LINGUIST List 32.564

Mon Feb 15 2021

Calls: Phonology/Poland

Editor for this issue: Lauren Perkins <>

Date: 12-Feb-2021
From: Cormac Anderson <>
Subject: Phonological diversity matters: rarities in phonology
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Full Title: Phonological diversity matters: rarities in phonology

Date: 16-Sep-2021 - 17-Sep-2021
Location: Poznań, Poland
Contact Person: Cormac Anderson
Meeting Email: < click here to access email >

Linguistic Field(s): Phonology

Call Deadline: 09-Apr-2021

Meeting Description:

The patterns of sounds of the world's languages are many and varied. Although the human articulatory, auditory, and perceptual apparatus limits and shapes the ways in which languages harness sound to convey meaning, considerable diversity can be observed in phonological systems cross-linguistically. We believe that this diversity matters and welcome submissions for a workshop focused on rarities in phonology.

Rare phenomena play a key role in forming and challenging linguistic theory. In formal approaches, the identification of rare phenomena has been one of the primary means of expanding and modifying the theoretical acquis. While linguistic typology has often worked rather with larger cross linguistic samples, a focus on rare phenomena has emerged since the beginning of this millennium (Plank 2000; Simon & Wiese 2011; Wohlgemuth & Cysouw 2010a, 2010b; Golovko et al. 2015).

Rarities can be ignored by linguistic theory, be reanalysed as regular, or be incorporated by changing the theory (Simon & Wiese 2011). Within phonology, a number of thematic studies taking the third approach have recently appeared, addressing topics as diverse as vertical vowel systems (Anderson 2016), voiceless sonorants (Blevins 2018) or obstruent devoicing (Blevins et al. 2020), non-canonical word prosody (Kuznetsova 2018), highly complex syllable structure (Easterday 2019), and metathesis (Edwards 2019). This work can be seen in the context of an expansion of research on the evolutionary aspects of both universals and rarities, with attempts to explain typical pathways of emergence or disappearance (e.g. Blevins 2004, 2015; Round 2019).

Call for Papers:

For this workshop, we invite submissions for papers investigating synchronic and diachronic rarities in phonology. These might include individual studies or thematic surveys of specific sounds, features, systems, structures, or phenomena. Proposals focusing on synchronic rarities in a single language will be considered, but a broad typological or evolutionary perspective is preferred.

The diversity of phonological patterns has been matched by the multitude of different ways linguists have attempted to account for them. Some of these ways may also be rare and interesting. For this reason, we aim to see a variety of theoretical frameworks represented at the workshop and welcome also submissions that focus on rare types of phonological analysis.

We recognise that, for various reasons, rarities are often concentrated in lesser-studied languages (Mithun 2007; Mansfield & Stanford 2017), which with greater investigation may challenge our understanding of what is rare or typical, possible or impossible. The ability of these kinds of data to provide new theoretical inputs in phonetics and phonology has already encouraged a number of special issues (Whalen & McDonough 2019; Tucker & Wright 2020). Therefore, we particularly encourage submissions dealing with lesser-studied languages.

We plan to edit a volume on the topic of typological rarities in phonology for our newly-established open-access book series “Topics in phonological diversity” at Language Science Press (, providing a potential publication outlet for successful proposals.

Anonymous abstracts of 300-500 words should be submitted via EasyChair. For further details:

Deadline for submissions: 9 April 2021
Notification of Acceptance: 21 May 2021

Page Updated: 15-Feb-2021