Monthly Archives: November 2017

Staroverov and Kavitskaya (2017) – Tundra Nenets consonant sandhi as coalescence

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Title: Tundra Nenets consonant sandhi as coalescence
Authors: Peter Staroverov, Darya Kavitskaya
Comment: The Linguistic Review 34(2): 331-364 (preprint)
Length: 29 pp
Abstract: Consonant cluster simplification in Tundra Nenets coexists with other consonantal alternations, such as fricative strengthening, lenition of stops, and a variety of NC-effects, which all apply within the same phrasal domain. These processes interact with each other, suggesting an opaque ordering within the same post-lexical domain and thus presenting a challenge not only for inherently parallel theories like classical Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 2004), but also for the cyclic derivational approaches such as Stratal OT (Kiparsky 2000; Bermúdez-Otero 2011). We analyze all instances of Tundra Nenets cluster simplification as coalescence and show that a variety of apparently opaque alternations accompanying cluster simplification can be seen as transparent on this account. We also argue that strengthening in consonant clusters is caused by an intermediate stage where coda obstruents lose their place and turn into a glottal stop.
Type: Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords: tundra nenets, uralic, optimality theory, cluster simplification, coalescence, cyclicity, opacity, stratal ot, morphology, phonology

Phonology Lecturer Position at UC Berkeley

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Lecturer —  Phonology — UC Berkeley
Expected start date: July 1, 2018

The Department of Linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, is seeking a one-year appointment for one, full-time lecturer in phonology with the expectation of renewal for a second year. Duties each semester will include teaching one undergraduate and one graduate course, mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in their research, oversight of a phonology working group, responsibility for a weekly phonology reading group, and active engagement in the life of the department. Salary will be based on the University pay scale for lecturers, between $53,402–$65,064, commensurate with experience.

The Ph.D. (or equivalent degree) in Linguistics or related field is required by the start date of the appointment; all degree requirements other than the dissertation must be complete at the time of application. Applicants must be able to teach courses at all levels in phonology, including seminars in phonological theory for advanced graduate students. For those who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents, a legal permit that allows work in the United States (such as a U.S. visa that allows employment) is required by the start date of the position. The department is unable to provide a visa/work permit for this position.

Applicants should have a broad intellectual engagement in linguistics and a research specialization in phonology. Applicants whose research interfaces with neighboring disciplines such as phonetics, morphology, syntax, or historical linguistics, are encouraged to apply, as are applicants who are engaged in fieldwork projects or employ experimental, computational, or corpus methods in their work.

The Department of Linguistics and the University of California, Berkeley, recognize and value contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion ( is external)). We encourage applicants to include a Statement of Contributions to Diversity to discuss how their research, teaching, service, and outreach activities contribute to enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. We welcome applications from those who have had non-traditional career paths, have achieved excellence in careers outside academia, or have taken time off for personal reasons. UC Berkeley has a number of policies and programs to support employees as they balance work and family.

Applications should include a cover letter, a curriculum vitae, a research statement, a statement of teaching experience and philosophy, and copies of representative written work (1 to 5 items may be submitted). Applications must contain evidence of teaching excellence or potential (included or summarized in the statement of teaching experience). Applicants are encouraged to submit syllabi for both an undergraduate and graduate Phonology course, previously taught or proposed. Applicants should also provide contact information for 2-5 letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation will only be solicited for applicants under serious consideration. All letters will be treated as confidential per University of California policy and California state law. Please refer potential referees, including when letters are provided via a third party (i.e., dossier service or career center) to the UC Berkeley statement of confidentiality at is external) prior to submitting their letters. Please submit all materials electronically at is external). This position will remain open until filled, and applications will be accepted through January 15, 2018. A short list of candidates will be interviewed by Skype in February. Questions can be sent to Paula Floro at

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age or protected veteran status. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: is external).


