Author Archives: Joe Pater

Call for papers: Special issue of Phonology on grammatical tone

From: Nicholas Rolle (

Thematic issue: ‘Theoretical approaches to grammatical tone’

Projected to appear as one of the first issues of Phonology 39 (2022)

Tone is distinct from other phonological phenomena both qualitatively and quantitatively, and has been instrumental in shaping phonological theory in many ways. However, the contributions to current linguistic theory of ‘grammatical tone’ – a type of nonconcatenative morphology where a morpheme is expressed in part by tonal changes and operations (e.g. tone addition, deletion, replacement, spreading, shifting, assimilation, dissimilation, etc.) – have been less apparent. The goal of this thematic issue is to contribute to filling this gap, and to facilitate advances in our understanding of grammatical tone and (morpho)phonological theory in tandem.


Grammatical tone demonstrates a unique configuration of properties above and beyond special features of tone more generally, including postlexical cyclicity effects, non-local relations on the tonal tier, counting effects in floating tone assignment, tone-based templatic effects in great regularity across Africa (surpassing segmental templates à la Semitic and Yokuts), among many others. Given that half the world’s languages are tonal–with a huge number in some of the least documented areas – we suspect phonological theory still has a huge amount to gain by specifically engaging with grammatical tone. Submissions are invited which directly focus on grammatical tone and phonological theory. We seek to include several tone-system types (e.g. from ‘canonical’ tone systems like Vietnamese to ‘pitch-accent systems’ like Serbian or Japanese). Issues include (but are not limited to) the following:


  • the representation of grammatical tone, and the question of grammatical tone allomorphy;
  • interactions between grammatical tone and the phonological grammar, e.g. the role of phonological markedness, blocking effects, segmental epenthesis;
  • interactions between grammatical tone and other prosodic units, e.g. lexical tone, intonation/boundary tones, other grammatical tones, stress/prominence marking;
  • the derivation of grammatical tone, e.g. non-categorical application of grammatical tone, input–output vs. output–output relations, cyclic effects, derived environment effects;
  • types of (non-)locality effects with grammatical tone, defined either linearly or hierarchically;
  • interface with phonetics, e.g. incomplete neutralisation effects, exemplar models;
  • interface with morphosyntax, e.g. phonology-free syntax, issues of modularity in grammar;
  • prosodic constituency, e.g. (mis)alignment between the domains of grammatical tone and other prosodic constituents in the prosodic hierarchy, kinds of attested nonisomorphy;
  • the computational properties of grammatical tone.


This thematic issue, which will be edited by Nicholas Rolle (Princeton University), Florian Lionnet (Princeton University) and Laura McPherson (Dartmouth College), is open to all potential contributors, and is projected to appear as one of the first issues of Phonology 39 (2022).


The deadline for submissions is 1 October 2020.


General information on the submission of manuscripts can be found in previous issues of the journal, or on the Phonology website ( For this issue, submissions should be sent in PDF format to An abstract (no longer than 150 words) should be included. Please begin the heading with ‘Phonology thematic issue’.


Preference will be given to papers which will occupy no more than 20 printed pages in the journal (around 8000 words). Submissions will be read by at least two reviewers and by the editors of the thematic issue.


Soliciting examples of prefix (non-)cohesion

I am a graduate student in phonology at UCLA whose MA work aims in part to formalize the traditional understanding that there is a morphological asymmetry in phonological cohesion: suffixes are vastly more readily incorporated into the prosodic domain of the root, compared to prefixes. After conducting a modest typological survey of world languages, the data show an overwhelming preference for this asymmetry to exist. I was hoping to solicit help from individuals who are able to provide counterexamples to (or examples in support of) this generalization.
Please email me at or comment on this post below. Thank you for your time and insights,
Noah Elkins

Call for submissions: Pedagogical Approaches to Laboratory Phonology

From Christina Bjorndahl, Mark Gibson and Jonathan Howell (e-mail:

We are pleased to announce “Pedagogical Approaches to Laboratory Phonology”, a satellite workshop of LabPhon 17 at the University of British Columbia, on July 9, 9:00 AM – 12:30 PM:

The purpose of this workshop is to create a forum to exchange ideas, tools, and techniques in teaching Laboratory Phonology. The workshop is being held as a satellite event of LabPhon17 and will feature invited speaker Mary Beckman, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics, Ohio State University.

