Monthly Archives: December 2019

Call for papers: Twenty-Eighth Manchester Phonology Meeting


Twenty-Eighth Manchester Phonology Meeting

28-30 MAY 2020

Deadline for abstracts: 9th January 2020 ** NOTE EARLIER DEADLINE THAN PREVIOUS YEARS **

Conference website:

With a special session entitled ‘Second Language Phonology and Phonological Theory’, featuring the following invited speakers:

* Ellen Broselow (Stony Brook University)
* Charles Chang (Boston University)
* Ellen Simon (Ghent University)

There will also be a Fringe Workshop on the afternoon of Wednesday 27th May, timed to coincide with the mfm, entitled ‘Moraic vs. X-Slot Syllabification: The Debate’, organised by Björn Köhnlein and Shanti Ulfsbjorninn. More details about this will be released soon.



We are pleased to announce the Twenty-Eighth Manchester Phonology Meeting (28mfm). The mfm is the UK’s annual phonology conference, with an international set of organisers. It is held in late May every year in Manchester (central in the UK, and with excellent international transport connections). The meeting has become a key conference for phonologists from all over the world, where anyone who declares themselves to be interested in phonology can submit an abstract on anything phonological in any phonological framework. In an informal atmosphere, we discuss a broad range of topics, including the phonological description of languages, issues in phonological theory, aspects of phonological acquisition and implications of phonological change.



There is no conference theme – abstracts can be submitted on anything, but a special themed session has been organised for Friday afternoon, entitled ‘Second Language Phonology and Phonological Theory’. This will feature the invited speakers listed (in alphabetical order) above and will conclude in an open discussion session when contributions from the audience will be very welcome.



** This mentions only a few details – please consult the website for full information:

* There is no obligatory conference theme for the 28mfm – abstracts can be submitted on anything phonological.

* We are using the Linguist List’s EasyAbstracts system for abstract submission. Abstracts should be uploaded to the 28mfm’s page on the EasyAbstracts site by 9th January 2020:

* Full papers will last around 25 minutes with around 5 minutes for questions, and there will be high-profile poster sessions lasting one and a half hours. When you submit your abstract, you will be asked to indicate whether you would be prepared to present your work either as a talk or a poster paper, or only as a poster.

* We aim to finalise the programme, and to contact abstract-senders during February, and we will contact all those who have sent abstracts as soon as the decisions have been made.

**Further important details** concerning abstract submission are available on the conference website. Please make sure that you consult these before submitting an abstract:



Organising Committee:

The first named is the convenor and main organiser, If you have any queries about the conference, feel free to get in touch (

* Patrick Honeybone (Edinburgh)
* Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero (Manchester)
* Patrycja Strycharczuk (Manchester)

* Michael Ramsammy (Edinburgh)

Advisory Board:
* Adam Albright (MIT)
* Jill Beckman (Iowa)
* Eulàlia Bonet (UAB)
* Stuart Davis (Indiana)
* Laura J. Downing (Gothenburg)
* Silke Hamann (Amsterdam)
* Yuni Kim (Essex)
* Björn Köhnlein (OSU)
* Martin Krämer (Tromso)
* Nancy Kula (Essex)
* Nabila Louriz (Hassan II, Casablanca)
* Kuniya Nasukawa (Tohoku Gakuin)
* Heather Newell (UQAM)
* Marc van Oostendorp (Meertens)
* Tobias Scheer (Nice)
* James M. Scobbie (QMU)
* Koen Sebregts (Utrecht)
* Jennifer L. Smith (UNC Chapel Hill)
* Juliet Stanton (NYU)
* Nina Topintzi (Thessaloniki)
* Jochen Trommer (Leipzig)
* Francesc Torres-Tamarit (Paris 8)
* Christian Uffmann (Duesseldorf)
* Ruben van de Vijver (Duesseldorf)
* Sophie Wauquier (Paris 8)
* Draga Zec (Cornell)
* Elizabeth Zsiga (Georgetown)

The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland, with registration number SC005336.


