Welcome to the McGill Linguistic Fieldwork Lab! This semester (Fall 2018), Fieldwork Lab is meeting once a month in Linguistics Department room 117. You can find information about upcoming meetings 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 – Postdoc; Berber
  • Henrison Hsieh – PhD Student; Tagalog
  • Ben Oldham – BA student; Bantu
  • Clint Parker – PhD student; Pamir languages
  • Justin Royer – PhD student; Chuj
  • Karima Ouazar – Kabyle consultant
  • Matthieu Paillé – PhD student
  • 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
  • Paulina Elias – BA Student; Chuj
  • 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
  • Dejan Milacic – MA student 2017; Kabyle
  • 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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November Fieldwork Lab meeting, 11/1

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).

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Talk at UK Biennial of Contemporary Art in Liverpool

Last week I gave a talk on Arrival at the UK Biennial of Contemporary Art in Liverpool. This was the last of a series of ten public lectures the Biennial hosted from academics around the world.

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Justin Royer at NELS

Justin Royer presented a poster on Chuj nominal classifiers, “Domain restriction and noun classifiers in Chuj (Mayan)”, at the 49th Annual Meeting of the Northeast Linguistics Society (NELS 49) at Cornell University last week.

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Jessica in Calgary and St. John’s

Jessica gave two invited colloquium talks last month. She was at the University of Calgary where she gave a talk “Feature Gluttony and the Syntax of Hierarchy Effects” (collaborative work with Stefan Keine, draft paper now on LingBuzz). Later in September she traveled to Memorial University Newfoundland and presented “Deriving Verb-Initial Word Order in Mayan” (collaborative work with Lauren Clemens, recently published in the journal Language).

from a hike with Calgary linguists

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Fieldwork Lab at FAMLi V

Fieldwork Lab members of past and present were in Antigua Guatemala last week for the 5th meeting of Form and Analysis in Mayan Linguistics (FAMLi V). Jessica gave a plenary talk titled ‘Construyendo verbos en chuj y ch’ol.’ Other talks and posters were:

  • Scott AnderBois, Oscar Chan Dzul, Jessica Coon, and Juan Jesús Vázquez Álvarez – Free relatives in Ch’ol and Yucatec Maya and the typology of headless relative clauses
  • Paulina Elias (BA ’18) – El rol de los direccionales en construcciones posicionales y locativas en Chu
  • Cora Lesure (BA ’15) – Chuj glottalized vowels across contexts
  • Carol-Rose Little (BA ’12) & Morelia Vázquez Martínez (RA) – La distribución e interpretación de sustantivos en el Ch’ol: Un estudio práctico de corpus
  • Justin Royer (PhD) – Las configuraciones referenciales en Chuj
  • Justin Royer (PhD) & Luis Alonso-Ovalle – La expresión de la modalidad de decisión arbitraria en Chuj

Morelia, Justin, Cora, Paulina, Robert, Jessica, and Carol-Rose

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Jessica Coon and Justin Royer at Headless Relative Clauses workshop

Jessica Coon and Justin Royer participated in workshop 2 of the Headless Relative Clauses in Mesoamerican Languages project, organized by Ivano Caponigro, Harold Torrence, and Roberto Zavala. The second workshop took place May 28th–June 1st at CIESAS-Sureste in San Cristóbal de las Casas, and focused on presentations of the fieldwork carried out since the first workshop.

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Ch’ol transcription workshop

Members of the National Geographic-funded Ch’ol documentation project convened June 7th and 8th at CIESAS-Sureste in San Cristóbal de las Casas for a workshop focused on file management and transcription, organized by Juan Jesús Vázquez Álvarez and Jessica Coon, and with ELAN and audio file editing tutorials by Justin Royer and Sandra Cruz Gómez.

the group at work transcribing

Groups traveled from Oxolotán Tabasco (led by Nicolás Arcos López) and Yajalón, Chiapas (led by Bernabé Vázquez Sánchez). Altogether, they had collected more than 30 hours of Ch’ol recordings during the first phase of the project (see Workshop 1, here). During phase 2, they will select their favorite narratives to transcribe and translate. At the end, all materials will be uploaded to the Archive of Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA).

Workshop 2 participants, back row: Bernabé Vázquez Sánchez, Juan Jesús Vázquez Álvarez, Sandra Cruz Gómez, Nicolás Arcos López, Félix López López, Jessica Coon, Justin Royer, Morelia Vázquez Martínez Front row: Patricia López Vázquez, Nilda Gúzman López, Lourdes Méndez Sánchez, Matilde Vázquez Vázquez

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McGill Symposium on the Role of the University in Supporting Indigenous Languages

symposium participants, day 2 in Kahnawá:ke

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by | May 13, 2018 · 3:07 pm

Fieldwork Lab at SULA 10

Paulina Elias presented her work on Chuj at the 10th meeting of Semantics of Under-reprented Languages of the Americas (SULA 10), which took place last weekend at the University of Toronto. The title of her poster was “Stage-level Positionals and Locatives in Chuj”.

Carol-Rose Little (McGill BA ’12), now a PhD student at Cornell University, was an invited speaker. Her talk was “Possessed Numerals in Ch’ol”.

Carol-Rose and Paulina at SULA

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Royer and Torres in Guatemala

PhD student Justin Royer is in Guatemala with Fieldwork Lab Chuj consultant Magdalena Torres. Here they are, together with Magdalena’s husband Mateo Pablo in Petanak. Mateo Pablo is one of few survivors of the massacre that took place in this community in 1982––one of many massacre against Maya communities by the military during the war. His experiences are the subject of the documentary film Haunted Land, by Montreal-based film-maker Mary Ellen Davis.

Magda, Mateo, and Justin in Petanak

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