Monthly Archives: September 2017

LabPhon abstract deadline Nov. 15th, 2017

The 16th Conference on Laboratory Phonology (LabPhon16)
Date: 19-Jun-2018 – 22-Jun-2018
Location: University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal
Contact Email:
Meeting URL:

LabPhon16: Variation, development and impairment: Between phonetics and phonology

Abstract submission is now open for the 16th Conference on Laboratory Phonology.

LabPhon16 will feature thematic and non-thematic sessions of oral and poster presentations. Submissions on any aspect of laboratory phonology are welcome. Contributions relating to the conference themes are encouraged, as well as student submissions. Reduced registration fees are available for students, and a number of travel grants will be awarded on a competitive basis for graduate student presenters.

Deadline: November 15, 2017
Notification of acceptance: February 15, 2018
Abstracts must be submitted through EasyChair, using the link provided in the LabPhon16 website (

Call for satellite workshop proposals

The LabPhon16 Organizing Committee invites proposals for satellite workshops. Workshops may be proposed on any topic related to laboratory phonology. Workshops will be held on the afternoon of June 19 and the morning of June 23, at the School of Arts and Humanities of the University of Lisbon.

Deadline for workshop proposals: November 1, 2017
Workshop notification of acceptance: November 15, 2017
Please submit your proposal via email in pdf format to .

For abstract submission and workshop proposal guidelines, please visit the LabPhon16 website.

Questions can be addressed to
Updates will appear on and


Workshop on the Emergence of Universals

Workshop on the Emergence of Universals

February 18-19, 2018

Ohio State University

Abstract deadline October 31, 2017

One of the central questions in linguistics concerns the nature of the commonalities that languages share, as well as the source of those commonalities.  The dominant paradigm in the study of universals has for a long time been based on the concept of a Universal Grammar: an innate cognitive module containing both substantive and formal prescriptions for the construction of all and any human language. In recent years, however, another strand of research has developed that entertains the idea that universals, or universal tendencies, may be traceable to mechanisms external to linguistic competence narrowly defined. Such mechanisms include the ways in which all languages are transferred and mis-transferred across generations and speakers; the way humans create and populate conceptual categories of all kinds; the constraints on sequential auditory processing, the speed of physical articulators, and the integration of multiple sources of sensory information; among others. These forces may act in the short term, shaping the structure of individual utterances, over longer periods of time in the accumulation of incremental changes to how languages are spoken, and/or in the evolution of human language from pre-linguistic communication.

This workshop invites submissions on the topic of language universals across all time scales and all domains of linguistics. Papers should specifically investigate the hypothesis that such universals may not be directly specified in human DNA, but might emerge multiple times across different languages due to the common forces that shape those languages.

Invited Speakers:

Juliette Blevins, CUNY Graduate Center

Morten Christiansen, Cornell University

Jeff Mielke, North Carolina State University

Rebecca Morley, The Ohio State University

Elliott Moreton, University of North Carolina


Tenure-Track Faculty Position in Phonology @ BU

From Charles Chang (e-mail:
The Linguistics Program at Boston University invites applications for a tenure-track Assistant Professor of Linguistics, with a specialization in Phonology, to begin July 1, 2018, pending budgetary approval. The candidate will teach courses in Phonology and in related areas (e.g., Phonetics, Morphology) and advise at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Additional expertise in any of the following areas is desirable, but not required: acquisition; computational approaches to the study of languages; linguistic variation; psycholinguistics and/or cognitive neuroscience; understudied or under-documented languages. Requirements include a PhD in Linguistics in hand by the start date, a strong background in linguistic theory, and demonstrated excellence in teaching, advising, and research.
Application materials, including cover letter, curriculum vitae, research statement, teaching statement, teaching evaluations and/or other documentation of success in teaching, three selected publications, and three reference letters (to be uploaded by recommenders) should be uploaded as individual PDF files through Academic Jobs Online: . For full consideration, applications should be complete by October 20, 2017. Boston University expects excellence in teaching and in research and is committed to building a culturally, racially and ethnically diverse scholarly community.
We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law. We are a VEVRAA Federal Contractor.
Inquiries should be directed to Prof. Jon Barnes, Chair of the Search Committee, at .