1st Call for Papers for HISPhonCog 2020 (22-23 May, Seoul)

Hanyang International Symposium on Phonetics and Cognitive Sciences of Language 2020 (22-23, May, 2020)

– Theme: Linguistic and cognitive functions of fine phonetic detail underlying sound systems and sound change

– Dates: 22-23 May, 2020

– Venue: Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea

– URL:


HIPCS (Hanyang Institute for Phonetics and Cognitive Sciences of Language), together with Department of English Language and Literature, holds its 3rd annual international symposium on current issues on phonetics and cognitive sciences of language (HISPhonCog) 2020 on 22-23 May, 2020. A special theme for HISPhonCog 2020 is ‘linguistic and cognitive functions of fine phonetic detail underlying sound systems and sound change.’


We have witnessed over past decades that the severance between phonetics and phonology has been steadily eroding along with the awareness of the importance of scalar and gradient aspects of speech in understanding the linguistic sound system and sound change. In particular, non-contrastive (subphonemic) phonetic events, which had traditionally been understood to be beyond the speaker’s control (as low-level automatic physiological phenomena), have been reinterpreted as part of the grammar. They have turned out to be either systematically linked with phonological contrasts and higher-order linguistic structures or governed by language-specific phonetic rules that make the seemingly cross-linguistically similar phonetic processes distinctive, both of which may in turn serve as driving forces for sound change. Furthermore, we have enjoyed seeing that the investigation of linguistic roles of fine phonetic detail provides insights into phonetic underpinnings of other speech variation phenomena such as socio-linguistically-driven speech variation and effects of native-language experience on production and perception of unfamiliar languages or L2.


We invite submissions for the symposium which provide some empirical (experimental) evidence for exploring any issues related to the theme of the symposium. We also wish to have a special session on Articulatory Phonology and speech dynamics bearing on the issue of how gradient and categorical aspects of human speech may be combined to serve as a cognitive linguistic unit. We will also consider general submissions that deal with other general issues in speech production and perception in L1 and L2.


Invited speakers:

Adam Albright (MIT)

Patrice Beddor (U. of Michigan)

Lisa Davidson (New York U.)

John Kingston (U. of Massachusetts, Amherst)

Donca Steriade (MIT)

Andrew Wedel (U. of Arizona)

Douglas Whalen (CUNY and Haskins Laboratory)

Alan Yu (U. of Chicago)


Call for proposals of satellite workshop (May 21)

– We are accepting proposals for one or two satellite workshops on May 21.

– Both the main conference hall and seminar rooms at the same conference venue are available for the afternoon time slots (12:00-18:00).

– We will cover the expenses incurred for the use of the space and provide refreshments.

– Send workshop proposals no later than January 15, 2020 at


(new) Publication of selected papers in a Special Issue on the theme in a journal

– Oral presentations and a limited number of selected posters will be invited to submit a full manuscript to be considered further for a possible inclusion in a Special Issue in a peer-reviewed international journal.

– Note that each selected paper will undergo standard editorial/review processes which may eventually lead to its exclusion (rejection).


Support for international participants (free accommodation)

– Free local hotel accommodation (one room for up to 3 nights per presentation) for international presenters affiliated with a foreign institute/university, travelling from abroad. (The detail will be sent to qualified individuals along with an acceptance letter.)


Free registration fees

– Free banquet, munches for breakfast, refreshments and the conference handbook

– Note: Attendees will have to pay (optionally) for lunches (10 USD or 10,000 KRW for each lunch).



– Deadline for workshop proposals: January 15, 2020.

– Deadline of submission of a two-page long abstract: March 1, 2020

– Notification of Acceptance: No later than March 20, 2020

– Free Registration with free accommodation: No later than April 10, 2020

– Satellite Workshop (if organized): May 21, 2020

– Symposium dates: May 22-23, 2020


Abstract Submission Instruction: March 1 (EasyChair)

– A PDF file of a two-page abstract (single-spaced with 12 pt font size *without* a list of authors’ names and their affiliations) should be submitted through EasyChair by March 1, 2020.

– URL for EasyChair:

(If the link does not work, please check for an update.)


Free Registration by April 10

– Pre-registration should be made by no later than April 10, 2020 to be guaranteed for free accommodation (for international presenters) and free registration (for all foreign and domestic participants and audience).

