Call for papers

When it comes to questions of linguistic form, it is often possible to construct two competing analyses one morphological and the other phonological. It is important to be able to compare and evaluate these analyses, as the status of any phenomenon as phonological or morphological can crucially impact the evaluation of general theories of these domains (e.g. whether readjustment rules are phonological or morphological impacts the how much power a phonological theory needs to possess).

Determining which approach is more insightful will depend on a wide range of assumptions related to: (a) the linguistic architecture and modularity, (b) the computational power/ability of the phonological module, (c) the set and nature of linguistic features related to form, (d) the representational structures permitted and the types of features that can be found in different modules, (e) the relationship there is between the linguistic content of the mind/brain and its phonetic/surface output (is it deterministic or (substance) free).

These assumptions can be roughly synthesised as: what are the limits? what can the morphology and the phonology actually do in the course of a derivation?

It has been shown, especially in recent work, that representationally-focused phonological solutions have helped account for patterns that were previously thought to be morphological (Zoll 1993; Guerssel & Lowenstamm 1996; Lowenstamm 2008; Faust & Lampitelli 2016; Lampitelli 2017). Generally, this has the effect of (further) promoting a linguistic architecture which is compatible with Distributed Morphology/Minimalist assumptions. Specifically, this has led to the reanalysis/refinement of phonologically conditioned allomorphy (Larsen 1998; Scheer 2016; Faust et al. To Appear). It has produced specific arguments against class based allomorphy and class features in Somali (Barillot et al. 2017), Afar and Italian (Ulfsbjorninn 2016, 2017). And this analytical approach explains a long standing problem of generative morpho-phonology: the distinction between L1 and L2 affixation (Newell 2016). On the other hand, even theories that promote the modularity of  morphology and phonology propose that some echo of morphology must drive phonological computation, generally in the form of Alignment constraints or the Prosodic Hierarchy.

For this MFM Fringe event we are welcoming talks (from any framework/perspective) that answers the following question in the affirmative: ‘can this alternation, normally considered to be morphological, be more neatly accounted for phonologically?’. We welcome papers that compare current phonological and morphological accounts of the same phenomena, if these conclude that the phonological account is superior. Lastly, we also welcome papers that argue for a morphological analysis of an alternation, so long as the focus of the talk is to explicitly explain/define the limits of the phonology, thereby explaining which kinds of alternations should never be accounted for in the phonology.


Barillot, X., Bendjaballah, S. & N. Lampitelli. 2017. Verbal classes in Somali: Allomorphy has no classificatory function. Journal of Linguistics. Published online 01/10/2017.

Faust, N. & N. Lampitelli. 2016. Allomorphy: its logic and limitations, Special Issue of Morphology, 26:3. pp. 379–397.

Faust, N., Lampitelli, N. & S. Ulfsbjorninn. To Appear. Canadian Journal of Linguistics / Revue canadienne de linguistique Articles of Italian Unite.

Guerssel, M. & J. Lowenstamm. 1996. Ablaut in Classical Arabic measure I active verbal forms. In: Lecarme, J., J. Lowenstamm, U. Shlonsky (eds): Studies in Afroasiatic Grammar, 123- 134. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.

Lampitelli, N. 2017. A morphophonological analysis of the velar insert in Italian verbs. Glossa2(1), 47.

Lowenstamm, J. 2008. On n, nP and √. In: The Sounds of Silence: Empty Elements in Syntax and Phonology. Hartmann J., V. Hegedus & H. van Riemsdjik eds. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Newell, H. 2016/under revision, LI. English Lexical Levels are not Lexical, but Phonological.

Scheer, T. 2016. Melody-free syntax and phonologically conditioned allomorphy. Morphology, 26:341-378.

Ulfsbjorninn, S. 2016. Towards Eradicating Class Driven Allomorphy: Nominal Suffixes in Afar. Lingbuzz/003533.

Ulfsbjorninn, S. 2017. There are empty positions and (lexically) inhibited empty positions: evidence from a classless analysis of Italian. Talk @ Phonological Theory Agora 4. University of Paris 8.

Zoll, C. 1993. Ghost segments in Optimality. In: Proceedings of WCCFL 12. Duncan, E. et al. (eds.) Stanford, California: Stanford Linguistics Association. pp. 183-199.


Abstracts should be no more than 1 page. 12pt font. 1 inch margins. Examples in the text. References may be included on a separate page.

Abstracts should be sent to with MfM Fringe in the subject line no later than Feb 19th, 2018.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent out no later than Mar. 19, 2018.