Monthly Archives: December 2016

Catalan Journal of Linguistics Special Issue on Exceptions in Phonology.

Eulàlia Bonet and Francesc Torres-Tamarit have edited a special issue on Exception in Phonology. The whole volume is available on the Catalan Journal of Linguistics Website (, and the Table of Contents with links has been copied below.

Table of Contents


Eulàlia Bonet, Francesc Torres-Tamarit


Eric Baković
Joan Mascaró
Claire Moore-Cantwell, Joe Pater
Carlos-Eduardo Piñeros
Péter Rebrus, Péter Szigetvári
Amanda Rysling
Kie Zuraw

Kayne (2016) – What is Suppletive Allomorphy? On ‘went’ and on ‘*goed’ in English

What is Suppletive Allomorphy? On ‘went’ and on ‘*goed’ in English
Richard Kayne
direct link:
December 2016
I have proposed analyses of English ‘went’ and of English ‘*goed’ that revolve around the notion of verbal theme vowel. These analyses do not invoke late insertion. It may be that late insertion is systematically unavailable. That may be due to the fact that merge-based bottom-to-top derivations start with the phonology, merging phonological features and then segments, before moving up to syntactic features; if so, phonology feeds syntax and should not be factored out of it.

Format: pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003241
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in:
keywords: theme vowel, went, late insertion, suppletive allomorphy, bundling, morphology, syntax, phonology



LSA Special Session on Learning Lexical Specificity in Phonology

Claire Moore-Cantwell and Stephanie Shih have organized a special session at the 2017 LSA on Learning Lexical Specificity in Phonology. See below for the schedule and a summary by Claire and Stephanie.

When/where: Friday, January 6, 2:00pm to 5:00pm @ JW Grand Ballroom 7
Link to LSA website:


Introduction by Joe Pater (2:00-2:10)

Part 1. Allomorphy & Alternations (2:10-3:35)

  • Michael Becker: Affix-specificity makes stress learnable
  • Brian W. Smith: Using phonotactics to learn affix-specific phonology
  • Discussion by Sharon Inkelas, Kie Zuraw

Part 2. Items & Classes (3:35-5:00)

  • Claire Moore-Cantwell: Concurrent learning of the lexicon and phonology
  • Stephanie S. Shih: Learning lexical classes for class-sensitive phonology
  • Discussion by Andries Coetzee, Jennifer Smith


The interaction of the phonological grammar with the lexicon is a necessary component in the phonological acquisition process and its end state, since the lexicon shapes and is shaped by phonology at potentially every stage of learning. The phonological grammar and lexicon share a complex relationship, as illustrated by the numerous phenomena in which phonological behavior exhibits lexical specificity: morphologically-conditioned phonology, lexical class-sensitive phonology, lexical exceptions to phonological patterns, and phonological variation in the lexicon. This relationship has heavily influenced the development of morphophonological theory. The current state of the field presents new challenges to understanding grammar and the lexicon. Access to natural language quantitative data now allows us to observe not only the empirical extent of lexical specificity across a phonological system but also the push-pull between massive variation and systematicity that exists in natural languages. Newly available empirical tools such as corpus methods, machine learning, and experimental techniques have accelerated investigations of learning and acquisition, as have developments in understanding psycholinguistic influences on phonology. This symposium brings together work that leverages these modern empirical developments and situates this new work within the broader landscape of phonological theory.

The symposium will address the following issues of learning lexical specificity in the grammar: When and how does a learner learn lexical specificity? How does the learner manage lexical specificity and natural language variation? How does lexical sensitivity differ or remain the same for learning alternations and allomorphy versus static lexical phonotactics? What are the relevant lexical items and categories for phonology? How specific does lexical specificity have to be? What is the optimal balance in grammatical design between representational efficiency and predictive accuracy and robustness? How is the trade-off between complexity and adequacy managed in grammar and learning of lexically-sensitive phonological patterns? How do the developing grammar and lexicon interact in learning? How do features of the lexicon such as lexical frequency influence the grammar?

Thanks to Brian Smith for having put this information together in a post!