Some of the questions we aim to address include:

– What role does laboratory phonology have in the undergraduate/graduate curriculum?
– Is it possible to design a course in laboratory phonology that does not have a more “traditional” phonology and/or phonetics course(s) as pre-requisite(s)?
– What technical / computational / statistical issues arise?
– Alternatively, does a laboratory phonology approach lend itself more to a topic-driven course in which a particular research question is investigated, or a more traditional phonology course that surveys one or more phonological frameworks?
– What do sample activities/assignments/syllabi centered on a particular topic within laboratory phonology look like, and how might they be improved based on current research in pedagogy?

Our goal is for this workshop to initiate a conversation amongst researchers and instructors about pedagogical challenges, approaches, and resources that arise in bringing laboratory phonology into the classroom.

This workshop is being organized by Christina Bjorndahl (Carnegie Mellon University), Mark Gibson (Universidad de Navarra) and Jonathan Howell (Montclair State University).

Call for Papers:

Types of submissions:

– Presentations
We invite submissions for 15-minute oral presentations on a variety of topics that introduce novel approaches to teaching laboratory phonology. We will conclude this session with a general Q&A with all presenters together.

– Poster/demo session
The poster/demo session will include both conventional posters as well as technology-based demos using presenters’ laptop computers. The workshop will provide both a space for displaying posters and tables for presenters to set up their laptops.

– Lightning talks
We invite submissions for 2-minute lightning talks. These informal, lightning-fast talks are ideal for sharing anecdotal classroom tips and tricks, both successes and failures. We will conclude this session with a general Q&A with all presenters together. Lightning talk presenters will submit their slides in advance of the workshop so that all talks can be part of a single slide presentation.

We invite abstracts for 15-minute oral presentations, 2-minute lightning talks, poster presentations, and demos. The abstract submission form can be found at

The deadline for oral presentations, poster presentations, and demos is February 1, 2020. Notification of acceptance will go out March 1, 2020.

The deadline for lightning talks is May 15, 2020. Notification of acceptance will go out June 1, 2020, and slides will be due June 15, 2020.

Submission guidelines:

– Oral presentations & posters
Abstracts for oral presentations and posters should not exceed one page (single-spaced, 12pt font) including figures and references.

– Demos
Abstracts for demos should not exceed one page, and should clearly describe the pedagogical challenge that is addressed by the demonstration, and the nature of audience involvement. Please note that we will be providing tables for presenters to set up their laptops, but no other equipment. If you require other resources, please contact the organizers to see about feasibility.

– Lightning talks
Abstracts for lightning talks should not exceed one paragraph, and should clearly state the pedagogical setting (e.g., undergraduate class vs. graduate seminar) and briefly describe the idea.

As we would like to include perspectives from a variety of pedagogical settings and institutions, please include your name and affiliation in the abstract. The file name should be of the form lastname_title.pdf (e.g., Smith_AwesomeClassroomInnovation.pdf).


