Current and past members of the Fieldwork Lab spent this past weekend in New Orleans for the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Linguistics Society of America. Presentations by current McGill affiliates included:
- Carol-Rose Little (Cornell University), Mary Moroney (Cornell University), Justin Royer (McGill University) – Classifying classifiers: Two kinds of numeral classifiers across languages
- Michaela Socolof – Cyclic Spell-out and impoverishment in Georgian
Morelia Vázquez (Ch’ol consultant/RA); Jessica Coon; Carol-Rose Little (BA ’12); Nico Baier (course lecturer/post-doc ’17–’19); Colin Brown (MA ’16), Jeffrey LaMontagne; Justin Royer; Lydia Felice (BA ’17); Michaela Socolof
Jessica Coon received the LSA’s 2020 Linguistics, Language, and the Public award.
A recent McGill news article spotlighted Indigenous languages and the need for universities to act as allies to ongoing efforts in communities. The article features discussion with Janine Metallic, Kahtehrón:ni Stacey, and Jessica Coon, and is available here: https://giving.mcgill.ca/all-stories/bringing-indigenous-languages-back-life
This semester regular Fieldwork Group meetings will take place at UQAM, roughly one Friday per month, organized by Matthew Schuurman. The first meeting will be next week Friday, Oct 11th at 11:00a.m.-12:30p.m. in DS-3470 at UQAM. All are welcome!
The Fieldwork Lab will meet Thursday November 1 from 4:00–5:30 in Linguistics room 117. This week we will hear short presentations on data elicitation and data gathering puzzles, with presentations by Natalia Brambatti Guzzo (on a phonological experiment in Southern Brazilian Portuguese), Henrison Hsieh (on Tagalog relative clauses), Matthew Schuurman (on Inuktitut coordination), and Michaela Socolof (on correlative clauses in Georgian).
The Oxford Handbook of Ergativity
Louisa Bielig’s 2015 BA Honours thesis, “Classifiers and constraints in Chuj topic constructions”, is now available for download here: [PDF]. Louisa finished her BA in 2015 and was awarded McGill’s Cremona Memorial Prize in linguistics for her research on Chuj.
Abstract: Like many other Mayan languages, Chuj, a language of the Q’anjob’alan branch, exhibits syntactic ergativity in the form of an extraction asymmetry. The A’-extraction of transitive subjects (ergative arguments) requires the use of a special construction, known as Agent Focus. However, preverbal ergative subjects without Agent Focus are permitted in topic constructions, where a corresponding nominal classifier, which I refer to as a resumptive classifier, appears post-verbally. Transitive and intransitive preverbal subjects can appear as topics with resumptive classifiers, while preverbal object topics are strongly dispreferred.
In this paper I propose that the preverbal subject in this construction has not been fronted, as is the case in Agent Focus. I argue that it has instead been base-generated in an external topic position and is co-indexed with the resumptive classifier below, following Aissen’s (1992) account of Tsotsil and Popti’ (Jakaltek) external topics. I will employ Aissen’s diagnostics and other tests to show that these topics are not compatible with a movement account, supporting the high base generation analysis. Subsequently, I will present two constraints on the external topic construction, which explain the strong dispreference of object topics.