The Berkeley Phonetics and Phonology Forum ("Phorum") is a weekly talk and discussion series featuring presentations on all aspects of phonology and phonetics. 

We meet Friday 3-4pm on Zoom. Please email one of the organizers for the zoom link or to ask to be added to the mailing list (which will include relevant links).

Phorum is organized by Dakota Robinson and Anna Björklund. Our emails are respectively "dakota_robinson" and "aebjorklund"

Fall 2020 - Upcoming Talks

September 4

Round robin

Students and faculty are invited to discuss their past and upcoming research.

September 11

Nicholas Rolle (Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS))- First-last harmony or outward-looking allomorphy in Cilungu grammatical tone

We present on a case study of grammatical tone allomorphy in Cilungu (Bantu). Tense/Aspect/Mood designations (TAMs) are realized via co-exponence of prefixes, suffixes, and floating tones. In a small number of TAMs (e.g. Recent Past /á-cí-…-il-e/), there is allomorphy with the floating tones. With Recent Past, one is a high tone targeting the final TBU of the stem (F) at the right-edge, versus one targeting the second stem TBU (2). For all TAMs, the alternation is conditioned by the tone of subject agreement markers (SMs) at the left edge of the word. If the SM is high-toned the F variant occurs, but if it is toneless then 2 occurs.

We present two competing accounts of these data. Under a morphological account, we posit contextual realizational rules with multiple stored allomorphs, i.e. distinct (suppletive) exponents conditioned by SM tone. In contrast, under a phonological account there is morphologically-conditioned phonology causing the alternation, triggered only in the context of SMs and the small set of TAMs. A rule would capture a conspiracy in these alternations: if the SM is H at the left edge then there is a grammatical H at the right edge, but if the left-edge SM is toneless then grammatical tone does not fall on the right edge (a rule of 'first/last tone agreement'). We present several arguments in favor of the morphological analysis (suppletion) over a phonological one (morphologically-conditioned phonology), and discuss a major theoretical implication: outward-looking phonologically-conditioned allomorphy is possible, standardly argued to be unattested and/or impossible.

[In collaboration with Lee Bickmore-- University at Albany]

September 18

Martha Schwarz (UC Berkeley) 

September 25

Hossep Dolatian (Stony Brook University)- Head-based bracketing paradoxes in Armenian compounds

It is often argued that words have complex internal structure in terms of their morphology, phonol-gy, and semantics.  On the surface, Armenian compounds present a bracketing paradox between their morphological and phonological structure.  I argue that this bracketing paradox simultaneously references endocentricity, strata, and prosody.  I use Armenian as a case study to argue for the use of cyclic approaches to bracketing paradoxes over the more common counter-cyclic approaches.  I analyze the bracketing paradox using cyclic Head-Operations (Hoeksema 1984) and Prosodic Phonology (Nespor and Vogel 1986), specifically the Prosodic Stem (Downing 1999a). I argue that the interaction between the bracketing paradox and the rest of compound phonology requires the use of stratal levels and cyclicity. I argue that counter-cyclic approaches like Morphological Merger (Marantz 1988) or Morphological Rebracketing (Sproat 1985) are inadequate because they make incorrect predictions about Armenian phonology.

October 9

Connor Mayer (UCLA)- Gradient opacity in Uyghur backness harmony.

Opacity has long been an important issue for phonological theory, particular in evaluating serial theories, such as SPE, against parallel theories, such as OT. This presentation will examine a case of opacity in Uyghur (Turkic: China). In addition to exhibiting backness and rounding harmony, Uyghur has a vowel reduction process that neutralizes the front and back vowels /æ/ and /ɑ/ to the harmonically neutral vowel /i/, potentially introducing opacity into the harmony system. Based on a combination of elicitation and a large-scale corpus study, I show that opaque harmony (harmonizing with underlying forms even when it produces surface disharmony) is the standard pattern in Uyghur. However, the individual stems may also appear in tokens with surface-true harmony. An analysis of corpus frequencies shows that words whose unraised forms occur more frequently, and that occur with overall higher frequency in general, are more likely to display opaque harmony. I model this data using a variant of paradigm uniformity constraints, that, rather than requiring properties of the stem to be invariant across allomorphs, requires that all allomorphs of a stem take suffixes that harmonize with their base form, even when this violates surface harmony. The strength of a particular allomorph as a base is contingent on how frequently it is observed. I finish by discussing the implications of these results for theories of the representation and learning of opaque patterns.

