Meet Our Grad Students

Lindsay Hracs

Lindsay Hracs

PhD Student

I am Lindsay Hracs, a Ph.D. student in Linguistics. I completed both my B.A. and M.A. at UCalgary before landing a job in educational psychology where I used my knowledge of linguistics and language processing in one-on-one remedial therapy sessions. After about 3 and a half years, I realized I was missing the academic life and decided to return to complete my Ph.D. and get answers to all of those burning research questions I still have. I chose to study at UCalgary once again so that I could work with my supervisor, Dr. Susanne Carroll, an expert on input in language acquisition.

Generally speaking, I’m interested in all aspects of Information Structure as well as how Information Structure functions in different languages. My thesis research, however, centres on the acquisition of the focus sensitive particle only. Specifically, I use computational modelling to investigate the interaction of input and learning mechanisms relevant to acquiring syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic properties of only. Currently, I am investigating how building biases into Bayesian Networks and Neural Networks affects learning.

Outside of my studies, I am a competitive axe thrower. I take part in an axe throwing league and have also competed internationally in Round 1 of the National Axe Throwing Championships in January 2019. In my downtime, I love taking my dogs to the park and watching horror movies.

My website can be found at, and my GitHub here. Make sure to visit my GitHub, and view my WCCFL 35 paper, and a SCiL abstract.

PhD Student

I am Brett C. Nelson and I received my Bachelor of Science in Linguistics from Tulane University (in my hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA) in 2016, followed by a Master of Arts in Linguistics from the same institution in 2017. As part of my undergraduate studies, I also delved into the fields of psychology and archaeology, completing a minor in the former.  After these, I came to the University of Calgary in 2017 to work with Dr. Darin Flynn.

I’m interested in most subfields of linguistics, and I have previously investigated multilingualism, morphosyntactic typology, and segmental phonological theory. Currently, my linguistic research involves second and third language acquisition of phonology, particularly in Kaqchikel, a Mayan language of Guatemala. As part of my work in Kaqchikel, I am also coordinating the creation and nurturing of a Kaqchikel Online Dictionary Project. I also work with the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana as a part of Kuhpani Yoyani Luhchi Yoroniku (KYLY) or ‘Tunica Language Working Group’, working to revitalize the formerly sleeping Tunica language, an isolate of the present-day south-central United States of America. Check out the review of a film entirely spoken in Kaqchikel my MA advisor Judith M. Maxwell and I wrote.

View my CV as a Google Doc, and visit my Academia page. The Kaqchikel Online Dictionary Project is available here, or check out the New Tunica Webonary page.

Adam Daniel

Adam Daniel

PhD Student

I am Adam Daniel, I’m originally from Georgia where I earned my BA (Hons) in Applied Linguistics from Georgia State University in 2011. Afterward, I spent 4 years teaching ESL in Japan. I arrived at the University of Calgary in 2015 and completed my MA, thesis title: Clipping as Morphology: Evidence from Japanese. 

My main research interests and focuses are: morphology, historical linguistics, phonology, Japanese, and Welsh. English is my native language, but I speak Japanese with advanced proficiency, and I have a moderate knowledge of Welsh. Other languages which I have some experience in are: German, French, Italian, Serbian, Mongolian, Cherokee, and Etruscan. Outside of linguistics, I enjoy a lot of around-the-home activities such as cooking, tv/movies, and reading (especially anything sci-fi or fantasy). I also enjoy travel, hiking, photography, and I am looking to get into tennis and/or rock climbing one of these days.

Dušan Nikolić

PhD Student

I am Dušan Nikolić, from Aleksinac, Serbia. I completed a BA and MA in English Language and Literature at the University of Niš, Serbia. Currently, I am doing a PhD in Linguistics under the supervision of Dr. Stephen Winters, a proven expert in the field of Phonetics and Phonology. As my academic and research areas are Phonetics and Phonology, Second Language Acquisition, and Sociolinguistics, I have structured my PhD project around the perception of intonation as a marker of foreign accent. The goal of the project is to explore the second language intonation system by investigating the perception of foreign accent. I have also been awarded with Eyes High International Scholarship and Dean’s Entrance Scholarship. I find that the UofC is the right place to complete the project as it offers not only great academic expertise and resources, but also professional organizations. This is why I am a member of the Phonetics Lab Team and the graduate student association “A Higher Clause”. Visit my website for more info.