Launch: Papers in Historical Phonology

We are delighted to announce the launch of ‘Papers in Historical Phonology’ (PiHPh). PiHPh aims to provide a platform for all work which connects the sound systems of languages with the past in any way, combining insights from theoretical phonology, phonetics, sociolinguistics, dialectology, philology, language acquisition, and, no doubt, other areas. PiHPh is online only, open access, completely free to publish in, and committed to a fast turn around of papers.

PiHPh’s website is here:

PiHPh has pre-publication scrutiny by the editorial and/or advisory board and post-publication review. We therefore encourage all readers to comment on papers, and authors to respond to comments.

An explanation of the review and publication process is here:

PIHPh is launching with 15 papers which have been submitted by authors who have heard of the project through a range of means, including the Edinburgh Symposium on Historical Phonology. It also has a preface which sets out PiHPh’s aims. The current volume is available here:

PiHPh operates on a rolling publication basis – each year has one volume and each paper is published in the current year’s volume as soon as it is cleared for publication. We therefore welcome submissions, and comments, at any time.

PiHPh has an editorial team based at Edinburgh and an advisory board featuring expertise from around the world:


Julian Bradfield, University of Edinburgh
Josef Fruehwald, University of Edinburgh
Patrick Honeybone, University of Edinburgh
Pavel Iosad, University of Edinburgh
Benjamin Molineaux, University of Edinburgh
Michael Ramsammy, University of Edinburgh

Advisory Board:

Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero, University of Manchester
David Bowie, University of Alaska–Anchorage
András Cser, Pázmány Péter Catholic University
B. Elan Dresher, University of Toronto
D. Eric Holt, University of South Carolina
José Ignacio Hualde, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Larry Hyman, University of California, Berkeley
James Kirby, University of Edinburgh
Björn Köhnlein, Ohio State University
Martin Joachim Kümmel, University of Jena
Aditi Lahiri, University of Oxford
Roger Lass, University of Cape Town & University of Edinburgh
Laurel Mackenzie, New York University
Robert Mailhammer, University of Western Sydney
Donka Minkova, University of California, Los Angeles
Betty S. Phillips, Indiana State University
Martha Ratliff, Wayne State University
Nikolaus Ritt, University of Vienna
Joseph C. Salmons, University of Wisconsin–Madison
Tobias Scheer, University of Nice
Ranjan Sen, University of Sheffield
Meredith Tamminga, University of Pennsylvania
Danielle Turton, Newcastle University
Andrew Wedel, University of Arizona
Alan C. L. Yu, University of Chicago


Begus (2016) – Post-Nasal Devoicing and a Probabilistic Model of Phonological Typology

Post-Nasal Devoicing and a Probabilistic Model of Phonological Typology
Gasper Begus
direct link:
December 2016
This paper addresses one of the most contested issues in phonology: the derivation of phonological typology. I present a new model for deriving phonological typology within the channel bias approach. First, a new subdivision of natural processes is proposed: non-natural processes are divided into unmotivated and unnatural. The central topic of the paper is an unnatural alternation: post-nasal devoicing (PND). I argue that in all reported cases, PND does not derive from a single unnatural sound change (as claimed in some individual accounts of the data), but rather from a combination of three sound changes, each of which is natural and motivated. By showing that one of the rare cases of unnatural sound change reported actually arises through a combination of natural sound changes, we can maintain the long-held position that any single instance of sound change has to be natural. Based on several discussed cases, I propose a new historical model for explaining unnatural phenomena: the “blurring process”. Additionally, I provide a proof establishing the minimal sound changes required (MSCR) for an unmotivated/unnatural process to arise. The blurring process and MSCR result in a model that probabilistically predicts typology within the channel bias approach. This paper also presents groundwork for calculating historical probabilities of synchronic alternations with the ultimate goal of quantifying influences of CB on phonological typology.