– Pre-registration form that arrives after April 10 may still be considered for free registration and accommodation, depending on the budget and availability. Please contact us at if you miss the deadline but still would like to register in advance.

– On-site registration will be possible for small fees, but with no guarantee for lunches and banquet admission.

– For further information about how to register, please check the website later.


Local Organizing Committee

Taehong Cho (Chair, HIPCS, Hanyang University, Seoul)

Sahyang Kim (Hongik University & HIPCS, Seoul)

Say Young Kim (HIPCS, Hanyang University, Seoul)

Hyechung Lee (HIPCS, Hanyang University, Seoul)


Contact: Dr. Hyechung Lee at

Organized by:

HIPCS (the Hanyang Institute for Phonetics and Cognitive Sciences of Language);

CRC for Articulatory DB and Cognitive Sciences;

Department of English Language and Literature, Hanyang University, Seoul, Korea




Youssef (2019) – The phonology and micro-typology of Arabic R

The R sound exhibits considerable variability both across and within Arabic dialects; one that covers place and manner of articulation, as well as the notorious emphatic-plain distinction. Some R phones are in contrastive distribution, while others are contextually conditioned or free variants. This article aims to establish the underlying R phonemes in the spoken varieties of Arabic, evidence of which is sought in R’s dialect-specific phonological behavior: in minimal pair contrasts, distributional phenomena, loanword phonology, and phonological processes that target or are triggered by R. Investigation of such evidence reveals four major patterns based on the nature and number of R phonemes, consequently classifying Arabic dialects into four types: the split-R dialects (primarily Maghrebi and Egyptian dialect groups), the emphatic-R dialects (the Levantine group), the plain-R dialects (the Gulf group together with most peripheral dialects), and the uvular-R dialects (the qeltu-dialects of Mesopotamia). The analysis employs a minimalist, contrast-based model of feature geometry to characterize aspects of the attested R’s – such as emphatic-ness, coronality, dorsality, and sonority – and shows that the typology is directly mirrored in the representation. This has theoretical implications as well. Diverse rhotic representations within closely related language varieties demonstrate that distinctive features should not be interpreted as rigidly as is often assumed, and call attention to the semi-arbitrary relationship between phonetics and phonology.


Published in: Glossa: A Journal of General Linguistics 4(1): 131. DOI:

Keywords: Arabic dialects; rhotics; emphatic R; uvular R; feature geometry; phonology


Ghorbanpour et al. (2019): Loanword syllable adaptation in Persian: An Optimality-theoretic account

ROA: 1363
Title: Loanword syllable adaptation in Persian: An Optimality-theoretic account
Authors: Amir Ghorbanpour, Aliyeh K. Z. Kambuziya, Mohammad Dabir-Moghaddam, Ferdows Agha-Golzadeh
Length: 32pp
Abstract: The present paper examines the process of loanword syllable adaptation in tetrasyllabic words in Persian, within an Optimality-theoretic framework. In Persian, consonant clusters are avoided in onset position. As a result, the loanwords borrowed from other languages which have complex onsets, when introduced into Persian, are adapted to fit the syllable structure of the target language. When placed word-initially, the onset cluster is generally resolved by the insertion of an epenthetic vowel. However, this vowel epenthesis occurs in a split pattern, as it does in many other languages. In this study, following Gouskova’s (2001) proposal, we argue that this split pattern in loanword syllabic adaptation can best be explained to be an effect of the Syllable Contact Law (SCL). That is, when the two segments in the onset cluster have a rising sonority sequence, the cluster is broken up by the process of anaptyxis; while in sequences of falling sonority, the cluster is resolved through the process of prothesis. It is argued that, this pattern uniformly holds true at least as far as the dictionary-derived data in the present study are concerned. For the exceptional cases of /SN/ and /SL/ clusters-not attested in our data set, but still present and frequently referred to in the literature-we propose the addition of two positional faithfulness constraints of the DEP-V/X_Y family (Fleischhacker 2001) to our set of universal constraints to account for all the possible cases of loanword syllabic adaptation in Persian.
Type: Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords: phonology, loanword, adaptation, consonant cluster, optimality theory (OT), Persian

