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 Mondays 12-1pm in 1303 Dwinelle.

Phorum is organized by Emily Grabowski and Yevgeniy Melguy. Our emails are respectively "emily_grabowski" and "ymelguy"

Fall 2019 - Upcoming Talks

March 2

Matthew Leonard (University of California San Francisco)- Dynamic Brain Networks for the Perception and Organization of Speech

Understanding speech requires the rapid analysis of dynamic acoustic input. Listeners must identify and organize highly variable and often ambiguous sounds into perceptually-relevant units like syllables and words, which match their knowledge about the structure of language. In this talk, I will discuss recent work that uses direct human intracranial neurophysiology to identify key computational processes in the transformation from spectrotemporal speech features into linguistic representations that underlie perception. Specifically, I will focus on the role of the bilateral superior temporal gyrus (STG) in identifying speech sounds and integrating them into the contexts in which they occur. Neural populations in STG that are tuned to detect speech features (like vowels, plosives, fricatives, etc) are also highly sensitive to the linguistic context and perceptual goals of the listener, dynamically changing their activity to reflect what listeners hear. I will frame the discussion of this work around a model we recently proposed that attempts to characterize the dynamic and flexible neural computations that may be a basis for transforming variable and noisy acoustic input into perceptually-meaningful representations of language.

March 9

Mark Liberman (University of Pennysylvania)- Symbols and signals in language sound structure

March 16 (Postponed)

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

Linguistic theory posits that words have complex internal structure in terms of their morphology, phonology, and semantics. On the surface, Armenian compounds present a bracketing paradox which contradicts these structures. However, I show that the paradox almost iconically matches the underlying semantic, morphological, and prosodic structure of words. The plural suffix has phonologically-conditioned allomorphy which depends on syllable count: -er after monosyllabic bases, -ner after polysyllabic bases. Endocentric compounds paradoxically surface with -er if the second stem is monosyllabic and the head. A complication is defining what the relevant head is. The plural paradox simultaneously references semantic, morphological, and prosodic heads. The prosodic head is an intermediate prosodic constituent: the Prosodic Stem. Counter-cyclic rebracketing approaches are shown to be problematic. The end-result is a demonstration that allomorphy is cross-modular and sensitive to the internal structure of words.

April 6

Sonia Kandel (University of Grenoble)- TBA

April 27

Juliet Stanton (New York University)- TBA


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