Abu-Mansour (2017): The Role of the OCP and Syllable Structure in Arabic Hypocoristics

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ROA: 1329
Title: The Role of the OCP and Syllable Structure in Arabic Hypocoristics
Authors: Mahasen Abu-Mansour
Length: 36 pages
Abstract: This paper provides further insights into the role of the lexical versus output root in the phonology of Arabic. Data from Makkan Arabic hypocoristic formation show that native speakers have access to the lexical or underlying root consonants even when they are absent from the actual name. The present Optimality-Theoretic analysis shows that there is only one native pattern of hypocoristic formation in Makkan Arabic with two manifestations, C1aC2C2uuC3 and C1aC2C2u. Syllable structure constraints and the OCP account for the apparent differences between these two forms, as well as for the failure of names related to glide-medial and glide-final roots to form C1aC2C2uuC3 hypocoristics. Names related to glide-final roots form C1aC2C2u hypocoristics where the deletion of the final glide avoids violation of syllable structure constraints. The findings in this paper call for further research on the issue of output vs. lexical root in Arabic hypocoristic formation.
Type: Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords: Phonology, OCP, syllable structure, hypocoristic formation (OT Analysis), Arabic, lexical vs. output root

Emile Enguehard, Edward Flemming, Giorgio Magri (2017) – Statistical learning theory and linguistic typology: a learnability perspective on OT’s strict domination

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ROA: 1330
Title: Statistical learning theory and linguistic typology: a learnability perspective on OT’s strict domination
Authors: Emile Enguehard, Edward Flemming, Giorgio Magri
Abstract: This paper develops a learnability argument for strict domination by looking at the generalization error of learners trained on OT and HG target grammars. The argument is based on both a review of error bounds in the recent statistical learning literature and simulation results on realistic phonological test cases.
Type: Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords: constraint-based phonology; strict domination; harmonic grammar; learnability; generalization error; binary classification

Elements [Second call] / Eléments [Deuxième appel]


*French version below*
The Laboratoire de Linguistique de Nantes (LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/Université de Nantes) launches a conference dedicated to Element Theory in Nantes, June 14-15 2018.
The aim of this event is to provide an overview and to open new perspectives in this research program. In doing so, we would like to open discussions regarding the phonological framework(s) that use unary primes, with a particular focus on:

– the relation with phonetics,
– the head/dependent status,
– the asymetries among primitives,
– the possible operations and
– the expansion or diminution of the element set required to characterize segments.

The above mentioned topics are open and we invite the participants to provide thoughts and criticism about the general axis we propose. There are obviously more questions that can be addressed regarding ET and we encourage any contribution that falls within this scope.

This conference aims at bringing together linguists from various areas and is not restricted to theoretical phonology. This is addressed to researchers that wish to present new topics regarding ET, but also to those who are not familiar with the most recent developments within Elements Theory and are looking for an extensive overview.

We will have the pleasure to welcome the following invited speakers:

  • Phillip Backley (Tohoku Gakuin University)
  • Elan Dresher (University of Toronto)
  • Harry van der Hulst (University of Connecticut)
  • Markus Pöchtrager (University of Vienna)
  • Jean-Luc Schwartz (GIPSA Lab)

The detailed version of the call is on our website:

The anonymized abstracts should be sent to and should not exceed 2 single-spaced pages (references and figures included), font size 12.

The important dates are:

  • 29 January 2018: deadline for submitting an abstract
  • 9 April 2018: notification to authors
  • 14-15 June 2018: Conference

The scientific committee is:

  • Jean-Pierre Angoujard (LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/University of Nantes)
  • Phillip Backley (Tohoku Gakuin University)
  • Sabrina Bendjaballah (LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/University of Nantes)
  • Jean-Marc Beltzung (LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/University of Nantes)
  • Joaquim Brandão de Carvalho (University of Paris 8)
  • Monik Charette (SOAS University of London)
  • Elan Dresher (University of Toronto)
  • Harry van der Hulst (University of Connecticut)
  • Martin Krämer (University of Tromsø)
  • Nancy Kula (University of Essex)
  • Jean Lowenstamm (University of Paris 7)
  • Kuniya Nasukawa (Tohoku Gakuin University)
  • Hitomi Onuma (Iwate Medical University / Tohoku Gakuin University)
  • Markus Pöchtrager (University of Vienna)
  • Krisztina Polgárdi (Hungarian Academy of Sciences)
  • Tobias Scheer (University of Nice Sophia Antipolis)
  • Geoff Schwartz (Adam Mickiewicz University)
  • Jean-Luc Schwartz (GIPSA Lab)
  • Péter Szigetvári (Eötvös Loránd University)
  • Ali Tifrit (LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/University of Nantes)
  • Nathalie Vallée (GIPSA Lab)
  • Laurence Voeltzel (LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/University of Nantes)

Organizing Committee :

LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/University of Nantes

  • Sabrina Bendjaballah
  • Ali Tifrit
  • Laurence Voeltzel
For more information:
Le Laboratoire de Linguistique de Nantes (LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/Université de Nantes) organise une conférence dédiée à la Théorie des Elements (ET), qui aura lieu les 14 et 15 juin 2018 à Nantes.
L’objectif est d’établir un bilan et d’ouvrir de nouvelles perspectives dans ce programme de recherche, en interrogeant le(s) modèle(s) phonologique(s) qui manipule(nt) des primitives unaires sur :

– la relation avec la phonétique,
– le statut tête/dépendant;
– les asymétries entre les primitives,
– les opérations et
– la limitation ou l’extension du nombre de primitives disponibles.

Les sujets mentionnés ci-dessus sont ouverts et nous invitons les participants à proposer une réflexion et des critiques portant sur ces axes généraux, ainsi que toute autre question qui relève d’ET.

Cette conférence a pour but d’accueillir des chercheurs d’horizons variés et ne se restreint pas à la phonologie théorique. L’événement s’adresse aux chercheurs qui souhaitent présenter de nouvelles problématiques dans le cadre de la Théorie des Eléments, mais également à ceux qui ne sont pas familiers avec les développements les plus récents d’ET et qui souhaiteraient acquérir une vue d’ensemble de ces modèles.

Nous aurons le plaisir d’accueillir comme invités :

  • Phillip Backley (Université Tohoku Gakuin)
  • Elan Dresher (Université de Toronto)
  • Harry van der Hulst (Université du Connecticut)
  • Markus Pöchtrager (Université de Vienne)
  • Jean-Luc Schwartz (GIPSA Lab)

La version complète du call est disponible sur notre site :

Les résumés sont à envoyer par mel à, sous la forme d’un fichier pdf anonyme, interligne simple, police taille 12, n’excédant pas deux pages (références et figures incluses), en anglais.
Les dates à retenir sont :

  • 29 janvier : date limite pour l’envoi des résumés
  • 9 avril : notification aux auteurs
  • 14-15 juin : conférence

Comité scientifique :

  • Jean-Pierre Angoujard (LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/Université de Nantes)
  • Phillip Backley (Université Tohoku Gakuin)
  • Sabrina Bendjaballah (LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/Université de Nantes)
  • Jean-Marc Beltzung (LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/Université de Nantes)
  • Joaquim Brandão de Carvalho (Université Paris 8)
  • Monik Charette (SOAS Université de Londres)
  • Elan Dresher (Université de Toronto)
  • Harry van der Hulst (Université du Connecticut)
  • Martin Krämer (Université de Tromsø)
  • Nancy Kula (Université d’Essex)
  • Jean Lowenstamm (Université Paris 7)
  • Kuniya Nasukawa (Université Tohoku Gakuin)
  • Hitomi Onuma (Université Iwate / Université Tohoku Gakuin)
  • Markus Pöchtrager (Université de Vienne)
  • Krisztina Polgárdi (Académie hongroise des sciences)
  • Tobias Scheer (Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis)
  • Geoff Schwartz (Université Adam Mickiewicz)
  • Jean-Luc Schwartz (GIPSA Lab)
  • Péter Szigetvári (Université Eötvös Loránd)
  • Ali Tifrit (LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/Université de Nantes)
  • Nathalie Vallée (GIPSA Lab)
  • Laurence Voeltzel (LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/Université de Nantes)