Shih and Inkelas 2017: Autosegmental Aims in Surface Optimizing Phonology

Direct link:

ROA: 1319
Title: Autosegmental Aims in Surface Optimizing Phonology
Authors: Stephanie Shih, Sharon Inkelas
Length: 70 pp
Abstract: We develop a novel optimization approach to tone. Its grammatical component consists of the similarity- and proximity-based correspondence constraint framework of Agreement by Correspondence theory (ABC). Its representational component, Q Theory, decomposes segments (Q) into temporally ordered, quantized subsegments (q), which comprise unitary sets of distinctive features, including tone. ABC+Q unites phonological alternations and static lexical patterns, as we illustrate with a programmatic survey of core tonal phenomena: assimilation, dissimilation, lexical tone melodies, and consonant-tone interaction. ABC+Q surmounts long-standing problems for autosegmental-era, multi-tiered representational approaches to tone, and unites tone and segmental phonology under the modern umbrella of correspondence theory.
Type: Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords: tone, phonology, Agreement by Correspondence, Q Theory, Autosegmental Phonology, Optimality Theory

Kawahara and Lee 2017: Truncation in Message-Oriented Phonology: A case study using Korean vocative truncation

Direct link:

ROA: 1320
Title: Truncation in Message-Oriented Phonology: A case study using Korean vocative truncation
Authors: Kawahara, Shigeto, Lee, Seunghun
Comment: To appear in Linguistics Vanguard
Length: 15pp
Abstract: This paper analyzes the vocative truncation pattern in Korean from the viewpoint of Message-Oriented Phonology (MOP: Hall et al. 2016), which capitalizes on the idea that sound patterns are governed by a principle that makes message transfer effective. In the traditional naming pattern, Korean first names consist of a generation marker and a unique portion, and the order between these two elements alternates between generations. To derive vocative forms, the generation marker is truncated, and the suffixal [(j)a] is attached to the unique portion. We argue that MOP naturally predicts this type of truncation. As the generation marker is shared by all the members of the same generation, the generation marker is highly predictable and hence does not reduce uncertainty about the intended message. To achieve effective communication, predictable portions are deleted. To the extent that our analysis is on the right track, it implies that MOP is relevant not only to phonetic implementation patterns, but also to (morpho-)phonological patterns. It also provides support to MOP based on data from a non-Indo-European language. Finally, we aim to integrate insights of MOP with a more formal proposal like Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky 1993/2004), by relating the predictability of a contrast to the ranking of the faithfulness constraint that it protects, following the spirit of the P-map hypothesis (Steriade 2001/2008).
Type: Paper/tech report
Keywords: Phonetics, phonology, morphology, truncation, predictability



Kastner and Adriaans 2017: Linguistic Constraints on Statistical Word Segmentation: The Role of Consonants in Arabic and English

Title: Linguistic Constraints on Statistical Word Segmentation: The Role of Consonants in Arabic and English
Authors: Itamar Kastner and Frans Adriaans
Journal: Cognitive Science

Year: 2017
Keywords: Statistical learning; Word segmentation; Arabic; Language acquisition; Morphology

Abstract: Statistical learning is often taken to lie at the heart of many cognitive tasks, including the acquisition of language. One particular task in which probabilistic models have achieved considerable success is the segmentation of speech into words. However, these models have mostly been tested against English data, and as a result little is known about how a statistical learning mechanism copes with input regularities that arise from the structural properties of different languages. This study focuses on statistical word segmentation in Arabic, a Semitic language in which words are built around consonantal roots. We hypothesize that segmentation in such languages is facilitated by tracking consonant distributions independently from intervening vowels. Previous studies have shown that human learners can track consonant probabilities across intervening vowels in artificial languages, but it is unknown to what extent this ability would be beneficial in the segmentation of natural language. We assessed the performance of a Bayesian segmentation model on English and Arabic, comparing consonant-only representations with full representations. In addition, we examined to what extent structurally different proto-lexicons reflect adult language. The results suggest that for a child learning a Semitic language, separating consonants from vowels is beneficial for segmentation. These findings indicate that probabilistic models require appropriate linguistic representations in order to effectively meet the challenges of language acquisition.