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

Mitchley (2019) Agreement and Coordination in Xitsonga, Sesotho and isiXhosa: An Optimality Theoretic Perspective

ROA: 1357
Title: Agreement and Coordination in Xitsonga, Sesotho and isiXhosa: An Optimality Theoretic Perspective
Authors: Hazel Mitchley
Length: 206 pp
Abstract: This thesis provides a unified Optimality Theoretic analysis of subject-verb agreement with
coordinated preverbal subjects in three Southern Bantu languages: Xitsonga (S53), Sesotho
(S33), and isiXhosa (S41). This analysis is then used to formulate a typology of agreement
resolution strategies and the contexts which trigger them.
Although some accounts in the Bantu literature suggest that agreement with coordinate
structures is avoided by speakers (e.g. Schadeberg 1992, Voeltz 1971) especially when
conjuncts are from different noun classes, I show that there is ample evidence to the contrary,
and that the subject marker used is dependent on several factors, including (i) the
[ HUMAN] specification on the conjuncts, (ii) whether the conjuncts are singular or plural,
(iii) whether or not the conjuncts both carry the same noun class feature, and (iv) the order
of the conjuncts.
This thesis shows that there are various agreement resolution strategies which can be
used: 1) agreement with the [+HUMAN] feature on the conjuncts, 2) agreement with the
[-HUMAN] feature on the conjuncts, 3) agreement with the noun class feature on both conjuncts,
4) agreement with the noun class feature on the conjunct closest to the verb, and 5)
agreement with the noun class feature on the conjunct furthest from the verb. Not all of
these strategies are used by all languages, nor are these strategies interchangeable in the languages
which do use them – instead, multiple factors conspire to trigger the use of a specific
agreement strategy within a specific agreement featural context.
I show that these effects can be captured using Optimality Theory (Prince and Smolensky
2004). The analysis makes use of seven constraints: RES#, MAX[+H], MAX[-H],
DEP[-H], MAXNC, DEPNC, and AGREECLOSEST. The hierarchical ranking of these constraints
not only accounts for the confinement of particular strategies to specific agreement
featural contexts within a language, but also accounts for the cross-linguistic differences in
the use of these strategies. I end off by examining the typological implications which follow
from the OT analysis provided in
Type: Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords: Bantu, typology, Morphology, agreement, coordination

Biro (2017) Uncovering structure hand in hand: Joint Robust Interpretive Parsing in Optimality Theory

ROA: 1358
Title: Uncovering structure hand in hand: Joint Robust Interpretive Parsing in Optimality Theory
Authors: Tamas Biro
Comment: Acta Linguistica Academica Vol. 64 (2017) 2, 191-212. DOI: 10.1556/2062.2017.64.2.2
Length: 22
Abstract: Most linguistic theories postulate structures with covert information, not directly recoverable from utterances. Hence, learners have to interpret their data before drawing conclusions. Within the framework of Optimality Theory (OT), Tesar & Smolensky (1998) proposed Robust Interpretive Parsing (RIP), suggesting the learners rely on their still imperfect grammars to interpret the learning data. I introduce an alternative, more cautious approach, Joint Robust Interpretive Parsing (JRIP). The learner entertains a population of several grammars, which join forces to interpret the learning data. A standard metrical phonology grammar is employed to demonstrates that JRIP performs significantly better than RIP.
Type: Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords: Learning algorithms, Robust Interpretive Parsing, genetic algorithms, hidden structure, metrical stress

SCiL: Submission Deadline Aug. 7th, Formal language sessions

The submission deadline for the January 2-5 2020 meeting of the Society for Computation in Linguistics in New Orleans is in about two weeks, on August 7th. See the full call here

The organizers would also like to now announce that in addition to the plenary session on “Computation and Meaning,” SCiL 2020 will feature an NSF-funded workshop on “Formal Language Theory in Linguistics,” whose goal is to communicate to the participants of SCiL recent research in formal language theory as it applies to linguistic theory and natural language processing. The workshop will be conducted as a series of events throughout the conference, including a panel discussion and tutorial sessions.

Additionally, as part of the workshop, we are also accepting abstracts for a special ‘works in progress’ session. This will be a series of short presentations meant for work that might otherwise be deemed to be too preliminary for the existing computational/mathematical linguistics venues. Abstracts should follow the same two-page format as for the main session, but should be clearly marked for the works in progress session.