Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology

Syllable weight in Amharic

Hannah Sande
Andrew Hedding

Here we propose that in Amharic, a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia, geminate codas, but not other consonants, contribute to syllable weight, supporting the typology of coda-consonant syllable weight systems predicted by Hayes (1989)’s Moraic Theory. Based on data collected through eight months of elicitation-based fieldwork, we demonstrate that two independent processes of the language, stress and reduplication, serve as evidence that in Amharic geminate codas, but not other codas, are moraic.

Morpheme-specific phonology in reduplication

Hannah Sande

Reduplication is used in many languages to realize one or more morphosyntactic features. Often there are multiple different grammatical uses of reduplication within a single language. In such languages, the distinct reduplication processes may be subject to different phonotactic restrictions. In other words, reduplication can be associated with morpheme-specific or construction-specific phonology. Additionally, when the reduplicant is larger than a single segment, it can in some cases copy (supra)segmental material from more than one morpheme. This paper explores the locality domain of...

Theory and description in African linguistics

Emily Clem
Peter Jenks
Hannah Sande

This collection contains 36 papers presented at the 47th Annual Conference on African Linguistics at UC Berkeley from March 23-March 26, 2016.1 This meeting of ACAL coincided with a special workshop entitled “Areal features and linguistic reconstruction in Africa”, and we are glad to include four papers from that workshop in this collection as well. Collectively, these papers add a sizable body of scholarship to the study of African languages, including valuable new descriptions of African languages, novel theoretical analyses of them, and important insights into our...

Is word-level recursion actually recursion?

Taylor Miller
Hannah Sande

There is a longstanding debate in the literature about if, and where, recursion occurs in prosodic structure. While there are clear cases of genuine recursion at the phrase level and above, there are very few convincing cases of word-level recursion. Most cases are—by definition—not recursive and instead best analyzed as different constituents (e.g., the Composite Group, Prosodic Word Group, etc.). We show that two convincing cases of prosodic word-level recursion can easily be reanalyzed without recursion if phonology and prosody are evaluated cyclically at syntactic phase...

Cophonologies by Ph(r)ase

Hannah Sande
Peter Jenks
Sharon Inkelas

Phonological alternations are often specific to morphosyntactic context. In some cases a phonological process applies only in words of certain lexical categories. Previous theories have stipulated that such morphosyntactically conditioned phonology is word-bounded. In this paper we present a number of long-distance morphologically conditioned phonological effects, cases where phonological processes within one word are conditioned by another word or the presence of a morpheme in another word. We provide a model, Cophonologies by Phase, which extends Cophonology Theory,...

Person-based split ergativity in Nez Perce is syntactic

Amy Rose Deal

Nez Perce is one among many ergative languages that consistently use nominative case, rather than ergative, for 1st and 2nd person transitive subjects. Two major lines of analysis have been proposed for the synchronic grammar of this type of ergative split. Morphological analyses approach the phenomenon as a case of syncretism between ergative and nominative in 1st and 2nd person; all transitive subjects are assigned an identical syntax. Syntactic analyses posit a featural or structural distinction between 3rd person subjects and 1st and 2nd person subjects, or the clauses containing...

Plural exponence in the Nez Perce DP: a DM analysis

Amy Rose Deal

This paper analyzes two patterns of number marking in the DP in Nez Perce (Sahaptian) within the framework of Distributed Morphology. The first involves under-realization of plural on nouns. Number has classically been understood as a feature inherent to nouns, rather than to adjectives that modify them. In Nez Perce, however, only a small set of nouns show number morphology, whereas number morphology is highly productive on adjectival modifiers. Adjectives in fact may realize the plural more than once per word—an instance of multiple exponence. I show that the puzzle of under-...

Kavitskaya presents at Edinburgh Symposium on Historical Phonology

November 30, 2021

Darya Kavitskaya will have a co-authored poster at the 5th Edinburgh Symposium on Historical Phonology (on Zoom) on December 6, at 7 am PST. Here is the link to the conference site:, and to the program:

Helms, Licata, and Weiher accepted at Journal of Experimental Phonetics

November 16, 2021

Annie Helms, Gabriella Licata, and Rachel Weiher's article "Influence of orthography in production and perception of /b/ in US Spanish" has been accepted for publication at the Journal of Experimental Phonetics. Congratulations!


Florian A. J. Lionnet
Larry M. Hyman

In this extensive article we survey the major recurrent and interesting phonological properties of African languages.