Welcome to the McGill Linguistic Fieldwork Lab! This semester (Fall 2017), Fieldwork Lab is meeting alternate weeks with the Syntax group, Fridays at 10:00am in Linguistics Department room 117. You can find information about this week’s meeting on McLing, or contact me for details.

Currently there is active research by students and other group members on Bobangi (Bantu), Kabyle (Amazigh), Mi’gmaq (Eastern Algonquian), Chuj (Mayan), Ch’ol (Mayan), Shughni (Pamir), and Tagalog (Austronesian). Scroll down for current news and events and contact me if you’d like to get involved.

Many of these projects have grown out of Field Methods classes taught at McGill:


Who's involved
  • Nico Baier – Faculty lecturer; Berber
  • Paulina Elias – BA Student; Chuj
  • Henrison Hsieh – PhD Student; Ergativity Lab, Tagalog
  • Dejan Milacic – MA student; Kabyle
  • Ben Oldham – BA student; Mayan
  • Clint Parker – PhD student; Ergativity Lab; Chuj; Pamir
  • Justin Royer – PhD student; Chuj
  • Karima Ouazar – Kabyle consultant
  • Matthieu Paillé – PhD student; Algonquian
  • Magdalena Torres – Chuj consultant
  |   Connections   |   Former members
  • Carolyn Anderson – Fulbright Fellow 2015; Mi’gmaq Research Partnership
  • Louisa Bielig – BA 2015; Chuj morphosyntax, Ergativity Lab
  • Colin Brown – MA 2016; Gitskan
  • Lizzie Carolan – BA 2014; Chuj Lab Manager; Chuj, tense and aspect
  • Lauren Clemens – Postdoctoral Fellow 2014–2015; Chol prosody
  • Richard Compton – Postdoctoral Fellow 2013–2014; Inuktitut & Mi’gmaq Research Partnership
  • Michael Erlewine – Postdoctoral Fellow 2014–2015; Ergativity Lab, Chuj, Tibetan
  • Nadia Famularo – BA 2015; Tibetan
  • Lydia Felice  – BA Honours 2017; Student; Kabyle
  • Douglas Gordon – BA 2016; Mi’gmaq Research Partnership
  • Michael Hamilton – PhD 2015; Mi’gmaq Research Partnership
  • Robert Henderson – Postdoctoral Fellow 2012–2013; Mayan
  • Liwen Hou – BA Honours 2013; Chuj syntax
  • Hadas Kotek – Postdoctoral Research fellow; Chuj, Tibetan
  • Cora LeSure – BA Honours 2015; Ch’ol prosody, Chuj
  • Carol Little – BA Honours 2012; Mi’gmaq Research Partnership
  • Yuliya Manyakina – MA 2015; Mi’gmaq Research Partnership
  • Madeleine Mees – BA 2015; Mi’gmaq Research Partnership, Tibetan
  • Janine Metallic – PhD Education; Mi’gmaq Research Partnership, Mi’gmaq consultant
  • Sarah Mihuc – BA Honours 2017; Kabyle, Chuj
  • Elise McClay – BA Honours 2012; Mi’gmaq Research Partnership
  • Gretchen McCulloch – MA 2013; Mi’gmaq Research Partnership
  • Martha Schwarz – MA 2017; Nepali, Kabyle
  • Joyce Xiao – BA 2015; Chuj research
  • Tashi Wangyal – Filmmaker; Tibetan speaker




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McGill Symposium on the University’s Role in Supporting Indigenous Languages

I’m happy to announce an upcoming event co-orgnanized this year with a team from OFNIE in Education. Please save the date!

McGill Symposium on the University’s Role in Supporting Indigenous Languages (May 10 – 11, 2018)

In response to Call to Action #34 of the Final Report of McGill’s Task Force on Indigenous Education and Indigenous Studies, onMay 10th and 11th, the Department of Linguistics and the Office of First Nations and Inuit Education are jointly hosting a symposium examining the role of the university in Indigenous language maintenance and revitalization. Organized with the support of the Kanien’keháka Onkwawén:na Raotitióhkwa Language and Cultural Centre, McGill Faculties of Arts and Education, the McGill Indigenous Studies Program, and McGill’s Institute for the Study of International Development, the purpose of this Symposium is to (a) signal McGill’s commitment to Indigenous languages in this province and (b) examine more closely what role the University should play in supporting the health of Indigenous languages, locally and regionally. The Symposium will involve both closed-door and public sessions with the goals of establishing a broad consultative body on this question and developing a concrete plan of action for McGill to pursue. Special invitees include Indigenous language teachers, scholars, and university program directors from across Canada:

