Monthly Archives: March 2016

Magri 2016: Error-driven learning in OT and HG: a comparison

Error-driven learning in OT and HG: a comparison
Giorgio Magri
January 2016

The OT error-driven learner is known to admit guarantees of efficiency, stochastic tolerance and noise robustness which hold independently of any substantive assumptions on the constraints. This paper shows that the HG learner instead does not admit such constraint-independent guarantees. The HG theory of error-driven learning thus needs to be substantially restricted to specific constraint sets.

Format: pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002843
(please use that when you cite this article, unless you want to cite the full url:
Published in: Phonology
keywords: learnability, error-driven learning, ot, hg, phonology

Zikova 2016: When Prosody Follows Syntax: Verbal Stems in Czech

When Prosody Follows Syntax: Verbal Stems in Czech
Marketa Zikova
January 2016

The paper examines syntactic and prosodic constituency within a verbal stem in Czech. Working in the frameworks of Nanosyntax and Strict CV, I argue that syntax to prosody mapping is direct to the extent that prosodic domains correspond to particular syntactic constituents. On the basis of two vocalic alternations, namely vowel zero alternations in verbal prefixes and roots and alternations in vowel length in roots and theme suffixes, I show that the perfective verbal stem represented by a linear string prefix root theme is parsed into three prosodic constituents, [prefix root], [root theme] and [prefix root theme]. These prosodic domains correspond to three syntactic constituents: VP and a lower and higher projection of the theme suffix respectively. The crucial point of the syntactic analysis is that the prefix undergoes phrasal movement: it is generated next to the root in VP and when the theme is added, it moves to its specifier. In the [prefix root] constituent, the vocalization pattern of the prefix is established. The constituents comprising theme suffixes are prosodic domains in which a general rule (called the infinitival template) operates; this rule in effect lengthens underlying long vowels in monosyllabic infinitives.

Format: pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002834
(please use that when you cite this article, unless you want to cite the full url:
Published in: Linguistica Brunensia, 64(1)
keywords: syntax-phonology interface; verbal stem; prosodic template; vowel length alternations; vowel-zero alternations; czech, morphology, phonology

Call for papers: Higher order structure in speech variability

Call for papers

LabPhon 15 Satellite Workshop: “Higher order structure in speech variability”

Abstract deadline: 30 April 2016

Notification: 15 May 2016

Workshop: 17 July 2016, 9am – 12pm

We’re pleased to announce a satellite workshop following LabPhon15 at Cornell University in Ithaca NY on the topic of “Higher order structure in speech variability”. 

Workshop Website:

A fundamental challenge for the theory of speech perception is to explain how listeners successfully map signals that vary extensively across talkers to a common set of sounds and words. Discovery of higher-order structure in phonetic and phonological variation — patterns of variation that transcend individual phonetic or phonological units, and that can be encoded by a relatively small number of talker-specific parameters — could provide the key for understanding the robustness of speech perception and patterns of generalization observed in talker adaptation.

We invite submissions on higher-order structure in phonetic / phonological variation across talkers or on the relation between structured talker variation and speech perception. Students are especially encouraged to submit. We hope to have a mix of oral and poster presentations and plenty of time for discussion. 

Submissions for talk or poster presentations, in pdf format and no longer than two pages, should be sent by April 30th directly to one of the co-organizers: Meghan ( or Colin (


The great brain debate

From Joe Pater (

I’ve started working on a project that I hope will culminate in a pop science book on the associative vs. algebraic debate in cognitive science. I think that phonologists have been given an interesting view of that debate (and of course, some of us have been key players in it). I’ve set up a website to host materials on it. There’s not a lot there yet, but you will find audio recordings of Fodor, Pylyshyn and Smolensky (thanks to Paul Smolensky), as well Alan Prince’s response to my question of how a debate became a collaboration (part of the answer – it wasn’t really a debate). Comments and contributions are very much welcome.


NAPhC9 revised deadline March 7

Call for Papers:

We welcome abstracts for talks of 40 minutes (including questions) on any aspect of phonological representation and computation from an internalist, nativist, symbol-processing perspective.

Abstract guidelines:

Revised Deadline: March 7, 2016
Format: pdf file
Length: 2-5 pages
Submission by email to

Anonymous abstract with following info in message:

– Name and affiliation of author(s) (Alphabetically, in case of multiple authors)
– Status of each author (student, post-doc, professor, etc)
– Poster–YES/NO? Are you willing to present your research in a POSTER? (Your answer will not affect your chances of acceptance for a talk)

Results will be sent out before March 15.

Further information will be made available at


RFP deadline extended to March 14

The deadline for the 2016 edition of the RFP conference has been extended to March 14.
More details available here:

Kind regards
The RFP 2016 organizing committee


The French Phonology Network (Réseau français de phonologie) is launching a call for papers for its 2016 annual conference. Building on the success of the conferences organized in Orléans (2010), Tours (2011), Paris (2012), Nantes (2013), Lille (2014) and Bordeaux (2015), the 2016 edition will take place from 30 June to 2 July at the Université Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France.

The conference is sponsored by the research laboratory « Bases, Corpus & Langage », UMR 7320.

We are pleased to announce that the following researchers have accepted invitations to give keynote talks:

-Patrick Honeybone, Univ. Edinburgh

-Philippe Ségéral, Univ. Paris vii

-Péter Szigetvári, Univ. Eötvös Loránd (Budapest)

Main session

Submissions are welcome from linguists working in any school or theoretical framework. Topics of interest may relate to phonology in general or propose a phonological analysis of a linguistic phenomenon in a specific language. Topics may focus on, but are not limited to, signal processing, perception, acquisition, diachrony, dialectology, formalism, epistemology, descriptive phonology and all issues which explicitly deal with phonology and its interfaces.

Thematic session

This year, we particularly encourage communications focusing on dialectology and/or diachrony.

Variation in time and space:

1) variation in space. Dialectologists and phonologists usually have similar concerns: understand a process, describe a given system, explain a change and, possibly, make a theoretical proposal. The prisms of each other do not always entirely superimpose: among phonologists, there are those who rather aim to model, evaluate theories, focus on representations and, among dialectologists, there are those who rather show interest in data collection, in typology, in reconstruction. This difference in perspective is far from being a problem. On the contrary, it is a real good thing: exchanges between them can only be fruitful. For those, among dialectologists and phonologists, who are used to making incursions into their respective fields, this thematic session is an additional occasion for them for exchanging and confronting points of view.

2) variation in time. Exchanges between specialists in diachrony and phonologists mainly concerned with synchrony are well established and the  need for such exchanges is something broadly accepted. This thematic session is an extra occasion for them to fully take advantage of their complementarity.

Some trails/questions :

dialectology does not restrict to Romance dialectology, i.e. all linguistic areas are welcome.

-how can the tools proposed by a given phonological theory allow a better comprehension of certain dialectal data?

-how can dialectal data shed light on a theoretical proposal?

-how can geographical variation shed light on variation in time (and reciprocally)?

Abstract submission and review

Abstracts can be written in either French or English. Abstracts should not exceed two pages in length (A4 pages, TimesNewRoman or similar, 12 point), including all examples, figures and references. PDF abstracts should be submitted on the RFP2016 site at the following address :

All abstracts will undergo anonymous review by at least two referees.



Oral presentations will be scheduled for 35-minute time slots (25 minutes for presentation and 10 minutes for discussion).


Important dates

Deadline for submission: 14 March 2016

Notification of acceptance: 15 April 2016

Conference: 30 June to 2 July 2016