October 23

Juliet Stanton (NYU)- Allomorph selection precedes phonology: evidence from Yindjibarndi

Theories of the phonology-morphology interface differ in their claims regarding the timing of phonologically-conditioned suppletive allomorphy (PCSA) and regular phonology.  Some (e.g. Paster 2006, Wolf 2008) argue that PCSA can or must precede phonology; others (e.g. Mascaró 2007, Smith 2015) argue that at least phonologically optimizing PCSA operates in parallel with phonology.  This paper discusses a case of partially optimizing PCSA in Yindjibarndi (Pama-Nyungan, Wordick 1982), shows that it is impossible to analyze under the assumption that PCSA and phonology occur in parallel, and proposes an analysis under which suppletion precedes phonology.

November 6

Ana Lívia Agostinho (UC Berkeley)- Word-prosody in Lung’Ie: One system or two?

In this talk, we present a phonological analysis of the word-prosodic system of Lung'Ie (iso code 639-3: PRE), a Portuguese-based creole language spoken in São Tomé and Príncipe. Lung'Ie has produced a unique result of the contact between the two different prosodic systems common in Creolization: a stress-accent lexifier (Portuguese) and tone language substrates. The language has a restrictive privative H/Ø tone system, in which the H is culminative, but non-obligatory (there are toneless words). Since rising CVV́ and falling CV́V falling tones are contrastive and synchronically unpredictable on long vowels, the tone must be marked underlyingly. While it is clear that tonal indications are needed, Lung'Ie reveals two properties more expected of an accentual system: (i) there can only be one heavy syllable (CVV, CVC, CVG) per word; (ii) this syllable must bear a H tone. This raises the question of whether syllables with a culminative H also have metrical prominence, i.e. stress. However, the problem with equating stress with H tone is that Lung'Ie has two kinds of nouns: those with a culminative H and those which are toneless (all-Ø). The nouns with culminative H are 87% of Portuguese-origin, incorporated through stress-to-tone alignment, while the toneless ones are 93% of African-origin. Although other Creole languages have been reported with split systems of “accented” vs. fully specified tonal lexemes, and others with mixed systems of tone and stress, Lung'Ie differs from these cases in treating African-origin words as toneless, a quite surprising result. We respond to the different past descriptions of Lung'Ie word-prosody (Agostinho 2015, 2016; Günther 1973; Maurer 2009; Traill and Ferraz 1981) and evaluate two possible interpretations of the Lung'Ie data: The first is that it is a restrictive tone system with culminative /H/ and an unusual “weight-to-tone” requirement. The second is that Lung'Ie has a “split” prosodic system where words either have stress-and-tone with the more usual “weight-to-stress” requirement or are both toneless and stressless.

November 13

Chantal Gratton (Stanford University)

December 4

Martha Schwarz (UC Berkeley)- The effect of coda aspiration on preceding vowel duration in Nepali

Much cross-linguistic evidence shows that vowels are longer before voiced consonants than voiceless, but fewer studies examine the correlation between other laryngeal specifications and vowel duration, and the results of these studies have been inconsistent. This study finds evidence for an aspiration effect in Nepali: vowels are longer before the aspirated stop classes than their unaspirated counterparts. Simultaneously, within-category variation in phonetic realization shows a negative correlation between aspiration duration and vowel duration. The opposite direction of the within-category and cross-category effects is consistent with a production-based cue-trading analysis of the aspiration effect.


A list of previous Phorum talks can be found at the Phorum Archive