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Studying bird speech patterns can explain universal grammar rules

In the 1960s, Noam Chomsky, a linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, observed that different languages across the world have common patterns. Chomsky postulated the Theory of Universal Grammar (UG), which suggests that humans have created languages and grammar rules that conveniently fit with how our brain is organized. McGill PhD student Logan Smith… Keep Reading

language

The world is larger than English

Like many others at McGill, I come from a background of multiple languages. My father grew up in Wolfsburg, Germany—a relatively small country town, about an hour away from Berlin. After 20 years of living in a rainy climate, he decided to venture south in search of sun and a happier version of himself. He… Keep Reading

language

Viewpoint: My study abroad experience

This past summer, I spent six weeks studying French language and literature at Middlebury Language Schools, an intensive program at Middlebury College in Vermont. The experience not only improved my French as expected, but also opened my eyes to the educational possibilities availably beyond the Roddick Gates. Prior to registering for the program, I had… Keep Reading

language

‘Big Brother’ now a tool to study linguistics

After moving to a new place, some people’s accents change readily while others stay more or less the same for the rest of their lives. McGill University linguist and Assistant Professor Morgan Sonderegger recently spearheaded a study that explores the science behind accent dynamics. Some studies on accents have analyzed only one conversation with a… Keep Reading

language

Bilingual infants take a unique path to speech development

Newborn babies have many monumental tasks before them, a key one being the acquisition of language. In our first few years, we must learn to recognize characteristic sounds, distinguish separate words, interpret more complex word combinations, and eventually assign meaning to what we hear. For infants raised in bilingual environments, speech perception develops in a… Keep Reading

language

Understanding the world of hiero-gifics

As platforms like Short Message Service (SMS), Facebook Messenger, and WhatsApp grow in popularity, the amount of time people spend interacting face-to-face decreases. To make up for this, tech enthusiasts and artists have teamed up to develop novel ways to convey emotion over text. Ranging from the humble smiley to the more complex cat GIF,… Keep Reading

Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois addresses her supporters in victory rally, minutes before fatal shooting. (Simon Poitrimolt / McGill Tribune)
language

Commentary: Language requirements necessary for Quebec’s culture and economy

Quebec’s incessant language war found new fuel as McGill and Concordia recently released statements criticizing the province’s strict French language requirement for granting permanent residency, which was introduced in 2013 by the Parti Québécois (PQ). The universities claim that strict rules requiring proficiency in French are making it difficult to attract foreign professors. The Liberal… Keep Reading

language

Research Briefs—Jan. 27, 2015

Is being bilingual better? A 2011 census of Canada revealed Montreal to have the highest rate of bilinguals in the country. While this figure may not come as a surprise to many, it does make Montreal the ideal candidate for demonstrating the ‘bilingual advantage.’   Evidence has shown that raising a child in a multilingual… Keep Reading

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Commentary: Diffusing anglophone tension in Quebec

Anglophone-francophone relations in Quebec have not been off to a good start in 2015 as the tension and unrest within anglophone communities is reaching a climax. Graham Fraser, the official language commissioner of Canada, recently made a call for the Quebec government to create an Office of Anglophone Affairs, a request that was promptly shut… Keep Reading

language

The substance of style

Since the invention of the printing press, news media has endeavoured to employ capitation in the interest of magnetizing readers into ratifying their viewpoints and escalating their market share. The McGill Tribune is no exception, as the paper employs strategic readership engagement tactics in order to endue its student body readership with information, material, and… Keep Reading

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