Monthly Archives: January 2017

Call for papers for a special collection in Linguistics Vanguard on “The Role of Predictability in Shaping Human Language Sound Patterns”

Research integrating methods and insights from phonetics, phonology, and psycholinguistics has revealed a substantial amount of evidence for two broad trends in human language sound patterns, both related to a probabilistic notion of predictability. There is evidence now that both phonetic and phonological patterns can be influenced by various measures of local and global predictability including those defined within the phonology (e.g., phonotactic predictability) as well as the predictability of the higher level linguistic units that phonological patterns signify (i.e., message predictability). On the side of message predictability, a key observation is that there appear to be tradeoffs between the predictability of a message and the robustness with which it is articulated, resulting in phonetic variation that could over longer timescales leave us with phonologies that also reflect average message predictability, or “informativity” (e.g., Cohen Priva, 2015). These two broad trends raise a number of questions, which are the focus of this
special collection:
1. What are the consequences of probabilistic predictability for models of phonological grammar, the lexicon and phonological typology?
2. Under what conditions does variation in the predictability of a message influence its phonological and phonetic form?
3. Does message predictability interact with other phonological and phonetic principles, including constraints on speech articulation, speech perception, and prosody?
4. What are the appropriate formal tools for quantifying message predictability and phonological predictability in natural language?
5. Does message predictability impact the expression of social meaning through phonetic variation?
The target length of each article is 3000-4000 words, which is the journal’s general policy. We are therefore looking for short, concise reports. Accordingly, we expect short turn-around from submission to publication. The proposed timeline is:
Submission deadline: April 30th, 2017
Reviews returned: June 30th, 2017
Decision letters: August 1st, 2017
Revisions: September 30th, 2017
Papers will appear online as they are finalized. We hope to have all papers published by the end of 2017.
Linguistics Vanguard is an online, multimodal journal published by De Gruyter Mouton. Because the journal is only published online, special collections serve as “virtual special issues” and are linked by shared keywords. Details about the journal can be found at Linguistics Vanguard strives for a very quick turn-around time from submission to publication.
Inclusion of multimodal content designed to integrate interactive content (including, but not limited to audio and video, images, maps, software code, raw data, hyperlinks to external databases and any other media enhancing the traditional written word) is particularly encouraged. Special collections contributors should follow general submission guidelines for the journal (
Authors will have free access to the entire special collection. There are no publication costs. All authors may post a pdf on their personal website and/or institutional repository a year after publication. In addition, the introduction, which contains a summary of each article, will be fully freely accessible.
Any questions can be addressed to the special collection editors: Shigeto Kawahara ( and Jason A. Shaw (

Lloret and Pons-Moll (2016): Catalan Vowel Epenthesis as Evidence for the Free Ride Approach to Morphophonemic Learning

Direct link:

ROA: 1296
Title: Catalan Vowel Epenthesis as Evidence for the Free Ride Approach to Morphophonemic Learning
Authors: Maria-Rosa Lloret, Claudia Pons-Moll
Comment: Final version in Linguistic Inquiry. Winter 2016, Vol. 47, No. 1: 147-157, available at:
Length: 10
Abstract: Although the discovery of underlying representations (URs) is a complex

task that may be conditioned by various factors (see, e.g., Albright

2002), it has traditionally been claimed to be quite straightforward

when the UR is revealed by productive and transparent morphophonemic

alternations and when there is a clear and regular phonological

condition in the language that justifies the disparities between the

presumed UR and the corresponding surface representation. Among

other possible scenarios (see, e.g., Albright 2008, Kager 2008, Pater

et al. 2012), uncertainty appears when these morphophonemic alternations

do not exist, when they are not fully productive and transparent,

or when more than one interpretation of the UR is possible. This is

the case of the URs of words beginning with esC – in Catalan, which

we discuss here.


The purpose of this squib is twofold. On the empirical side, we

provide new arguments for the epenthetic nature of the vowel in esC –

words, arising from the interaction between potential word-initial

vowel epenthesis and underapplication of vowel reduction

(VR) in Majorcan Catalan. On the theoretical side,

we show how Majorcan Catalan learners take a “free ride” (McCarthy

2005) in the process of constructing the UR of nonalternating forms

involving esC – initials by generalizing the pattern–and the subsequent

input-output mapping–observed in cases with transparent morphophonemic

alternations and a similar syllabification problem.

Type: Paper/tech report
Keywords: phonology, UR, morphophonemic learning, free-ride, richness of the base, lexicon optimization, vowel epenthesis, Catalan



Phonology position at Goethe University Frankfurt

The Faculty of Modern Languages at the Goethe University Frankfurt welcomes applications for the following full time position:

Professorship (W2, tenure track) in Linguistics/Phonology

The initial tenure track appointment is for six years (§ 64 of the Higher Education Act of the State of Hessen (HHG)). Upon positive evaluation, the incumbent will be promoted to a permanent position at a higher level (W3).

The successful candidate will be responsible for research and teaching in Linguistics/Phonology. Applicants should have an internationally renowned research record in phonology with a particular focus on prosody.

Participation in joint research activities is expected. The successful candidate will teach courses in general linguistics and in German linguistics at the undergraduate and graduate levels and in teacher training programs. Since the successful candidate will also be involved in teacher training, experience in transferring linguistic knowledge to the school domain is desirable.

All candidates must have completed his/her Ph.D. and habilitation or must be able to demonstrate an equivalent qualification.

The designated salary for the position is initially based on “W2” on the German university scale or equivalent. Goethe University is committed to increasing the proportion of female scientific staff and therefore encourages women particularly to apply. For further information regarding the general conditions for professorship appointments, please see: .

Highly qualified academics are invited to submit their applications accompanied by the usual documents (curriculum vitae, copy of transcripts for all degrees completed, publication list, records of teaching experience, research abroad, and extramural funding) within 4 weeks after the publication of this announcement (deadline 2017-02-02) per E-Mail to Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität, Dekanin des Fachbereichs Neuere Philologien,