University of California, Santa Cruz


Phlunch (Phonetics and Phonology Lunch) is an informal discussion and reading group at UCSC dedicated to new research in phonetics and phonology.


Fridays, 11:00 am -12:00 p.m.


Linguistics Common Room
Stevenson College

University of California, Santa Cruz
Department of Linguistics

Spring 2015


May 15

Steven Foley, UCSC 1st year grad student, will argue that 'Georgian syncope is phonological, not morphological'. The abstract for the talk is below: 


Some roots in Georgian undergo syncope in certain morphological environments. For example, the root √tval'gem' appears with its vowel in the nominative (tval-i 'gem-NOM'), but it syncopates in the genitive (tvl-is 'gem-GEN'). Since this is not a fully regular alternation in the language, one might be tempted to derive it in the morphology: in Distributed Morphology terms (Halle & Marantz 1993), perhaps two separate vocabulary items (tval and tvl) compete for insertion at the root node. However, such an allomorphy analysis fails to capture the many phonological generalizations about what roots undergo syncope and what suffixes trigger it. Instead, I propose Georgian syncope is phonological, and develop an account using Stratal OT (Kiparsky 2000) which identifies several morphosyntactic domains where syncope-favoring constraints are ranked differently. This captures the phonological generalizations regarding syncope, and explains some apparently idiosyncratic differences between suffixes of different categories.


May 8

Undergraduate students from Grant McGuire’s 2015 Winter Quarter Phonetics class will present on various projects they did.

May 1

Ryan Bennett, UCSC Ph.D alum, and current faculty member at Yale, and Boris Harizanov, another UCSC Ph.D alum, now a faculty member at Stanford, will come to present on some joint work they have together with Robert Henderson (at Wayne State University, and also a UCSC Ph.D alum) on “Prosodic smothering in Macedonian and Kaqchikel.”


Here is the abstract for the talk:

Work by Inkelas, Zec, Yu, and others has established that dependent morphemes (affixes, clitics) may idiosyncratically select for prosodic properties of their hosts. For example, the English comparative -er does not attach to stems of greater than two syllables in size (sunni-er vs. *insightful-er). Prosodic subcategorization is typically understood to be lateral and local: dependent morphemes may select for prosodic properties of an immediately preceding or immediately following element.

   Less attention has been paid to the vertical dimension of prosodic subcategorization---the prosodic constituent produced by the attachment of a dependent morpheme to its host. We argue that vertical subcategorization is responsible for the heterogeneous prosodic behavior of certain functional items in Macedonian and Kaqchikel, two genetically and geographically distinct languages. In short, the vertical subcategorization requirements of an outer morpheme can alter the prosodic parsing of an inner morpheme in the same complex. We refer to this phenomenon as prosodic smothering.

   In Macedonian, preverbal object clitics are typically unstressable (<go VIde> '(s)he saw him', *<GO vide>). But in the presence of wh-words or sentential negation such clitics are parsed into the same prosodic word as the verb, and may then bear stress (<koj GO vide> 'Who saw him?'). This rather puzzling pattern can be analyzed as a case of prosodic smothering: the prosodic subcategorization requirements of sentential negation and wh-words force a deviation from the default prosodic parse that would otherwise be observed for the clitics.

   In Kaqchikel, a variety of diagnostics indicate that absolutive agreement markers show a different prosodic parse depending on the presence or absence of outer aspect marking, e.g. [x-in-b'e] 'I went' vs. [in=jwi'] 'I am intelligent'. Exactly as in Macedonian, this prosodic variation owes to the vertical subcategorization requirements of an outer morpheme, in this case aspect. There is thus strong evidence that vertical subcategorization can induce prosodic restructuring of lower elements. We conclude with a discussion of the theoretical and methodological implications of our proposal.


April 24

Jeff Adler,  UCSC grad student,  will discuss “Parallel Explanation: The Case of Mohawk”

April 17

Chris Golston, from CSU, Fresno, will come to discuss some work on “Phonological movement in Latin”


April 10

Mark Amengual, faculty member in the UCSC Languages and Applied Linguistics Department, will join us. He will be giving a talk on:


Language dominance effects on the perception and production of language-specific vowel contrasts by early Spanish-Galician bilinguals.

Here is the abstract for the talk:

In this talk I will present data investigating the perception and production of the Galician mid-vowel contrasts by 54 early Spanish-Galician bilinguals in the cities of Vigo and Santiago (Galicia, Spain). Production data were collected in a reading-aloud task, and these bilinguals’ perception abilities were investigated in binary forced-choice identification and AX discrimination tasks (based on synthesized stimuli along the range of mid-vowel formant values). Results from these three experiments indicate that there are differences in the discrimination of stimuli along the /e/-/ɛ/ and /o/-/ɔ/ continuum based on language dominance: Spanish-dominants had great difficulty in discriminating between these mid-vowels while Galician-dominants showed a robust categorical identification of the two mid-vowel categories. Additionally, acoustic analyses of their productions suggest that Spanish-dominant bilinguals residing in urban areas of Galicia do not maintain two independent phonetic categories in the mid-vowel space. They did not consistently produce the Galician-specific mid-vowel contrasts; instead they produced merged Spanish-like Galician front and back mid-vowels. The Pillai score representing the vowel cluster difference between /e/-/ɛ/ and /o/-/ɔ/ was calculated for each individual speaker, showing that only the most extreme Galician-dominants on the language dominance continuum were maintaining a robust distinction between the mid-vowel contrasts. This study contributes to the study of language dominance and the relationship between the production and perception abilities of a relatively understudied group of early and highly proficient bilinguals.


March 13
We will be joined by neighboring phonologist at Stanford, Arto Anttila, for a talk on “STRESS, PHRASING, AND AUXILIARY CONTRACTION IN ENGLISH”

Here is the abstract for the talk:

Studies of English auxiliary contraction often mention stress as a

condition on contraction, but give it no explicit role in the

analysis. This paper develops the view that contraction reflects

stress and phrasing. Building on earlier work, we outline an analysis

of the relevant aspects of lexical and phrasal stress, formulate a

hypothesis that connects stress and contraction, and take the first

steps towards evaluating the resulting predictions using corpus

evidence. As Labov’s (1969) pioneering study shows, contraction is

sensitive to phrasal stress and syllable structure. To this we add the

observation that the size of prosodic constituents and the degree of

cyclic stress also seem to play a role. These findings are compatible

with the view that phrasal stress is assigned cyclically in a manner

determined by syntax, but eurhythmic constraints matter as well. In

our optimality-theoretic analysis both types of constraints interact

in parallel in the postlexical phonology.


March 6
Jaye Padgett is going to give a talk on "The Perception of Secondary Palatalization: Irish and Russian Compared"

February 27th
*No Phlunch* 

February 20th

Grant McGuire will give a talk on some recent work on the perception of different voices

February 13th

We will be joined by nearby phonologist at San Jose State University, Dan Silverman, to hear a talk “On the evolution of heterophony: semantic pressures on phonetic forms”

February 6th

Rachel Walker, phonologist at USC, and UCSC Ph.D alum, will be discussing a recent project on The Phonotactics and Articulation of Liquid Consonants

January 30th

In anticipation for Rachel Walker’s upcoming colloquium related to Agreement by Correspondence, we will discuss William Bennett’s paper on “Assimilation, Dissimilation, and Surface Correspondence in Sundanese

January 23rd

Our new visiting faculty scholar from Tromso, Martin Kramer, will be giving us a talk on some experiments he’s done testing loanword adaptation among Persian speakers

January 16th

To kick off the new quarter, we will discuss Joseph Sabbagh, UCSC Linguistics B.A. alum’s paper “Word Order and Prosodic Structure Constraints in Tagalog”