Mahyar Nakhaei

PhD Student

I am Mahyar Nakhaei and I am very eager to study how pronouns are interpreted across languages and what factors affect their resolution by native speakers of each language. I have also done some research studies on how pronoun resolution might be different between pro-drop languages such as Persian and non-prodrop languages like English. Currently, as my Master’s thesis I am running a study to investigate how individual differences might affect the interpretation of pronouns within a language. I am also planning to study a very particular controversial cliticlike marker (-esh) in Persian from a new perspective in near future.

Kang Xu

Kang Xu

PhD Student

Ni hao! I am Kang Xu, a Ph.D. student in Linguistics. I completed my B.A. at Memorial University of Newfoundland and my M.A. at the University of Western Ontario. My supervisor is Dr. Elizabeth Ritter who is an expert on theoretical syntax. She is also very funny. 

My interest is a little divided. I am interested in theoretical syntax, dialects, and sociolinguistics. Currently, I am studying the Mandarin sentence-final Complementizer system and the two-words tone sandhi in Wuhan dialect. 

I’m the Secretary and also the CWPL editor of A Higher Clause. Linguistics aside, I like brisk walking (Marathon style, e.g. 30000 steps). I have a French Bichon whose name is Dot Dot (English translation: little little) and he is getting old.

Kody Tufts

MA Student

I am a first-year MA student of linguistics. In my research, I look forward to learning more about morphology, that part of our linguistic knowledge related to the internal structure of words, and their systematic variation in form and meaning. I am excited to continue research begun as an undergrad (at the University of Calgary) on the complex verbal morphology of the Dene language family. I look forward also, to continuing to learn about the role I can play as a linguist in supporting language revitalization efforts.  

I have previously completed a BA in political science at the University of Calgary (2010) with a minor in the Japanese language. After spending a year abroad as a language teacher in Japan and several years in the logistics industry, I decided to return to school to pursue my interest in language, completing a BA Honours in linguistics in 2020. 

In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family (wife and young daughter), going for strolls in the great outdoors and all the usual things (music, reading, film etc.). I’ve also recently taken an interest in becoming less abysmal at cooking.


Andrea Levinstein-Rodriguez

MA Student

I am Andrea Levinstein-Rodriguez, a MA student in Linguistics. I was born in Mexico City but I’ve been living in Calgary for almost a decade now. I completed my B.A. at the University of Calgary, where I fell in love with syntax, language acquisition and experimental research. I did my honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Susanne Carroll, where I replicated a study on the second language (L2) acquisition of prepositional relative clauses in Spanish.

For my Master’s, I am looking into the optionality of a clitic article that shows up in those same relative clauses. I am looking forward to learning all about the principles and methods of experimental syntax research from my supervisor, Dr. Dennis Storoshenko. Really, I just love being in the lab. My long-term goal is to specialize in L2 research, particularly in L2 competence and sentence processing.

Outside of linguistics, I have a Gender Studies minor and I’ve done some advocacy work – especially in regards to gender and sexual diversity, but also some anti-racism work. I like crafts (especially needlework), dancing, and overall doing my best to become a little old lady ahead of schedule.

Cheman Baira A Sangma

MA Student

Hello, my name is Cheman. I am from Tura, India (an obscure little town in India’s North Eastern state of Meghalaya). I speak a language called Garo as a native language and it is the language that I am currently researching. My interests lie broadly in phonology, but more specifically in prosody. I am studying the phonetics and phonology of Garo word-stress for my thesis under the supervision of Dr. Angeliki Athanasopoulou.

I am currently one of the website techs for Calgary Linguistics (this very website), and I am also the current secretary/treasurer of A Higher Clause (UofC’s graduate association of linguistics students).

My previous education includes a BA with an honours in English Literature from the North-Eastern Hill University, and an MA in Linguistics from The English and Foreign Languages University. Both in India. 

In addition to speaking Garo, I speak English and Hindi, but I am much more comfortable in English than I am in Hindi.

Outside of studies, I follow football (soccer). I am a huge Chelsea FC fan. And I also love listening to music.

