phonologie Programme ici
Friday, Sept 15, 1-2:30  All members  Organizational meeting
Friday, Sept 22, 1-2:30  No meeting  Manitoba Person Workshop
 Friday, September 29, 1-2:30  Tom Leu  Déchaine and Wiltschko  ‘Decomposing Pronouns’ by R-M. Dechaine and M. Wiltschko (2002; Linguistic Inquiry 33(3), p.409-442)
Friday, October 6, 1-2:30  Lisa Travis  Malagasy augmented pronouns  Zribi-Hertz, Anne and Liliane Mbolatianavalona. 1999. Towards a modular theory of linguistic deficiency: Evidence from Malagasy personal pronouns. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 17: 161–218.
Friday, Oct 13, 1-2:30  Gabe Daitzchman  Ackema and Neeleman Ackema, Peter, and Neeleman, Ad. (2013). Person features and syncretism. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 31(4). 901-950
Friday, Oct 20, 1-2:30  Gabe Daitzchman  Daniel Harbour Harbour, Daniel. (2016). Impossible Persons. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Friday, Oct 27, 1-2:30  THE GROUP  Mini Workshop on Person Bring some data on complex pronominal systems to discuss!
Friday, Nov 3, 1-2:30  Tom Leu Debating morphemes and the lack thereof Some morphemes are more prevalent than is traditionally assumed, while others are less so. In this talk I will suggest that the definite article belongs to the former, while 3SG inflection belongs to the latter, essentially replacing the latter by the former, at least in some cases. More concretely: English verbal inflection is strange in having a 3SG -s which contrasts with zero in all other persons and which is absent in the past. The German 3SG verbal inflection -t is also strangely absent in the past. In fact, 3SG is strange in and of itself, if it is correct that 3rd person is really absence of person, and singular is really absence of number, i.e. 3SG is simply not. But if there is no such thing as 3SG, English -s and German -t cannot be strange variants of 3SG morphemes. In fact, I will discuss the possibility that they are, instead, a sort of present tense morphemes, anchoring the clause in the utterance situation. I will further suggest that there is some plausibility to the idea that they are variants of the definite article. If correct, there are two variants of the definite article in the clausal spine, one affixed to the finite verb and one in the left periphery. […]
Friday, Nov 10, 1-2:30  TBA  TBA TBA
Friday, Nov 17, 1-2:30   Tim O’Donnell Productivity and Reuse in Language A much-celebrated aspect of language is the way in which it allows us
to express and comprehend an unbounded number of thoughts. This
property is made possible because language consists of several
combinatorial systems which can be used to productively build novel
forms using a large inventory of stored, reusable parts: the lexicon.For any given language, however, there are many more potentially
storable units of structure than are actually used in practice —
each giving rise to many ways of forming novel expressions. For
example, English contains suffixes which are highly productive and
generalizable (e.g., -ness; Lady-Gagaesqueness, pine-scentedness) and
suffixes which can only be reused in specific words, and cannot be
generalized (e.g., -th; truth, width, warmth). How are such
differences in generalizability and reusability represented? What are
the basic, stored building blocks at each level of linguistic
structure? When is productive computation licensed and when is it not?
How can the child acquire these systems of knowledge?I will discuss a theoretical framework designed to address these
questions. The approach is based on the idea that the problem of
productivity and reuse can be solved by optimizing a tradeoff between
a pressure to store fewer, more reusable lexical items and a pressure
to account for each linguistic expression with as little computation
as possible. I will show how this approach addresses a number of
problems in English inflectional and derivational morphology, and
briefly discuss its applications to other domains of linguistic structure.
Friday, Nov 24, 1-2:30  Nico Baier Impoverishment and the internal organization of phi-features
Friday, Dec 1, 1-2:30  Máire Noonan The R in R-pronouns – a decompositional approach
Friday, Dec 8, 1-2:30 Tim O’Donnell
Inducing phonological rules: Perspectives from Bayesian program learning,
Kevin Ellis & Tim O’Donnell
How do linguists come up with phonological rules, how do kids learn artificial grammars, and how does one acquire pig latin? The solutions to these problems share a common representation, which we show can be modeled as a program, and the corresponding learning problems modeled as program induction. This framing lets us apply ideas from Bayesian Program Learning to induce grammars, which combines program synthesis techniques with a compression-based inductive bias. This lets the models capture phonological phenomena like vowel harmony or stress patterns and learn synthetic grammars used in prior studies of artificial grammar learning. Going beyond individual grammar learning problems, we consider the problem of jointly inferring many related rule systems. By solving many textbook phonology problems, we can ask the model what kind of inductive bias best explains the attested phenomena.