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Last colloquium of the semester: Raj Singh

Everyone is welcome to the last colloquium of the semester, which will be given by Raj Singh (http://http-server.carleton.ca/~singhr/)

Time/location: Wednesday, Dec. 2 at 2:30pm in Hamelin/Arts 420

A reception will follow in Salon Monet.


Raj Singh (Carleton University)
“Conjunctive scalar implicatures”

It is well-known that disjunctive sentences “A or B” are ambiguous between an inclusive and exclusive disjunction. Recent work has discovered populations in which “A or B” is ambiguous between an inclusive disjunction and a conjunction. These populations include speakers of Warlpiri and American Sign Language (ASL), as well as English, French, and Japanese preschool children. So-called `free-choice’ inferences also show that the ambiguity is available in adult speakers of English as well. In all attested cases of this ambiguity,  the conjunctive reading is overwhelmingly preferred over the disjunctive reading. This is not true with the more familiar inclusive/exclusive ambiguity.

This talk will review some of these findings, some of which come from our lab. We will argue that the conjunctive reading, when it’s available, is the result of a scalar implicature. However, this implicature differs from other implicatures in many ways: not only is the implicature strongly preferred, it is also acquired in the child earlier, it is faster to process, and it is easier to detect in embedded positions. We propose to derive the contrast from consideration of the pragmatics of questions and answers.


Shana Poplack: traveling sociolinguist

Shana has recently given a number of plenary talks. Here are some details:

Normes en conflit: L’école, la communauté et l’idéologie normative. Colloque international VocUM 2. Université de Montréal. November 18.

Confronting theory with fact: Language mixing on the ground. ‘Linguistics Talks at Western’ speaker series/Bilingual Workshop in Theoretical Linguistics (BWTL) 18. University of Western Ontario. November 20.

The sharp divide between single- and multi-word code-mixing: Evidence from the ground. Potsdam Research Institute for Multilingualism (PRIM), University of Potsdam (Germany). November 25-27.

The empirical study of spontaneous language mixing. Workshop. Centre for General Linguistics (ZAS). Berlin. November 25-27.

NELS at Concordia

This year NELS took place at Concordia University in October. You can find the conference info here: http://linguistics.concordia.ca/nels46/program/

Eric Mathieu and Gita Zareikar presented the poster Plurality and measure words: classifying versus counting. Many department members travelled to Montreal to participate in the conference. Here is the picture:


NWAV report

This year’s NWAV took place at Toronto in October. You can find information about the conference here: http://linguistics.utoronto.ca/nwav44/

Shana Poplack delivered a plenary: Pursuing symmetry by eradicating variability. (abstract here) Other Department members also made presentations:

Laura Kastronic:

When variables intersect: The interplay of the expression of the subjunctive mood and necessity in two varieties of French.

Shana Poplack, Rena Torres Cacoullos, Rosane de Andrade Berlinck, Salvatore Digesto, Nathalie Dion, Dora LaCasse and Johnathan Steuck:

Using variability to measure grammaticalization: A pan-Romance study of the subjunctive

Here is a picture from the conference:

More research news (Lyra Maglaughlin, Myriam Lapierre, Gita Zareikar and Andrés Salanova)

Lyra in the Journal of Phonetics!

Lyra Magloughli’s article “Accounting for variability in North American English /ɹ/: Evidence from children’s articulation” has been published in the Journal of Phonetics. Congratulations Lyra!


Myriam goes to the 2015 Annual Meeting on Phonology (Vancouver October 2015):

Myriam Lapierre presented the poster An acoustic and theoretical analysis of the nasal vowels of Mẽbêngôkre and Panará at AMP 2015.

Congratulations Myriam!

Gita and Andrés at “Turkish, Turkic, and the languages of Turkey”
Gita Zareikar and Andrés Salanova presented the paper “Aspect and evidentiality in Azeri” at the conference “Turkish, Turkic, and the languages of Turkey” held at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst on November 2015. Congratulations!

Gender, class and determination conference

The Gender, Class and Determination Conference took place on September 18-20 at the Novotel, in Ottawa. The organizers were Éric Mathieu, Gita Zareikar and Myriam Dali. It was an exciting conference with many wonderful speakers. You can find more information about the event here: http://artsites.uottawa.ca/gender/. The presenters from our Department were:

Gita Zareikar: Noun classification in Azeri (oral presentation)

Éric Mathieu & Myriam Dali: The role of gender in Arabic (oral presentation)

Karim Achab: A unified morphosyntactic approach of gender and class across languages (oral presentation)

Paul Melchin (University of Ottawa) (joint work with Kyumin Kim (Cheongju University)) Plural, classifier, and the role of division in a classifier language (Poster presentation)

Kathleen Strader (University of Ottawa) Gender in Michif

Jumanah Abusulaiman (University of Ottawa) Hag-possessum agreement in Free State construction in Makkan Arabic

You can find more info from the conference, live, in twitter: https://twitter.com/hashtag/genling?src=hash

NWAV coming up!

New Ways of Analysing Variation 44 is coming up, starting October 22. You will find the conference website here:


Shana Poplack will be giving an invited talk with title “Pursuing symmetry by eradicating variability”. You can find the abstract here: http://linguistics.utoronto.ca/nwav44/invited.html

In addition, Laura Kastronic will present “When’variables’intersect:’The’interplay’ of’the’expression’of’the’subjunctive’ mood’and’necessity’in’two’varieties’of’ French”; Shana Poplack, Rena Torres Cacoullos,Rosane De Andrade Berlinck, Salvatore Digesto, Nathalie Dion, Dora Lacasse & Jonathan Steuck will present “Using variability to measure grammaticalizatio: A pan-Romance study of the subjunctive”

Algonquian Conference

The 47th Algonquian Conference will take place in Manitoba October 22-25. You can find the conference website here:


Brandon Fry will present “Conjunct and independent VTA theme signs in Ojibwe: a difference in feature inheritance”, Daiho Kitaoka and Kathleen Strader all present “Discontinuous DPs in Michif: preverbal focus position”, Eric Mathieu will present “On the status of gender in Algonquian”, Eric Mathieu and Kathleen Strader will present “On gender in Michif”, and  Kate Riccomini will present “Structure and agreement in Ojibwe transitive verbs”,

MO(L)T Phonology Workshop

This year’s annual meeting of the Montreal-Ottawa-Laval-Toronto phonology workshop was hosted by the University of Toronto on March 13. You will find information about the conference program here:


Max Papillon from our department presented a paper with title: “Two types of null exponents: locality and serialization” (abstract). Congratulations!


Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Hamilton Syntax Workshop

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Ottawa is pleased to announce the 2015 meeting of the Montréal-Ottawa-Toronto-Hamilton Syntax Workshop (MOTH 2015) from March 28 to 29.

You will find information about the workshop here:

The annual workshop is a great opportunity to find out about work on syntax from students and profs in the area, as well as from some far-away visitors.

Invited Speaker:

Jessica Coon (McGill University)

Everyone is welcome!

Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal workshop in semantics

The 8th annual TOM Workshop in semantics will take place on April 11 2015 at Carleton University. You will find information about the conference here:


TOM is an annual meeting bringing together students and profs working in semantics in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. This year the invited speakers will be:

Dr. Lisa Matthewson (UBC)

Dr. Dana Isac (Concordia)

Dr. Daphna Heller (University of Toronto).

Registration is free, but participants are encouraged to register online to allow the organizers to … organize breakfast and lunch (provided). Participants are also welcome to attend a conference dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Everyone is welcome!

Eric Mathieu at Leipzig

Eric Mathieu presented a talk at the DFGS workshop “What drives syntactic computation?: Alternatives to formal features”. You can find information about the workshop here:


Eric’s talk was titled: “The wh parameter and radical externalization.” Here is the full program: http://amor.cms.hu-berlin.de/~ottdenni/alternatives/program.html

Marisa Rivero, Ana Arregui and Nikolay Slavkov in Vancouver

Marisa Rivero, Ana Arregui and Nikolay Slavkov will be presenting their paper “Grammaticalizing the size of situations: the case of Bulgarian” at the West Coast Conference of Formal Linguistics, hosted by Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, on March 27-29 2015. You can find the program here:



Recent presentations

Once again, we’ve been out spreading the word across the globe. In the last few weeks:

  • Nicté Fuller-Medina presented “The syntax of [hacer + V]: Haciendo borrow in Belizean Spanish” at October’s Hispanic Linguistics Symposium here in Ottawa.
  • Laura Sabourin, Christie Brien, Aysegul Kutlu, and Michele Burkholder attended the International Conference on Multilingualism (Montreal, October 24–5) and presented “Age of acquisition and the bilingual lexicon: Behavioural and neurophysiological approaches”
  • Andrew McKishnie travelled to Moscow this October, to present a synopsis of his UVic MA thesis on secondary predicates in three Slavic languages. Here’s an action shot:
  • Félix Desmeules-Trudel presented “Perception of Quebec French nasal vowels by Brazilian learners: Acoustic and perceptual factors” at the 37th meeting of the Atlantic Provinces Linguistic Association (November 1–2; Moncton, NB).
  • Our syntacticians more or less took over the Bilingual Workshop on Theoretical Linguistics (Waterloo, ON; December 6), with oral presentations by Ekab AlShawashreh, Eric Mathieu (solo and with Brandon Fry), Paul Melchin, and Gita Zareikar; and posters by Brandon Fry and Nova Starr, as well as a further presentation by Ottawa U alumna Cassandra Chapman (now at McMaster). Here are some pictures (thanks: Nova Starr):

NWAV postmortem

As reported last issue we had several talks at this year’s NWAV. Back in Ottawa, the sociolinguistics lab put on a repeat performance for those of us who couldn’t make it to Pittsburgh. Photos below.