Format: pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003232
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Submitted
keywords: phonological typology, probabilistic models, sound change, naturalness, channel bias, voice, phonology

Boskovic (2016) – On Verb Second and Clitic Second

On Verb Second and Clitic Second
Zeljko Boskovic
direct link:
December 2016
The paper argues that V-2 and clitic second should not be unified structurally. Second position clitics do not all occur in a fixed position high in the clause (they can in fact occur rather low in the structure), differing from the verb in V-2 in this respect, second-position clitic systems are incompatible with the presence of definite articles/DP in a language, in contrast to V-2, and clitic second and V-2 clauses differ regarding their mobility. Clitic second and V-2 do, however, share some prosodic characteristics, which is taken to indicate that the two should be unified at least to some extent prosodically (with clitic second, the second position is in fact defined prosodically: clitics are second within their intonational phrase), which also simplifies the syntax of V-2. From this perspective, the paper gives accounts of a number of properties of V-2, like the root/embedded clause asymmetry regarding the productivity of V-2, the non-pickiness of the V-2 requirement (where just about anything can satisfy it), and the role of the freedom of word order in the development of syntactic V-2, where all these are ultimately traced to the presence of a prosodic requirement. The paper also provides a labeling-based account of the immobility of V-2 clauses, which has consequences for a number of constructions.

Format: pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003234
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in:
keywords: verb second, clitic second, prosody, labels, syntax, phonology

Francis(2016) – Language and dialect in China

Language and dialect in China

Norbert Francis

direct link:
December 2016
In the study of language learning, researchers sometimes ask how languages in contact are related. They compare the linguistic features of the languages, how the mental grammars of each language sub-system are represented, put to use in performance, and how they interact. Within a linguistic family, languages can be closely related or distantly related, an interesting factor, for example, in understanding bilingualism and second language development. Dialects, on the other hand, are considered to be variants of the same language. While there is no way to always draw a sharp line between the categories of language and dialect, it is necessary to distinguish between the two kinds of language variation by the application of uniform criteria. The distinction between dialect and language is important for designing bilingual instructional programs, both for students who already speak two languages and for beginning second language learners.

Format: pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003228
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Chinese Language and Discourse
keywords: dialect, language contact, minority languages, bilingualism, china, chinese, morphology, phonology

Potsma (2016) – Element subtraction in Pomeranian and German morphology – The competitive tier

Element subtraction in Pomeranian and German morphology – The competitive tier
Gertjan Postma
direct link:
November 2016
Taking new Pomeranian data as a starting point, we propose a competitive vocalic tier on which elements compete for prosodic space, besides the well-known vocalic tier that allows for element conflation. The hypothesis predicts alternations such as the [ɑi]-[ɪ] and [e]-[ɪ] root alternation (German treten-tritt ‘(he) step(s), Pomeranian gaita-git ‘(he) pour(s)’) (to be compared with Eng. wild-bewilderment). The model allows us to solve two conundrums in German morphology: 1. the “epenthesis conundrum”, i.e. the anti-correlation between OCP-driven schwa epenthesis between root and suffix in German (rett[ə]t/*rett versus *rät[ə]t/rät) and root alternations in present tense verbs (alternating verbs): retten-er rettet, raten – (er) rät . Secondly, the model allows us to solve the “imperative conundrum” , the correlation between |A|-subtraction in a subset of alternating verbs (geben-gibt ‘give(s)’) and ending-less imperatives in German (gib! ‘give!’). The model makes an observational generalization over root shortening and subtraction of melodic content, although the model is, as yet, not designed for a full implementation.

Format: pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003216
(please use that when you cite this article)
keywords: subtractive morphology, element theory, umlaut, metaphony, vocalic tier, morphology, phonology, standard-german, pomeranian, abruzzese, portuguese

Borekhuis (2016) – Object movement (object shift and scrambling)

Object movement (object shift and scrambling)
Hans Broekhuis
direct link:
November 2016
This review article is intended for a handbook on Germanic languages. It differs from previous reviews of Scandinavian object shift and continental W-Germanic scrambling in that it adopts as a null hypothesis that the two phenomena should be given a unified treatment.

Format: pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003217
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in:
keywords: object shift, a-scrambling, a’-scrambling, effect-on-output, information structure, intonation, holmberg’s generalization, order preservation, vp-topicalization, semantics, syntax, phonology