Monthly Archives: April 2018

Lecturer in Phonology position at Rice

The Department of Linguistics at Rice University (Houston, Texas) is now accepting applications for a lecturer position to begin August 1, 2018. The candidate should have research expertise related to speech perception, experimental phonetics, and/or laboratory phonology, with broader relevance to the cognitive sciences. Experience recording and analyzing language-in-use in local speech communities (either underdocumented/endangered languages, or minority varieties of English) is also desirable. This is a one-year appointment with strong possibility of renewal contingent on performance.
The successful applicant will be asked to teach two undergraduate courses per semester, including our large Introduction to Linguistics course, courses in Phonetics/Phonology, and a course related to empirical research or computational modeling. S/he will also be expected to participate in departmental activities and contribute to the mentoring of undergraduate students in the Linguistics Department and/or the Cognitive Science Program.
We especially welcome applications from researchers who share the department’s interest in approaching language from a usage-based perspective with solid empirical grounding in primary data, and approaches of a cognitive, social-interactional, and/or functional nature. See also our department website at
The deadline for receipt of applications is May 24th, 2018.  PhD is required by time of appointment.
Application materials include: (1) cover letter, (2) CV, (3) teaching statement, (4) sample of written work, and (5) names and contact information for three references, who will be contacted for short-listed applicants. Past teaching evaluations and/or information about course topics the applicant could teach are also welcome but not required at this time.

Equal Opportunity Employer-
Females/Minorities/Veterans/Disabled/Sexual Orientation/Gender Identity

Please upload your application materials to the following address (hardcopy and email applications will not be considered):


Kawahara (2018) – Acquisition of sound symbolic values of vowels and voiced obstruents by Japanese children: Using a Pokémonastic paradigm

Acquisition of sound symbolic values of vowels and voiced obstruents by Japanese children: Using a Pokémonastic paradigm
Shigeto Kawahara
direct link:
April 2018
Recent studies on sound symbolism have demonstrated that in Japanese Poke ́mon names, the number of voiced obstruents in their names positively correlates with their evolution levels. This correlation is likely to have its roots in the sound symbolic relationship between voiced obstruents and largeness/heaviness/strengths. This study shows that when Japanese children are provided with two non-existing names and a pair of pre-evolution and post-evolution Pokemon characters, they are more likely to associate names having voiced obstruents with post-evolution Pokmon characters. The experiment also shows that Japanese children associate post-evolution characters more with [a] than with [i], which shows that they are sensitive to vocalic sound symbolism as well. [The authors: Kawahara, Shigeto, Miwa Isobe, Yukino Kobayashi, Tomoko Monou and Reiko Okabe].

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003974
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: under review
keywords: sound symbolism, acquisition, voiced obstruents, vowels, phonology

Kawahara & Shaw (2018) – Persistence of prosody

Persistence of prosody
Shigeto Kawahara, Jason Shaw
direct link:
April 2018
Segments or prosody, which comes first? In this paper we address this general issue of the relationship between segments and prosody by examining the consequences of vowel deletion for syllabification. Our main empirical focus is Japanese. The EMA study by Shaw & Kawahara (2018) showed that Japanese [u] optionally deletes in devoicing environments, yielding consonant clusters. Both phonological and phonetic evidence reviewed here suggests that these consonant clusters are parsed heterosyllabically. The current results imply a rather surprising conclusion that Japanese allows consonantal syllables headed by a fricative or an affricate, a conclusion that is especially surprising in light of the view that considers Japanese a “strict CV-language”

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003973
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: under review (Comments very welcome!)
keywords: phonetics, syllables, mora, prosody, ema, japanese, vowel devoicing, phonology

Shaw & Kawahara (2018) – Predictability and Phonology: Past, Present & Future

Predictability and Phonology: Past, Present & Future
Jason Shaw, Shigeto Kawahara
direct link:
April 2018
Many papers in this special issue grew out of the talks given at the Symposium “The role of predictability in shaping human language sound patterns,” held at Western Sydney University (Dec, 10-11, 2016). Some papers were submitted in response to an open call; others were invited contributions. This introduction aims to contextualize the papers in the special issue within a broader theoretical context, focusing on what it means for phonological theory to incorporate gradient predictability, what questions arise as a consequence, and how the papers in this issue address these questions. (Introduction to a special issue in Linguistic Vanguard).

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003972
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Linguistic Vanguard
keywords: phonetics, predictability, probabilistic grammar, entropy, surprisal, information theory, phonology

Newell (2018) – There are no Bracketing Paradoxes, or How to be a Modular Grammarian

There are no Bracketing Paradoxes, or How to be a Modular Grammarian
Heather Newell
direct link:
March 2018
This paper has as its central concern the proposition in Marantz (1987) that Bracketing Paradoxes (BP) have deep implications for the (in)correctness of certain proposals within the domain of generative phonology. Where it differs from Marantz’ account, and from every previous account of BPs is in the absence of an appeal to ad-hoc tools to eliminate the paradoxical derivations. It is argued herein that a theory in which phonological representations are limited to linear strings (no Prosodic Hierarchy), and where phonological operations must be triggered via phonological means (no Level-specific morphological diacritics) that Bracketing Paradoxes cease to exist. The necessary conclusion arising from this analysis is that problematic derivations like BPs signal important flaws in our theoretical proposals.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003964
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in:
keywords: bracketing paradoxes. cvcv phonology, prosodic hierarchy, lexical morphology and phonology, particle verbs, reduplication, morphology, syntax, phonology

