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.

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.

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.

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 an Alberta Graduate 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:


Brittany McDonald

MA Student

I am Brittany McDonald from Winnipeg, Manitoba. I completed my B.A. at the University of Manitoba in 2018 majoring in Linguistics and a minoring in Ukrainian. I am a first-year M.A. student studying under Dr. Betsy Ritter. My scholarly interests are strongly rooted in syntax and morphology, language typology, and differential argument marking. In my undergrad, I studied and completed documentation projects on Paraguayan Guaraní and Munsee Delaware (Lenape). I am fluent in English, French, and Spanish. I also have elementary proficiency in European Portuguese and Ukrainian.

Outside of school I enjoy crafting, calligraphy, drinking buckets of tea, and eating popcorn. I also have played fastpitch softball for 18 years and have been coaching for three. I’m so excited to get to know my peers and professors in the SLLLAC and to see all of what U of C has to offer!
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.

Metehan Oguz

MA Student

I am Metehan Oğuz, from Kocaeli, Turkey. I’m currently in the second year of my MA. I got my BA in Foreign Language Education at Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey. My research interest is experimental syntax with a focus on issues in Turkish. For my MA thesis, I have been working on Raising Structures in Turkish under the supervision of Dr. Dennis Ryan Storoshenko. In addition, I am interested in negation, copula verbs, and indexical shift in Turkish.

I am working as a Teaching Assistant (TA), and as a Research Assistant (RA) at Experimental Syntax Lab under the principal investigator Dr. Dennis Ryan Storoshenko. I am also the website administrator at ‘’ (this website) and one of the editors of Calgary Working Papers on Linguistics (CWPL). 

I am going to start the Linguistics PhD program at University of Southern California in August 2021!

Other than linguistics, I am interested in some sports like soccer, and motorsports. You can find more about me on my personal website: link

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

Namgipa salam (hello), I am 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 what I’m going to be working on during my MA. My interests lie broadly in phonology, but more specifically in prosody. For my thesis I am going to study the word-stress system of Garo under the supervision of Dr Angeliki Athanasopoulou.

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 (but I have some specific tastes).

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

Calgary Ling Grad Students