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Meet Linguistics Graduate Students

Kelly Burkinshaw

I'm 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.

Benjamin Peng Han

I am Benjamin, with a Chinese full name Peng Han. I am currently 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. I received my Bachelor of Engineering and Master of Arts in my home country 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. My research interests focus on the syntax-semantic interface studies of Chinese Reflexives and Resultative constructions, which are also the topic of my prospective dissertation. 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.

Lindsay Hracs

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 to teach reading, writing, and math in one-on-one 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. All things related to Information Structure are of interest to me, but my thesis research centres around the acquisition of the focus sensitive particle only. Specifically, I use computational modelling to investigate the interaction of input and learning mechanisms relevant to the learning problem. I am currently the president of A Higher Clause (The Linguistics Graduate Students’ Association of UCalgary) as well as a research assistant in the Second Language Acquisition lab. Outside of my studies, I am a competitive axe thrower. In my downtime, I love taking my dogs to the park and watching horror movies.

Brett Nelson

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. After these, I came to the University of Calgary in 2017 to work with Dr. Flynn on phonology and the linguistics of North and Central American indigenous languages, including but not limited to Kaqchikel (a Mayan language of Guatemala), other Mayan languages, Tunica (a language isolate of Louisiana), and various Algonquian, Siouan, and Salishan languages. The presence of the latter set of these various languages in and near southern Alberta was a primary factor in my decision to come to the University of Calgary.

My research interests are varied, but include both phonetic and phonological aspects of glottalized consonants, morpho-phonology in constraint-based theory, morpho-syntactic typology, particularly of verbal inflection, and language documentation and revitalization. I am  currently working with several language revitalization and maintenance groups including Kuhpani Yoyani Luhchi Yoroniku (KYLY; the Tunica Language Working Group https://www.tunicabiloxi.org/tribal-info/departments/language-culture-revitalization-program/) and the recently established Kaqchikel Online Dictionary Project (website to be created soon). Apart from linguistics, I enjoy science of all kinds and science fiction, particularly of the time-travelling variety, as well as the occasional mental exercise. I am an avid sports fan and am always willing to learn the rules of new kinds of sport or game."