Yearly Archives: 2016

Report about future AMP meetings from AMP 2016 business meeting

AMP 2016 took place at USC on October 21-23. The topic of future hosts of the conference was taken up in the business meeting. Please be advised that AMP 2017 will take place at NYU, for which the target dates are September 15-17, 2017. AMP 2018 will be hosted by UC San Diego. For more information, please go to


Tenure-track phonology position University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

The Department of Linguistics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track position (position no. 83168) in Linguistics, with specialization in phonology, to begin Fall 2017, subject to position clearance and availability of funds.

ASSISTANT PROFESSOR: Teach undergraduate/graduate courses in the designated area of specialization; advise graduate students; conduct and publish research in area of specialization; pursue opportunities for external funding; perform related tasks as assigned.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS: Doctorate in Linguistics or related field from a college or university of recognized standing (ABD will be considered, but evidence must be provided that all requirements for the degree will be completed by 07/31/2017). Applicants are expected to have experience and expertise in phonological analysis, and evidence of an active research program. Evidence of successful teaching experience in undergraduate and/or graduate linguistics courses is required.

DESIRABLE QUALIFICATIONS: Desirable qualifications include expertise in experimentation, computational methods, or quantitative methods, or a language or languages of Asia or the Pacific (especially Austronesian languages). We are interested in candidates whose research and teaching interests enhance and complement the strengths of the department. We seek someone who can excel in teaching, training, and supervision of graduate students and who can interact well with faculty in our department and in other departments.

SALARY: Commensurate with experience.

TO APPLY: Send a letter of application, CV, copies of key relevant publications, teaching and research statements, names and contact information for three referees by email to with “Assistant Professor-Phonology” in the subject line. Although electronic submissions are preferred, hard copy applications are acceptable. Priority will be given to those applications electronically received by or postmarked by December 2, 2016.

Address to: Chair, Hiring Committee, Department of Linguistics, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, 1890 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA. Applications that do not include all required documents shall be considered incomplete, and will not be considered.

CLOSING DATE: Continuous recruitment: Evaluation of applications and supporting materials will begin as applications are received and continue until the position is filled. Applications received by December 2, 2016 will be given priority.

INQUIRIES: Same address as application (

Phone: 808-956-8602.

The University of Hawai‘i is an equal opportunity/affirmative action institution. UH does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, age, disability or veteran status.


Discussion: Pokeman names in English and elsewhere

From Shigeto Kawahara

My students and I wrote up a paper on a few sound symbolic patterns in Japanese pokemon names, where we show that mora counts and voiced obstruents affect pokemon characters’ weight, size, and strength. The paper can be downloaded at (see also the separate Phonolist post for the abstract).

A natural follow-up question is, what about English names? I did a quick and dirty analysis addressing the same question about voiced obstruents using English pokemon names, based on orthography, which is attached to this email. Although the correlations are there, they are much weaker. But there’s an obvious flaw in this analysis; since the numbers of voiced obstruents are counted based on orthography, for example, “pidgotto” is considered to have two voiced obstruents, one for “d” and one for “g”.

Some other linguists have an intuition that in English, vowels are crucial. But obviously, automatically extracting phonetic vowel quality from orthography is not an easy task.

The bottom line: I am looking for interested researchers (or students) for collaboration who would convert the English names to some kind of transcription so that we can do a similar analysis in English. Of course if somebody can do a different language other than English, that’d be much welcome as well.

Also I’d love to have an open forum for discussion of this general project.


Kawahara et al. (2016) – Sound (Symbolic) Patterns in Pokemon Names: Focusing on Voiced Obstruents and Mora Counts

Sound (Symbolic) Patterns in Pokemon Names: Focusing on Voiced Obstruents and Mora Counts
Shigeto KawaharaAtsushi NotoGakuji Kumagai
direct link:
November 2016

This paper presents a case study of sound symbolism, cases in which certain sounds tend to be associated with particular meanings. The current study uses the corpus of all pokemon names available as of October 2016. This paper explores the effects of voiced obstruents and mora counts in Japanese pokemon names, and reveals that both of them impact pokemon characters’ size, weight, strength parameters, and evolution levels. In particular, the number of voiced obstruents in pokemon names positively correlates with size, weight, evolution levels, and general strength parameters, except for speed. We argue that this result is compatible with the Frequency Code Hypothesis proposed by Ohala. The number of moras in pokemon names positively correlates with size, weight, evolution levels and all strength parameters. Multiple regression analyses show that the effects of voiced obstruents and those of mora counts hold independently of one another. Not only does this paper offer a new case study of sound symbolism, it provides evidence that sound symbolism is at work when naming proper nouns. In general, the materials provided in this paper should be useful for undergraduate education in linguistics and psychology to attract students’ interests, as pokemon is very popular among current students.

Format: pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003196
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: submitted
keywords: sound symbolism, japanese, phonetics, voiced obstruents, mora counts, pokemon, phonology

Hejná (2016) – Pre-aspiration: manual on acoustic analyses 1.1

Pre-aspiration: manual on acoustic analyses 1.1
Michaela Hejná
direct link:
October 2016 The last 15 years have seen an increase of interest in analyses of pre-aspiration. This work presents a manual that provides advice on how to carry out acoustic analyses of the phenomenon and what to be cautious about.

