Disclaimer / Avis de non-responsabilité

Archive for the ‘Talks’ Category

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”,

Department Colloquium Talks

Our regular speakers series this semester will include the following:

September 23, 4pm, SIM 129
Andrew Nevins (UCL)
Oct 9, 2:30pm, ART 509
Adam Ussishkin (University of Arizona)
Oct 21, 2:30pm, SIM 129
Denis Bouchard (UQAM)
Nov 11, 2:30pm, SIM 129
Rena Torres Cacoullos (Pennsylvania State University)
Dec 2, 2:30pm, ART 420
Raj Singh (Carleton)

(Thanks Dennis!)

Shana Poplack receives Order of Canada

Shana Poplack has received the Order of Canada medal from the Governor General in a ceremony that took place on February 13 at Rideau Hall. Congratulations!

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

Recent talks by Shana Poplack

Shana was invited to give a talk to NSERC and SSHRC employees on January 23rd as part of their Lunch-and-learn sessions series.  The results that grammarians don’t agree on what is “correct” and that there is such a large disconnect between prescribed usage and everyday speech (and especially that the former is far more regular than the latter) surprised many of those in attendance, and the question period extended well beyond the scheduled time.  The take-home messages were so well received that we’ve since learned that some departments now allow employees to strand their prepositions in their written French communications “because Shana said it was OK”.

Shana presented a talk entitled “Mythes et science: the ideology of “Standard” French” at the Annual general meeting of the Royal Society of Canada. This “Big Thinking Lecture” was held in a ballroom of the Château Frontenac in Quebec City.  See great photos (and the amazing venue) here:



Laura Sabourin at McMaster


Laura Sabourin has given TWO invited lectures at the Cognitive Science of Language Lecture Series at the University of McMaster on March 4th. You will find information about the talks here:


The abstracts of Laura’s talks are below:

Language Processing in Bilinguals: Evidence from Lexical Organization and Cognitive Control

Laura Sabourin, University of Ottawa

Much of the current research in my lab is aimed at determining the effects of age of immersion (AoI), manner of acquisition (MoA), and proficiency on how bilinguals (and language learners) process language. Initial research data at the lexical level shows that, for native speakers of English with L2 French, an early AoI is required for lexicons to become integrated (Sabourin et al., 2014a). However, in a preliminary follow-up study looking at native French speakers with L2 English, it appears that even a late age of L2 immersion can result in integrated lexicons if the MoA is more naturalistic (Sabourin et al., 2014b). Previous research on cognitive control in bilinguals has not always shown a bilingual advantage (Costa et al., 2009), and its existence has been debated (Paap & Greenberg, 2013). In our investigations aimed at accounting for the conflicting results found in the literature (Sabourin & Vinerte, 2014), we investigated participant grouping and task difficulty effects on the Stroop task (which measures cognitive control). While we find no differences between simultaneous and early sequential bilinguals, age groups traditionally both classified as “early” bilinguals, when the task uses only one language, we find a significant difference between the two groups when the task mixes both languages. Based on the data collected to date in our lab (including studies at other levels of linguistic processing), I hypothesize that while for many bilingual and language learning groups AoI is often the most important factor in determining how languages are processed, there is an important role for factors such as MoA and the context of bilingualism.


Determining Different Types of Bilingualism

Laura Sabourin
with Myriam Lapierre, Michele Burkholder, Jean-Christophe Leclerc & Christie Brien

Conflicting evidence seems to be the norm when it comes to research findings on bilingual language processing. It is likely that the inconsistent findings are due to the nature of different types of bilingualism. We need to know the language background of participants who are tested in bilingual studies and while there are currently many language background questionnaires (e.g., the LEAP-Q, Marian et al., 2007), we have found that none of the existing questionnaires is adequate for eliciting information about aspects of bilingualism that are specific to participants tested in a Canadian context. I will present my lab’s attempt at creating an adequate language background questionnaire for our participants. I will focus on some of the issues we have come across and some of our preliminary solutions. Discussion and comments are greatly welcome!



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:



Bilingual Workshop in Theoretical Linguistics and Ottawa Conference for Linguistics Undergraduates

The Bilingual Workshop in Theoretical Linguistics and the Ottawa Conference for Linguistics Undergraduates, took place at the University of Ottawa on November 28th and 29th.

Talks from uOttawa linguistics members:

  • Kathleen Strader: How French is the Michif determiner phrase?
  • Kate Riccominni: Inserting the right v: Transitive v versus pure verbaliser v in Ojibwe
  • Brandon Fry & Éric Mathieu: Long-distance agreement and de re belief in Ojibwe
  • Myriam Lapierre: Vowels of Mebengokre
  • Kyumin Kim: Variation in the syntax of non-core arguments: PP, ApplP, and pP
  • Jérémy Beauchamp: Une description sémantique des constructions locatives en mebengokre
  • Daiho Kitaoka: An applicative analysis of the major subject construction in Japanese
  • Gita Zareikar & Paul Melchin: On plural marking in Persian













Recent presentations (December 2014)

Here are some recent presentations from members of our department:

  • Stephen Levey October 17th  Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Language, Migration and Identity, Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, Omagh, Northern Ireland. Stephen Levey presented a paper: ” Acquiring Linguistic Variation in the New and the Old World: The Difference that Place Makes”
  • Stephen Levey, Rebecca MacIntyre & Emily Sullivan December 4th Variation in Language Acquisition 2, Grenoble, France Stephen Levey presented a paper entitled: “Visiting Transatlantic Relatives: A Variationist Perspective on the Acquisition of Syntactic Complexity”
  • Valenzuela, E. Klassen, R., Borg, K. & Zamuner, T.S. (2014, November). Parsing strategies in code-switched relative clause constructions: An eye-tracking study. Paper presented at the 39th Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston, MA.
  • Zamuner, T.S., Weinhold, M., & Strahm, S. (2014, November). Phoneme age-of-acquisition effects on phonological priming. Poster presented at the 39th Boston University Conference on Language Development, Boston, MA.
  • Elena Valenzuela, Tania Zamuner, Rachel Klassen & Kristina Borg, Processing of code-switched relative clause constructions: An eye-tracking study. Poster presented at the Hispanic Linguistics Symposium, November 13-16, 2014 at Purdue University.

R and Growth Curve Analyses Workshop

On Dec. 9th, there was a Workshop on R and Growth Curve Analyses, organized by Chris Fennell & Tania Zamuner.

Invited speakers:Brock Ferguson (Northwestern University) & Helen Buckler (University of Toronto)

The workshop attended by professors and students from uOttawa, Carleton, McGill, University of Toronto, UQAM, University of Waterloo and Concordia.


Recent presentations (November 2014)

Here are some recent presentations from members of our department:

  • Vinerte, S., & Sabourin, L. (September 2014). The earlier, the better? Bilingual cognitive control and Age of Acquisition. Poster presented at Architectures and Mechanisms for Language Processing, Edinburgh, U.K.
  • Brandon gave a talk entitled “Free Merge and minimality” at the 38th Annual meeting of the Atlantic Provinces Linguistic Association (APLA) at the University of New Brunswick Fredericton in Fredericton, New Brunswick on November 1st.
  • Shana will present the Big thinking lecture at the annual general meeting of the Royal Society of Canada in Québec City on November 21st.

9th Slavic Linguistics Society Annual Conference was at the University of Washington from September 19-21, 2014.

  • Andrew McKishnie & Paul B. Melchin presented “Extensions of the Primeval Genitive: A reply to Pesetsky (2013)”
  • Vesela Simeonova presented “Four Different Evidentials in Bulgarian”

46th Algonquian Conference at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut from October 23rd to October 26th.

  • Brandon Fry and Éric Mathieu: The morphosyntax and semantics of long-distance agreement in Algonquin Ojibwe
  • Kathleen Strader: Function and position of Michif determiners
  • Kyumin Kim and Elizabeth Ritter: Cheyenne and the typology of person features
  • Kyumin Kim: Animacy and transitive alternation in Blackfoot

Socio Lab at NWAV 43!

This year’s NWAV (New Ways of Analyzing Variation) conference was held in Chicago from October 23-26. Sociolinguistics at uOttawa was very well represented.
  • Shana and Nath also gave a pre-conference workshop entitled “A variationist approach to language contact”.
  • An exception to the rule? Lone French nouns in Tunisian Arabic (Shana Poplack, Lotfi Sayahi [SUNY Albany], Nahed Mourad & Nathalie Dion)
  • Future temporal reference in New Brunswick Acadian French (Mélissa Chiasson-Léger)
  • Mixed-effects models and unbalanced sociolinguistic data: The need for caution (Joseph Roy & Stephen Levey

Ottawa Socio Lab (then and now) at NWAV 43

Bill Labov meets Socio Lab at NWAV 43

Department Colloquium

Our first colloquium of the year took place on Wednesday Oct. 22nd. Daniel Siddiqi (School of Linguistics and Language Studies, Carleton) with Jason D. Haugen presented On Monolistemicity and Post-Linearization Spanning.


The next colloquium will be held this Friday November 7th at 2:30pm, Room 509 Arts. Dr. Vincent Gracco, from McGill University’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, will be presenting.

Some observations on the consequences of age of acquisition on the bilingual brain

It has been shown that developing exceptional language, motor and musical skill early in life leads to durable changes in the brain.  Bilingualism has added neurodevelopmental benefits by enhancing cognitive function in children and adults and may forestall the onset of dementia in the elderly. An issue of theoretical as well as psychosocial and educational importance is to what extent the benefits and associated brain changes related to second language acquisition is dependent on the age of acquisition. We are using neuroimaging techniques to address this issue. The overall focus of the research is to isolate the effect of age of acquisition on brain structure and function when second language proficiency is minimally different. Here I will present some recent data highlighting some of the functional and structural brain differences between highly proficient simultaneous bilinguals (two languages acquired from birth), highly proficient sequential bilinguals (second language learned after age 5), and monolinguals while speaking in the scanner. In addition, I will provide an overview of our future plans to incorporate more detailed behavioral and physiological techniques to obtain a more complete understanding of the potential benefits associated with early second language learning.