Katz (2018) – Grouping in music and language

Grouping in music and language
Jonah Katz
direct link:
March 2018
This paper reviews evidence concerning the nature of grouping in music and language, and attempts to draw from this topic some general lessons about music, language, and cognition more generally. The two domains both involve correspondence between auditory discontinuities and group boundaries, reflecting the Gestalt principles of proximity and similarity, as well as a nested, hierarchical organization of constituents. There are also obvious differences between musical and linguistic grouping. Grappling with those differences requires one to think in detail about modularity, information flow, levels of description, and the functional nature of cognitive domains.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003938
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Annual Review of Linguistics 2019
keywords: music, language, grouping, prosody, modularity, syntax, phonology

Schwarz, Sonderegger & Goad (2018) – Realization and representation of Nepali laryngeal contrasts: Voiced aspirates and laryngeal realism

Realization and representation of Nepali laryngeal contrasts: Voiced aspirates and laryngeal realism
Martha Schwarz, Morgan Sonderegger, Heather Goad
direct link:
March 2018
Theories of Laryngeal Realism argue for a tight correspondence between a segment’s phonetic cues and the (laryngeal) phonological features that represent it. As such, the ‘p’/’b’ contrast in French, expressed phonetically by vocal fold vibration during the stop closure, is represented by a [voice] feature while the ‘p’/’b’ contrast in English, expressed phonetically by contrasting long and short lag VOT, is represented by a [spread] feature. Laryngeal realist literature focuses on whether a given segment is best represented by [voice] or [spread], and proposes a set of criteria and tests by which to diagnose the representation. In this study we push laryngeal realist theory in a new direction — to segments proposed to be specified for both [voice] and [spread] features — a combination which poses challenges to the current diagnostics. To do so, we analyze acoustic data from Nepali, an Indo-Aryan language with a single class of stops described as both voiced and aspirated. We apply the same criteria and diagnostics used in laryngeal realism. We find support for the proposed representation, with a caveat that the [voice] feature appears stronger than [spread].

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003936
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in:
keywords: phonetics, laryngeal realism, vot, nepali, indo-aryan, laryngeal timing, phonology

Hyman and Plank, eds. (2018) Phonological Typology

A new collection of papers on “Phonological Typology” edited by Larry Hyman and Frans Plank has just been published ( The table of contents is below.

Larry M. Hyman

What is phonological typology?  1

Frans Plank

An implicational universal to defy: typology ⊃ ¬ phonology ≡ phonology ⊃¬ typology ≡ ¬ (typology ᴧ phonology) ≡ ¬ typology v ¬ phonology 21

Paul Kiparsky

Formal and empirical issues in phonological typology  54

Ian Maddieson

Is phonological typology possible without (universal) categories?  107

Jeffrey Heinz

The computational nature of phonological generalizations 126

Anthony Brohan and Jeff Mielke

Frequent segmental alternations in P-base 3  196

Aditi Lahiri

Predicting universal phonological contrasts  229

B. Elan Dresher, Christopher Harvey, and Will Oxford

Contrastive feature hierarchies as a new lens on typology 273

Ellen Broselow

Laryngeal contrasts in second language phonology  312

Tomas Riad

The phonological typology of North Germanic accent 341

Carlos Gussenhoven

Prosodic typology meets phonological representations 389


Morris Halle memorial

From David Pesetsky
A memorial for Morris Halle will take place at MIT on Saturday, May 5, 2018.  So we can estimate the number of attendees, please register at the following site if you are planning to come:
The exact time and location will be announced once they have been determined — by email to those who have registered as well as on the MIT Linguistics website, on Whamit, and on our Facebook page.  We hope to livestream the event, and make the video available online, but these details will also be confirmed in a later announcement.

PhonFest: Registration open, submission deadline extended to April 15

Registration is now open for PhonFest 2018, a symposium on phonetic and phonological documentation.

“Mixing it up: from the lab to the field and back again.”
May 29 – June 2, 2018 ~ Indiana University, Bloomington

Description: While language science is moving in an ever more experimental direction, and tightly controlled experiments in lab settings can generate invaluable information about human language, such studies are not always possible, realistic, or productive in the context of actual language usage. Humans are members of communities, and linguists often work in the field, in communities. Speakers are not just passive consultants, but are members of a language community, agents who ‘do’ the language. The data generated by fieldwork, which is also invaluable, presents its own challenges—including technological challenges, like how to organize and annotate records in order to render them maximally accessible and useful. PhonFest is designed to create a space for dialogue: How can practices from the lab inform our work in the field, and vice versa? How can we pull the best elements from both worlds together to strengthen the work we do? Expert speakers from the US and abroad will address these topics.

Invited speakers:
Cynthia Clopper, The Ohio State University
Christian DiCanio, University at Buffalo
Josef Fruehwald, University of Edinburgh
Marija Tabain, La Trobe University

Tues. May 29 – Fri. June 1: Invited speakers present short courses.
Sat. June 2: Conference for Fest participants to present their own work.
Mon. June 4-Thurs. June 7: Incubator week! Designated work time (in a supportive environment) to help propel your work from where it’s at to the next stage.

Learn more at rates range from $45 for IU students to $150 for outside professionals. 
Abstracts for poster presentations are invited in the following areas: 
·      documentary (acoustic, articulatory, perception, etc.) work on under-resourced languages
·      descriptive and/or sociophonetic analyses of under-resourced languages, under-served populations
·      typologically unusual sounds, contrasts, patterns
·      methodological papers; technical characterizations of novel methodologies
Abstract Submission Deadline: April 15, 2018.