Workshop on Sequencing in Phonology

The workshop program is available here.

Date and Venue:

23-24th November 2023, University of Tromsø – The Arctic University of Norway


While in a word pair like English dog and god the order of segments or features seems to be contrastive, it is also determined by syllable phonotactic constraints. In English, the segment sequences ogd, odg, dgo and gdo are ungrammatical. Rigid ordering restrictions also make the linear order of attested consonant sequences predictable and therefore redundant, as for instance word-initial obstruent-sonorant sequences are attested in many languages in which sonorant-obstruent sequences are illicit. Sibilants tend to be at the outer margin in word-initial consonant clusters. The same predictable sequencing is observed at the subsegmental level. The frication always follows the closure in affricates. Nasalization or aspiration of stops is realized as preceding or following the closure depending on position. I.e., stops are prenasalized in syllable onsets and postnasalized in syllable codas, while the reverse is observed for aspiration. Thus, inside segments there are no precedence relations among features. Given these and related observations the question arises whether linear order of segments is necessary at all. The theory of the syllable and Sonority Sequencing in tandem neatly account for many if not most aspects of segment ordering, but are they necessary, sufficient, explanatory? What are the alternatives? Are segments indispensable to account for phonological linearization?

Invited speakers:

Draga Zec (Cornell University)

Juliet Stanton (NYU)

Kuniya Nasukawa (Tohoku Gakuin University)

Chris Golston (CSU Fresno)


We are looking forward to seeing you there!


Martin Krämer, Eirini Apostolopoulou, Jagoda Dyga

Segmental Processes in Interaction with Prosodic Structure (SPIPS)

When:  September 19-20, 2019.

Where: the Arctic University of Norway (UiT)

The question of how suprasegmental and segmental phonology interact has occupied a central role throughout the 20th and 21st century, with, for example, the syllable and syllable constituents as relevant domains and categories in the description of sound patterns and phonological processes, rejected and revived several times (e.g., Stetson 1928, Hockett 1955, Chomsky & Halle 1968, Kahn 1976, Selkirk 1982, Itô 1986, Zec 1988, Inkelas 1989, Steriade 1997, 2009, …) and the discovery of a whole range of higher prosodic units, the Prosodic Hierarchy, as central for the description of phonological processes (Selkirk 1978, 1986, Nespor & Vogel 1986, Beckman & Pierrehumbert 1986, Hayes 1989, Zec 1993). Despite decades-long discussions, the following background questions have not lost their fascination:
How can one capture the distinction between phonological processes that apply to smaller units, i.e., within words, feet, syllables, stems, morphemes, and phonological processes that take bigger objects, such as prosodic constituents, as their domain in current models of grammar?
How do phonological processes that apply within those units interact with constituency as defined by morphology or syntax?
Are the units relevant to appropriately define phonological generalisations derived from the structural constituency in morphology and/or syntax, or are they defined independently?
How do suprasegmental objects such as syllables, feet and phrases interact with segments and their properties?
What is the appropriate way of characterising the restrictions imposed by segmental considerations on syllable structure?
How are nonlocal processes such as vowel harmony and consonant harmony conditioned by bigger phonological and non-phonological structures, such as syllable, foot and morphological or syntactic structure?
How do phonotactic restrictions interact with morpheme structure and syllable structure?
Is it necessary to refer to prosodic units at all to describe phonological processes?
How do suprasegmentals such as tone and intonation condition segmental processes or vice versa?
In what way can a system capture that a process of vowel lengthening or shortening is conditioned by the prosodic constituency?
To what extent are the observations made in phonology about domains, cyclicity and the timing of operations transferrable to modern theories about domains in other levels of grammar, such as syntax and semantics?


SALT workshop

A cross-disciplinary workshop on syllable structure and sonority

When: May 11-12, 2018

Where: UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø

In this workshop, we intend to investigate the role of sonority, the sonority hierarchy and the sonority sequencing principle in the internal organization of syllables. The current mainstream theory of syllable organization has often been challenged by language-specific instantiations of the sonority hierarchy or patterns that ignore sonority sequencing or other sonority-based principles of phonotactic organization. We would like to gather together researchers working on typological aspects of syllable phonotactics, its acquisition, and its loss in attrition, as in aphasia for example.