Comité d’organisation :

LLING UMR 6310 CNRS/Université de Nantes

    • Sabrina Bendjaballah
    • Ali Tifrit
  • Laurence Voeltzel

Pour plus d’information :


Samuels (2017) – Beyond markedness in formal phonology

Beyond Markedness in Formal Phonology

Edited by Bridget D. Samuels

University of Southern California

In recent years, an increasing number of linguists have re-examined the question of whether markedness has explanatory power, or whether it is a phenomenon that begs explanation itself. This volume brings together a collection of articles with a broad range of critical viewpoints on the notion of markedness in phonological theory. The contributions span a variety of phonological frameworks and relate to morphosyntax, historical linguistics, neurolinguistics, biolinguistics, and language typology. This volume will be of particular interest to phonologists of both synchronic and diachronic persuasions and has strong implications for the architecture of grammar with respect to phonology and its interfaces with morphosyntax and phonetics.

[Linguistik Aktuell/Linguistics Today, 241] 2017. xii, 237 pp.

Table of Contents

Table of contents



Bridget D. Samuels

Chapter 1.   Markedness   in   substance-free   and   substance-dependent   phonology

David Odden

Chapter 2.   Contrast   is   irrelevant   in   phonology:   A   simple   account   of   Russian   /v/   as   /V/

Charles Reiss

Chapter 3.   What   are   grammars   made   of?

Juliette Blevins

Chapter 4.   Consonant   epenthesis   and   markedness

Bert Vaux and Bridget D. Samuels

Chapter 5.   On   silent   markedness

Edoardo Cavirani and Marc van Oostendorp

Chapter 6.   The   phonetic   salience   of   phonological   head-dependent

structure   in   a   modulated-carrier   model   of   speech

Kuniya Nasukawa

Chapter 7.   Markedness   and   formalising   phonological   representations

Shanti Ulfsbjorninn

Chapter 8.   Are   there   brain   bases   for   phonological   markedness?

Mathias Scharinger

Chapter 9.   There   is   no   place   for   markedness   in   biologically-informed   phonology

Pedro Tiago Martins




Simonenko, Crabbé & Prévost (2017) – Agreement syncretisation and the loss of null subjects: quantificational models for Medieval French

Agreement syncretisation and the loss of null subjects: quantificational models for Medieval French
Alexandra Simonenko, Benoît Crabbé, Sophie Prévost
direct link:
June 2017
This paper examines the nature of the dependency between the availability of null subjects and the “richness” of verbal subject agreement, known as Taraldsen’s Generalisation (Taraldsen 1980, Rizzi 1986, Adams:1987), from the point of view of grammar change in Medieval French based on corpus data. We present a corpus-based quantitative model of the syncretisation of verbal subject agreement spanning the whole Medieval French period and evaluate two hypotheses relating agreement and null subjects: one relating the two as reflexes of the same grammatical property and a variational learning-based hypothesis whereby syncretic endings create a learning bias against the null subject grammar. We show that only the latter approach has the potential to reconcile the intuition behind Taraldsen’s Generalisation with the fact that it has proven non-trivial to formulate the notion of agreement richness in a way which would unequivocally predict whether a language has null subjects.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003491
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: manuscript under review
keywords: language change, null subjects, pro-drop, rich agreement, morphological syncretism, historical french, constant rate hypothesis, variational learning, morphology, syntax, phonology

