Welcome to the McGill Linguistic Fieldwork Lab! Currently there is active research by students and other group members on Kabyle (Amazigh), Chuj (Mayan), Ch’ol (Mayan), Malay (Austronesian), Shughni (Pamir), Georgian (Kartvelian), and Ktunaxa. 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:
For postdoc Carol Rose Little‘s Winter 2021 LING 215 “Languages of the World” course, each student picked a language to work with throughout the semester. At the end of the semester, they created final projects on an aspect of their language. You can take a look at some previews of their final projects here:
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A paper by Justin Royer, Pedro Mateo Pedro (U. Toronto), Elizabeth Carolan (BA ’14), Jessica Coon, and Magdalena Torres has been accepted for publication in Tlalocan, a journal that specializes on the documentation of texts and narratives from Indigenous languages of Mesoamerica. The paper is entitled “Atz’am k’ik’ atz’am: The story of Xuwan and a grammatical sketch of Chuj”, and is available on LingBuzz: https://ling.auf.net/lingbuzz/005630
Abstract: This article and text provide a new take on the San Mateo saltwater sources from the perspective of Xuwan, a San Mateo resident who for her entire life has been working in the extraction, production, and merchandising of atz’am k’ik’ atz’am ‘the black salt’, a culturally-valued good which forms a quintessential aspect of Chuj life and culture. In addition to recounting her experiences with black salt, Xuwan comments on several other aspects of Chuj life, both in the past and in the present. The article is introduced with a short grammar sketch of Chuj, which highlights the prominent grammatical features found in the text.
After a successful Winter 2020 Linguistic Field Methods class on Malagasy with language consultant Vololona Razafimbelo, a subset of the class convened a Malagasy Summer Reading Group. The virtual format allowed us to include Malagasy aficionados from near and far, pictured in the final meeting below.
Malagasy reading group: Tallis Clark, Jessica Coon, Ileana Paul (Western Ontario), Jacob Dussere, Connie Ting, Jake Aziz (UCLA), Will Johnston, Vololona Razafimbelow, and Henrison Hsieh
Carol-Rose Little is joining the McGill Department of Linguistics as a postdoctoral researcher, supervised by Jessica Coon and Lisa Travis. She recently graduated from Cornell University with a Ph.D. in linguistics and two minors in American Indian and Indigenous Studies and Cognitive Science.
Carol-Rose’s research program brings together syntax, semantics and morphology, rooted in a strong commitment to fieldwork and language documentation. She investigates possible structural variations crosslinguistically and how these structures interface with semantic computation. Her theoretical analyses draw on data collected from fieldwork with understudied languages, namely Ch’ol (Mayan: Chiapas, Mexico) and Mi’gmaq (Algonquian: Quebec, Canada). Topics she has recently worked on include subextraction, (in)definiteness, verb-initial word order, and the inclusive/exclusive distinction. When she is not working, she enjoys running and dancing.
Welcome aboard Carol-Rose!
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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.
The 2019 Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of Latin America Archiving Award was presented to Juan Jesús Vázquez Álvarez and Jessica Coon for their Chol language archive at the Archive of Indigenous Languages of Latin America. They received the award in New Orleans at the SSILA meeting, which meets concurrently with the LSA. The archive was created through a project supported by a National Geographic Explorers Grant, and involved training of Ch’ol-speaking undergraduate students to record and transcribe narratives in their home communities.
Susan Gehr presents Jessica and Juan with the award