Dockum & Bowern (2019) – Swadesh wordlists are not long enough

Swadesh wordlists are not long enough
Rikker Dockum, Claire Bowern
direct link:
May 2019
This paper presents the results of experiments on the minimally sufficient wordlist size for drawing phonological generalizations about languages. Given a limited lexicon for an under-documented language, are conclusions that can be drawn from those data representative of the language as a whole? Linguistics necessarily involves generalizing from limited data, as documentation can never completely capture the full complexity of a linguistic system. We performed a series of sampling experiments on 36 Australian languages in the Chirila database (Bowern 2016) with lexicons ranging from 2,000 to 10,000 items. The purpose was to identify the smallest wordlist size to achieve: (1) full phonemic coverage for each language, and (2) accurate phonemic distribution compared to the full dataset. We hypothesize that when these two criteria are met they represent a minimally complete sample of a language for basic phonological typology. The results show coverage is consistently achieved at an average lexicon size of approximately 400 items, regardless of the original lexicon size sampled from. These results hold broad significance, given the predominance of word lists smaller than 400 items. For fieldwork, this study also provides a guideline for designing documentation tasks in the face of limited time and resources. These results also help to make empiricallygrounded decisions about which datasets are suitable for use for which research tasks.


Burridge & Vaux (2019) – Brownian dynamics for the vowel sounds of human language

Brownian dynamics for the vowel sounds of human language
James Burridge, Bert Vaux
direct link:
November 2019
We present a model for the evolution of vowel sounds in human languages, in which words behave as Brownian particles diffusing in acoustic space, interacting via the vowel sounds they contain. Interaction forces, derived from a simple model of the language learning process, are attractive at short range and repulsive at long range. This generates sets of acoustic clusters, each representing a distinct sound, which form patterns with similar statistical properties to real vowel systems. Our formulation may be generalised to account for spontaneous self actuating shifts in system structure which are observed in real languages, and to combine in one model two previously distinct theories of vowel system structure: dispersion theory, which assumes that vowel systems maximize contrasts between sounds, and quantal theory, according to which non linear relationships between articulatory and acoustic parameters are the source of patterns in sound inventories. By formulating the dynamics of vowel sounds using inter-particle forces, we also provide a simple unified description of the linguistic notion of push and pull dynamics in vowel systems.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004904
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Language Documentation and Description
keywords: basic vocabulary, language documentation, phonology, inventories, phonology

Schlechtweg & Härtl (2019) – Do we pronounce quotation? An analysis of name-informing and non-name-informing contexts

Do we pronounce quotation? An analysis of name-informing and non-name-informing contexts
Marcel Schlechtweg, Holden Härtl
direct link:
November 2019
Quotation marks are a tool to refer to the linguistic form of an expression. For instance, in cases of so-called pure quotation as in “Hanover” has three syllables, they point to the syllabic characteristics of the name of the town of Hanover. Cases of this nature differ from sentences like Hanover is a town in New Hampshire, in which Hanover is used denotationally and, thus, refers to the town of Hanover itself. Apart from quotation marks, other means such as italics, bold, capitalization, or air quotes represent potential means to signal a non-stereotypical use of an item in the written or gestural mode. It is far less clear, however, whether acoustic correlates of quotation marks exist. The present contribution aims at investigating this issue by focusing on instances of quotation, in which the conventionalized name of a lexical concept is highlighted by means of quotation marks, either together with or without an additional lexical quotational marker, such as so-called, on the lexical level (cf. The so-called “vuvuzela” is an instrument from South Africa vs. The “vuvuzela” is an instrument from South Africa). The data clearly show that quotation marks are pronounced, primarily triggering a lengthening effect, independently of whether they appear together with or without a name-informing context. The results of the experiments are interpreted against the background of a pragmatic implementation of quotation marks in general as well as in spoken discourse in particular.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004898
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in:
keywords: dispersion theory, vowel systems, quantal theory, typology, chain shifts, phonology