Topintzi & Nevins (2017) – Moraic Onsets in Arrernte

Moraic Onsets in Arrernte
Nina Topintzi, Andrew Ira Nevins
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June 2017
The Australian language Arrernte has been argued by Breen & Pensalfini (1999) and Evans & Levinson (2009) to present a case of VC syllabification (vowel-consonant constituency, with coda maximization), rather than CV syllabification (consonant-vowel constituency, with onset maximization). In this paper we demonstrate that greater insights for a number of phenomena are achieved when analyzed with CV syllabification and onset consonants that are moraic, a possibility independently proposed for a wide range of languages by Topintzi (2010). Previous analyses were obliged to posit an underlying fleeting initial schwa for surface forms beginning with CV at the left edge; we demonstrate that once the full range of phenomena are considered, no such schwa is desirable, and that these words are underlyingly CV-initial. We review a range of prosodic morphology and external evidence from phonetic studies, acquisition, and musicology that points towards a CV syllabification in Arrernte and provide an analysis for the allomorphy, stress assignment, reduplication, and the transpositional language game ‘Rabbit Talk’ in terms of reference to moraic structure. The results lend themselves to new directions in the analysis of Arrernte and provide further evidence for moraic onsets in prosodic morphology.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003490
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To appear in Phonology
keywords: moraic onsets, arrernte, syllable, typology, allomorphy, stress, reduplication, phonology

Adebayo (2017) – Some diachronic changes in Yoruba grammar

Some diachronic changes in Yoruba grammar
Taofeeq Adebayo
direct link:
May 2017
The major assumption of this paper is that earliest written documents on Yoruba language may be a source of evidence for diachronic changes in the language. Using documents such as Crowther (1852) and Bowen (1858), some syntactic and phonological changes in the language are described via the formalizations of generative syntax and Optimality Theory in combination with assumptions from Historical Linguistics. A number of proposals are made for Yoruba pre-history based on the method of internal reconstruction. Using generative syntax to describe the diachronic data from Yoruba leads to a number of issues that concern some proposals in the theory. Some diachronic data are found to support Rizzi’s (1997) left periphery proposal. But a question that becomes pertinent from some other data concerns what the hierarchy is between the perfective aspect and the imperfective aspect. The paper finally shows that the combination of the methods of Historical Linguistics with those of generative theories to account for diachronic changes leads to greater theoretical refinement.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003468
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in:
keywords: left_periphery, aspectual_hirarchy, yoruba_diachronic_changes, syntax, phonology

Stanton (2017) – Constraints on the Distribution of Nasal-Stop Sequences: An Argument for Contrast [Dissertation]

Constraints on the Distribution of Nasal-Stop Sequences: An Argument for Contrast [Dissertation]
Juliet Stanton
direct link:
May 2017
It has been argued that certain typological generalizations regarding the distribution of nasal-stop sequences can be explained by explicitly referencing contrast (e.g. Herbert 1977, 1986; Jones 2000). This thesis explores the hypothesis that all generalizations regarding the distribution of nasal-stop sequences can be explained by explicitly referencing contrast, and presents the results of multiple cross-linguistic studies designed to test that hypothesis. I show first that taking into consideration cues to the contrasts between nasal-stop sequences and their component parts (nasals and stops) allows us to accurately predict generalizations regarding the distribution of phonemic nasal-stop sequences (i.e. those that are phonemically contrastive with other segment types). Following this I show that taking into consideration cues to the contrast between oral and nasal vowels allows us to accurately predict generalizations regarding the distribution of allophonic nasal-stop sequences (i.e. those not phonemically contrastive with other segment types), as well as generalizations regarding the distribution of phonemic nasal-stop sequences in the context of phonemically nasal and allophonically nasalized vowels. Broadly, the results presented here contribute to a larger body of evidence that constraints on contrast are a necessary component of the synchronic phonological grammar (following e.g. Lindblom 1986; Flemming 2002, 2008; Padgett 2009).

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003460
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: MIT dissertation
keywords: phonotactics, contrast, phonology