  • Mary Bear (Cree School Board)
  • Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins (University of Victoria)
  • Ryan DeCaire (Onkwawén:na Kentyohkwa, University of Toronto)
  • Gabrielle Doreen (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, McGill University)
  • Ellen Gabriel (Kanehsatà:ke Education Center)
  • Megan Lukaniec (Huron-Wendat Nation, UC Santa Barbara)
  • Brian Maracle (Onkwawenna Kentyohkwa)
  • Akwiratékha’ Martin (Kahnawà:ke Education Center)
  • Onowa McIvor (nehiyaw Nation, University of Victoria)
  • Mary Ann Metallic (Listuguj Education Directorate)
  • Rita Novalinga (Kativik Ilisarniliriniq)
  • Keren Rice (University of Toronto)
  • Kahtehrón:ni Stacey (Kahnawà:ke Education Center, McGill University)
  • Mark Turin (University of British Columbia)

All those interested in learning more about this topic and advancing McGill’s response to this issue are asked to save the following date, May 10th from 1:30pm to 5:00pm in the Jack Cram Auditorium (EDUC-129), for a Public Forum. The schedule of activities include an opening Keynote from Kanien’kehá:ka Language teacher and McGill PhD Student Kahtehró:nni Iris Stacey, three panel presentations from our invited experts, and public discussion.

Those interested in attending are asked to please register here: https://goo.gl/forms/djIv5RBV9bsr481E3

Please follow the facebook event page here for ongoing updates: https://www.facebook.com/events/1886367051693868/

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National Geographic Explorers grant for Ch’ol project

I’m happy to report I received funding from the National Geographic Explorers program to support work research and documentation work during my sabbatical here in Chiapas. The project title is “Documenting word order variation in Mayan languages: A collection of Ch’ol narratives”, and involves collaborators Juan Jesús Vázquez Álvarez (UNAM-CIMSUR), Nicolás Arcos López (Universidad Intercultural de Tabasco), Lauren Clemens (SUNY Albany), John Haviland (UCSD), and Roberto Zavala Maldonado (CIESAS-Sureste).

The trilingual project webpage is up and running at www.chol.lingspace.org. We’ll be updating the page with info on upcoming training workshops, Ch’ol video and audio files, and blog posts from Ch’ol student trainees.

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Paulina Elias at McGill Arts Undergraduate Research Event

Paulina Elias presented the results of her summer research internship on Chuj January 18th at the McGill 8th Annual Faculty of Arts Undergraduate Research EventPaulina summer work was funded by an ARIA award and included research on adjectives in Chuj, as well as preparation of Chuj narratives for submission in the Archive of Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA).

Paulina presenting her poster

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Filed under Presentations, Student news

Relative clause workshop in Mexico

I spent last week at the first workshop on The Morphosyntax and Semantics of Headless Relative Clauses in Mesoamerican Languages, at the Centro de Investigaciones y Estudios Superiores en Antropología Social (CIESAS), in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico. I’ll head back to CIESAS in January, where I’ll spend the second half of my sabbatical as a visiting researcher.

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Chuj lab members Paulina Elias and Justin Royer traveled to Toronto to present their work on Chuj at the first Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal Indigenous Languages of Latin America (TOMILLA) workshop at the University of Toronto. Paulina’s talk was “Positionals and directionals in Chuj” and Justin’s was “Noun classifiers, (in)definiteness, and pronouns in Chuj”.

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Chuj collection available on AILLA

The collection of Chuj narratives that the Chuj team here as been working on together with Pedro Mateo Pedro has just been published to the Archive of Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA), and is available here. Special thanks to Paulina Elias for a lot of recent work organizing and updating the files, and to the team at AILLA for getting everything online!

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CILLA VIII in Austin

Current and former McGill Fieldwork Lab members at the University of Texas at Austin for the 8th Conference on Indigenous Languages of Latin America (CILLA VIII). Justin Royer’s talk is titled “Sistemas de clasificación nominal en chuj (maya)”. Jessica will give a plenary talk, presenting joint work with Lauren Clemens (SUNY Albany), titled “Verb initial word order in Mayan: Causes and consequences.”

Justin Royer, Lauren Clemens (post-doc 2014–2015), Jessica Coon, Robert Henderson (post-doc 2012–2013)

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Paulina Elias at SEURA Symposium

Linguistics undergrad and Fieldwork Lab member Paulina Elias was one of the first SEURA (Social Equity Undergraduate Research Award) recipients during this award’s first year at McGill. Paulina’s research project this past summer focused on the documentation of Chuj, a Mayan language spoken in Guatemala and by speakers here in Montreal, and was supervised by Jessica Coon. Last week they attended the SEURA Symposium, where they participated in a discussion panel that centred around social equity in research. Congrats Paulina!


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Filed under Events, In the news, Student news

Review of Chol (Mayan) Folktales published in IJAL

Juan Jesús Vázquez Álvarez (CIMSUR) and I recently wrote a review of the book Chol (Mayan) Folktales: A Collection of Stories from the Modern Maya of Southern Mexico (Hopkins, Josserand, and Cruz Gúzman), which was published today in the International Journal of American Linguistics (IJAL). 

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Sarah Mihuc in Yale News

Recent graduate Sarah Mihuc spent part of her summer at the Yale Grammar Bootcamp led by Claire Bowern, and recently made an appearance in Yale News

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