Kawahara & Moore (2019) – How to express evolution in English Pokémon names

How to express evolution in English Pokémon names
Shigeto Kawahara, Jeff Moore
direct link:
November 2019
This paper is a contribution to the studies of sound symbolism, systematic relationships between sounds and meanings. Specifically, we build on a series of studies conducted within a research paradigm called “Pokémonastics,” which uses the Pokémon universe to explore sound symbolic patterns in natural languages. Inspired by a study of existing English Pokémon names (Shih et al. 2018), two experiments were conducted in which native speakers of English were provided with pairs of pre-evolution and post-evolution Pokémon characters, the latter of which were always larger. The participants were given two name choices whose members are systematically different in some phonological properties. The results show the following sound symbolic patterns to be productive: the English-speaking participants tend to associate large post-evolution characters with (1) names with more segments, (2) names containing [a], (3) names containing [u], and (4) names containing coronals. Overall, the current results suggest that phonological considerations come into play when English speakers name new creatures. Implications of the current results for the theories of sound symbolism are discussed throughout the paper. [This paper supersedes lingbuzz/004143]

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004897
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: To be published in ‘Language and Speech’
keywords: quotation marks, quotation, acoustic correlates, name informing, implicature, semantics, phonology

Akinbo (2019) – Representation of Yorùbá Tones by a Talking Drum: An Acoustic Analysis

Representation of Yorùbá Tones by a Talking Drum: An Acoustic Analysis
Samuel Akinbo
direct link:
November 2019
The present paper proposes an articulatory and acoustic study of the representation of Yorùbá tones in gángan (a talking drum). The video and spectrographic analyses of the data collected from five native drummers in Nigeria show the number of syllables in a word directly corresponds to the number of strikes on the drum membrane. As the talking drum resonates from the strikes, the drummers tightened and loosened the drum membrane to articulate the three tones in Yorùbá. Furthermore, tonal processes such as tone contour formation on the second tone in HL or LH sequences are musically rendered. Based on this evidence, this paper concludes that drummers are able to represent syllables, lexical tones and tonal processes of Yorùbá speech with a talking drum.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004891
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: revision submitted
keywords: sound symbolism, pokémonastics, voiced obstruents, vowels, labials, fricatives, the iconicity of quantity, phonology

Forsythe & Schmitt (2019) – Considering the whole paradigm: Preschoolers’ comprehension of agreement is not uniformly late

Considering the whole paradigm: Preschoolers’ comprehension of agreement is not uniformly late
Hannah Forsythe, Cristina Cristina Schmitt
direct link:
August 2019
Picture-selection studies testing the comprehension of subject-verb agreement across a wide variety of languages have found that children fail to use these markers to infer the cardinality of a null or masked subject, even long after spontaneous production of agreement becomes adult-like (Johnson et al. 2005, Pérez-Leroux 2005, Gxilishe et al. 2009, Rastegar et al., 2010). This production/comprehension asymmetry has since been called into question by researchers using more sensitive comprehension measures (Brandt-Kobele and Höhle 2010, Legendre et al. 2014, Verhagen & Blom 2014, González-Gómez et al. 2017). Here, we continue to use a picture selection task but expand our focus to include 1st and 2nd person markers, which are more phonologically salient and less complex to interpret than 3rd person markers. We find that preschoolers comprehend Spanish 1st and 2nd person agreement markers early (2;3-2;11) and just as accurately as clitic pronouns, showing that comprehension of agreement is not uniformly difficult. In the 3rd person, accuracy was low not only for agreement but also for clitics, and both adults and children allowed these expressions to refer to a prominent referent from the immediately preceding discourse—even if that referent was the speaker or hearer. We argue that the production/comprehension asymmetry originally observed for 3rd person agreement was driven not just by task demands but also by children’s sensitivity to the discourse dependence of 3rd person referring expressions. Future experimental investigations of agreement markers should take their discourse properties into account.

Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004884
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Linguistique et Langues Africaines (under revision)
keywords: lowering, music, phonetics, raising, syllable, talking drum, tone, yorùbá., semantics, morphology, phonology
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/004883
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: submitted
keywords: verbal morphology, clitics, discourse prominence, spanish, phi-features, person features, number features, syntax, phonology, semantics, morphology