Format: pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003184
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in:
keywords: pre-aspiration, acoustic analyses, local breathiness, phonology

Jarrah (2016): Weightlessness Preservation in Jordanian Arabic Varieties: A Stratal OT Analysis

Direct link:

ROA: 1294
Title: Weightlessness Preservation in Jordanian Arabic Varieties: A Stratal OT Analysis
Authors: Marwan Jarrah
Length: 13pp







This research explores the morphological form of 2nd person possessive clitics in Jordanian Arabic varieties within Stratal OT. It assumes that possessive clitics formation in these varieties undergoes two levels of constraint interaction, namely the stem level and the word level. Additionally, it argues that the surface differences between these varieties regarding formation of 2nd person possessive clitics is reducible to the relevant ranking of one constraint that bans weightless consonants of the input to have moraic weight in the output, at the word level where inputs can be constrained. This constraint is coined as NONFINAL(c)-IO. The argument is that in Mainstream Jordanian Arabic, NONFINAL(c)-IO outranks LINEARITY-IO, hence the possibility for metathesis as a repair strategy when the input of level 2 includes a weightless consonant (yielding, as a result, the surface form -ik). On the other hand, in the so-called Karaki Arabic, the order between NONFINAL(c)-IO and LINEARITY-IO is reversed (LINEARITY-IO >> NONFINAL(c)-IO), the matter which excludes metathesis as a repair strategy (yielding, as a result, the surface form -ki). The study shows that other repair strategies, including deletion and insertion, are blocked in Karaki Arabic, given that NONFINAL(c)-IO is outranked by *COMPLEXONS, *COMPLEXCOD, MAX-IO, and DEP-IO.
Type: Paper/tech report
Keywords: Weightless consonants, Jordanian Arabic, Stratal OT



Hall, Hume, Jaeger & Wedel (2016) The Message Shapes Phonology.

Direct link:


Based on a diverse and complementary set of theoretical and empirical findings, we describe an approach to phonology in which sound patterns are shaped by the trade-off between biases supporting message transmission accuracy and resource cost. We refer to this approach as Message-Oriented Phonology. The evidence suggests that these biases influence the form of messages, defined with reference to a language’s morphemes, words or higher levels of meaning, rather than influencing phonological categories directly. Integrating concepts from information theory and Bayesian inference with the existing body of phonological research, we propose a testable model of phonology that makes quantitative predictions. Moreover, we show that approaching language as a system of message transfer provides greater explanatory coverage of a diverse range of sound patterns.


Assistant Professor in Phonology (Tenure-Track), Georgetown University

The Department of Linguistics at Georgetown University invites applications for a position as Assistant Professor (tenure-track) with a specialization in Phonology.

We seek candidates who have a record of excellence in research and teaching. The successful candidate will be able to teach introductory courses in general linguistics, phonology and morphology, as well as advanced courses in their area of specialization.  We seek applicants with research interests in morphophonology, and in formal and computational models.  Applicants with research interests in language acquisition or language documentation are also encouraged to apply.

The appointment will start on August 1, 2017. Applicants must have completed all requirements for the Ph.D. degree by the time of the appointment.

Georgetown University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer fully dedicated to achieving a diverse faculty and staff.  All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, sex, sexual orientation, age, religion, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability or other categories protected by law.

Applications should be received by November 30 for full consideration. Dossiers should include a letter of application, curriculum vitae, one to three representative publications, and names (with contact information) of three references.

Complete application materials must be submitted via email to: Mr. Conor Sinclair, Please send application materials as PDF files in a zipped folder with the applicant’s name.  The words Phonology Search and the applicant’s name should appear in the subject line.  Applications should be addressed to: Phonology Search Committee, Department of Linguistics, Georgetown University, 1437 37th Street NW, Box 571051, Washington, DC 20057-1051, USA. Inquiries about the search can be sent to Prof. Elizabeth Zsiga. (


Urek (2016): Palatalization in Latvian

Direct link:

ROA: 1293
Title: Palatalization in Latvian
Authors: Olga Urek
Length: 310
Abstract: Palatalization is very commonly attested across languages and has sparked considerable interest in fields like linguistic typology, phonetics, and phonology. However, palatalization notoriously exhibits a large degree of diversity, both cross-linguistically and within individual languages, which, on the one hand, precludes a straightforward phonetic explanation, and, on the other hand, poses considerable challenges for formal phonological accounts striving to provide a unified analysis of all processes subsumed under this cover term. In this dissertation, I undertake a systematic investigation of a group of palatalization processes in Modern Standard Latvian, namely assimilatory palatalization, diminutive palatalization, and palatal assimilation in consonant clusters. The intricate Latvian patterns have hitherto received very little attention in the generative phonological literature. The relatively narrow empirical focus of this work made it possible to examine the phenomena in considerable depth and to uncover some regularities and dependencies that have been previously overlooked. I develop a representational and constraint-based analysis of Latvian palatalization. The substance-free approach to a process that has traditionally been regarded as a classic example of a phonetically motivated rule developed in this thesis provides a descriptively adequate, explanatory and formally simple analysis of assimilation patterns that posed considerable challenges for traditional phonetically-driven approaches, while at the same time revealing a complex inter-relation of different phonological and morphological phenomena within a given grammar.
Type: Dissertation
Keywords: Phonology, Palatalization, diminutive palatalization, sC. clusters, Optimality Theory, feature geometry, Parallel Structures Model, Latvian



Ball and Müller (2016): Challenging Sonority

Just published!


Challenging Sonority

Cross-Linguistic Evidence

Edited by Martin J. Ball and Nicole Müller, both at Linköping University

Series: Studies in Phonetics and Phonology, edited by Martin J. Ball and Pascal van Lieshout

HB 9781781792278

£70 / $120

462pp, 47 figures

Quote the code Sonority and receive 25% off when ordering from the book page: