Professor of Linguistics, UC Santa Cruz

Here is a list of my publications, with links to downloadable versions.

I am co-editing the OT book series Advances in Optimality Theory (Equinox Publications, London). Contact me with ideas for OT book projects in phonology and phonetics; for OT book projects in syntax and semantics, contact Vieri Samek-Lodovici (University College London).

Research interests:

Phonology: prosodic phonology and its influence on word structure; Optimality Theory; the syntax-prosody interface.

My work in linguistics focuses on the surprisingly simple organizing principles that give rise to the rich variety of prosodic structures found in human language. They manifest themselves in systems of syllabification, stress, and accent, and also in the prosodic factors that shape many word formation processes. For example, the basic rhythmic unit of Latin, the bimoraic trochee consisting of two light syllables or one heavy syllable, not only determines word stress, but has a host of direct and indirect consequences throughout the morphological system, determining the shapes of affixes and their distribution, etc. In a related line of work, I have been investigating the nature of prosodic constituency beyond the word level, and the syntax-prosody mapping. My analytical work, which includes studies of Japanese, German, and classical Latin phonology and prosodic morphology, also gave rise to an investigation of the way the phonological lexicon of a language is formally-synchronically (and not just etymologically) organized into lexical strata (such as native vs. Latinate), and what this organization tells us about phonological theory itself. I am currently pursuing this research program in the context of Optimality Theory, with an additional active interest in the basic architecture of this theory.
Copyright Armin Mester, 2017