Meet Our Grad Students

Grads

PhD Student

I’m 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.

I’m the president of A Higher Clause as well as a manager of the Second Language Acquisition lab under PI Dr. Susanne Carroll. 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 www.thelindsayh.com, and my GitHub here. Make sure to visit my GitHub, and view my WCCFL 35 paper, and a SCiL abstract.

Kelly_Burko

Kelly Burkinshaw

PhD Student

I am Kelly Burkinshaw, from Deer Lake, Newfoundland. I completed a BA in Linguistics, with a minor in English, as well as an MA in Linguistics at Memorial University of Newfoundland, in St. John’s. I’m currently working on a PhD in Linguistics here at the UofC – I study first language acquisition in English, and my focus is on how children learn vowels, given the different types of information they have available from adult-directed and infant-directed speech. My supervisor is Dr. Suzanne Curtin, and most days you can find me over in the Speech Development Lab. I chose the UofC for my studies because I wanted to work with Dr. Curtin, and because the (then) Linguistics department seemed fun and welcoming, and I’ve found the city of Calgary to be a pretty great place to be!

Some of my non-linguistic pastimes include more knitting than any human should be doing, cooking delicious food (I hope?), attempts at non-academic writing, and kickboxing.

Elias Abdollahnejad

Elias Abdollahnejad

PhD Student

I am Elias Abdollahnejad. My main research areas are psycholinguistics, experimental syntax, eye-tracking research, language Modeling, and NLP.

For my PhD dissertation, under the supervision of Dr. Dennis Ryan Storoshenko, I am investigating the word order and processing of Persian ditransitive forms using linguistic and psycholinguistic experiments such as Lexical Priming, Self-Paced paradigm, etc. I am an active member of the Psycholinguistics, Syntax/semantics, and Language Acquisition labs at the linguistics division of SLLLC. In these labs, I have worked on several projects and experiments such as eye-tracking experiments targeting reference resolution in Persian and word stress pattern of German. I am recently interested in pursuing my research in Language Modeling and NLP (Natural Language Processing).

 

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.

Benjamin Peng Han

Benjamin Pen

PhD Student

I am Benjamin, with a Chinese full name Peng Han. I received my Bachelor of Engineering in Soochow University and Master of Arts in University of Shanghai for Science and Technology in China. It is not a pity to have invested four years on Engineering because that shapes my logical thinking and provides different angles to look at things. I am now studying under the supervision of Dr. Dennis Storoshenko, who has great expertise in anaphor Binding Theories. That serves as my top motivation to join in the University of Calgary for a PhD study. My research interests focus on the syntax-semantic interface studies of Chinese Reflexives and Resultative constructions, and the former is also the topic of my dissertation in progress. In terms of extracurricular pastimes, I love anything relating to nature, like a zoo/park visit, documentaries on wild species, etc. Residing at the foot of Rocky Mountains, there is a feast of natural beauty to enjoy.

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.

Merion Hodgson

MA Student

I am Merion Hodgson and I am grateful to be learning on the traditional territory of the Blackfoot people, also home to Tsuu T’ina and Stoney Nakoda people, and Metis. This is important to note for a number of reasons – in particular, these are some of the Indigenous languages you can hear in this area, and you can witness the work by elders, language keepers, and youth in the community to teach, speak, and elevate their languages.

I am interested in supporting these endeavors with my skills and research; I have investigated various aspects of Blackfoot phonology and syntax, and currently focus on phonetics and phonology of Plains Cree and Plains Cree English consonants. I am looking at voice onset time (VOT) in stop consonants to find out how relearners of Plains Cree have navigated between the differences of English and Plains

Cree stop consonants, and how exposure throughout development contributes to differences between a speaker’s L1 and L2. In future work, I aim to further examine the effect of exposure on perception and language attitudes towards Indigenous language features.

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.

Lyndon Rey

MA Student

I am currently in the 1st year of my M.A., focusing on speech perception, and more broadly, computational linguistics. My B.A. honours spec. Linguistics is from the University of Western Ontario, in London Ontario. Specifically, I (along with my supervisor, Dr. Stephen Winters) try to model stress perception in Canadian French and English. I currently am working with the support of the Queen Elizabeth II scholarship. I speak Canadian English natively and Canadian French fluently.

Within the linguistics division and the SLLLC, I serve as the linguistics graduate representative. Within U of C as a whole, I play fullback for the Dinos Men’s rugby team.

Visit my website for more info: http://www.lyndonrey.ca/

Kelly Kilian

Kelly Kilian

MA Student

I am Kelly Kilian, an MA student at the University of Calgary. My main research interests are Phonology/Phonetics and endangered languages. I am currently working on an endangered language that we recently discovered in South Africa. The speakers of the language named it tʰumʔi and we believe that it belongs to the Khoisan language family. There is a lot yet to be done on the documentation of the language, but as I am working in a team with Dr. Bennett, I am certain we will soon make very significant discoveries. 

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

Calgary Ling Grad Students

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