And last I checked, my profile/email is not listed on the division directory for some reason, so for anyone looking for my contact info, my email is:

Olanrewaju Charles Boyede

MA Student

I am Olanrewaju Charles Boyede from Nigeria. I completed my B.A. in Linguistics at Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Nigeria in 2017. I am a first-year M.A student under the supervision of Dr. Angeliki Athanasopoulou. My research interest is established in experimental phonology with a focus on prosody. In my M.A. thesis, I want to investigate how children develop their prosodic skills and how their auditory mechanism process speech sounds in Yoruba language.

I have explored the phonology of some of the minority languages in Nigeria to uncover co-articulation and prosodic functionality in them. I also carried out diverse personal research projects on the influence of mother tongue on the acquisition of L2. In my undergraduate thesis, I researched on the phonology and morphology of Uwu; one of the endangered languages in Kogi State of North Central part of Nigeria. My view is to contribute to the efforts of revitalising languages that are considered endangered.

I am a member of the editorial board for Calgary Working Papers in Linguistics (CWPL).

I speak Yoruba as mother tongue, and of course English language. For fun, I love hanging out with friends, listening to rap music, hiking, golfing (still an amateur haha) and open to explore acrobatic yoga soon.

Shayne Shapkin

MA Student

I am Shayne Shapkin, a first year MA student. Somehow, despite having BAs in both Linguistics and History, my research focus isn’t historical linguistics. Instead, my interests lie in syntax and morphology, with particular focus on Swiss and Standard German, both of which I am fluent in. I also have varying proficiencies in French, Japanese, and Ancient Greek. For my Master’s thesis, I’m looking at the relationship between interactional speech and information structure in Swiss German.

In my spare time, I spend a lot of time outdoors (hiking, scrambling, snowshoeing, skiing), I play a lot of strategy games, and I drink far, far too much green tea. I also have the sacred duty of exercising two large German Shepherds.

Summer Abdalla

MA Student

Hi! My name is Summer Abdalla, and I am working towards my MA in Linguistics. I have always been intrigued by the concept of linguistic development, and that was further developed throughout the course of my BA, which eventually led me to the research world. My research interests include phonology, language acquisition, and the Arabic language. I will be exploring these topics in more detail under the supervision of Dr. Angeliki Athanasopoulou.

I also join the department as a Teaching Assistant, as well as a Research Assistant in the Developmental Psycholinguistics Lab of Dr. Dimitrios Skordos & Dr. Angeliki Athanasopoulou. I am a member of the linguistics graduate student association A Higher Clause as part of the events team. I also support the development of this website as a website technician and manage the social media sites. Lastly, I serve as an editor for Calgary Working Papers in Linguistics.

Outside of school, I enjoy watching movies, chasing sunsets, and hanging out with friends and family.

I got to present at the 2020 LSA conference. Here I am in a parking lot outside the conference.


MA Student

<commence greeting speech act> Hi, I’m Quinn, and I’m a first year MA student. I have a BA Honours in linguistics with a minor in music (classical guitar), and an almost-minor in computer science. As anyone who knows me can attest, I have a hard time picking a favourite subfield of linguistics. For my master’s thesis, I’ll be looking into the semantics/philosophy of language side of things with my supervisor Dr. David Liebesman. I like thinking about what it means for something to mean something, and how meaning can be formally represented. Since one of my favourite parts of linguistics is working with speakers to gather data, I am also interested in semantic fieldwork methodologies. I also have passionate linguistic side-interests in historical linguistics and phonology.

I’m currently an RA for Dr. Elizabeth Ritter and Dr. Martina Wiltschko, where we’re looking at the interactional structure of pronouns across a variety of languages, as well as an RA for Dr. David Liebesman for a project concerning the nature of copredication and property ascription.

In my free time I like to do animation, illustration, and photography, and play classical guitar (all of which are always for fun, occasionally for money). I’m also into gaming, sewing, and cult films. I like to spend as much time as possible outside documenting and learning about local wildlife and plant life, and my obsession with plants has caused my house to be overrun with seedlings and soon-to-be seedlings I’m sprouting. I hope to one day germinate a plant capable of language.  

“Give us a good IPA and we can read any language in this world”

Calgary Ling Grad Students