Author Archives: Charles Reiss

Seventh North American Phonology Conference (NAPhC7)

The 7th North American Phonology Conference (NAPhC7) will be held
May 4-5, 2012 at Concordia University in Montreal. Invited speakers for NAPhC7 are

Gorka Elordieta, University of the Basque Country
Tobias Scheer, University of Nice
Ricardo Bermudez-Otero, University of Manchester
Mary Paster, Pomona College
Peter Jurgec, Meertens Institute

We welcome abstracts for talks of 40 minutes (including questions) on any aspect of generative phonology, including the interface of phonology (or lack thereof) with morphology, syntax, phonetics or semantics.

Abstract guidelines:

Deadline: February 1st, 2012
Format: pdf file
Length: 2-5 pages
Submission by email to
Anonymous abstract with following info in message:

Name and affiliation of author(s) (Alphabetically, in case of multiple authors)
Status of each author (student, post-doc, professor, etc)
Poster–YES/NO? Are you willing to present your research in a POSTER? (Your answer will not affect your chances of acceptance for a talk)

Results will be sent out before February 15th.

Further information will be made available at

Hoping to see you in Montreal,
Charles Reiss
On behalf of the organizing committee

NAPhC 6 at Concordia

The Linguistics Program at Concordia University presents
Sixth North American Phonology Conference

(NAPhC 6)
Concordia University, Montreal
April 30-May 2, 2010

Theme: A celebration of the 51st anniversary of the publication of The Sound Pattern of Russian.

Morris Halle’s (1959) The Sound Pattern of Russian (SPR) proposes 6 formal conditions that a phonological theory should fulfill, paraphrased as follows:

Condition 1: Phonological representations consist of segments and boundaries.

Condition 2: The phonetic properties of segments are characterized by a set of binary distinctive features.

Condition 3: A phonological description of a language must provide a deterministic algorithm for mapping from an input  representation (containing only phonological information) to an output representation.

Condition 4: The phonology must interface with other modules of grammar, such as syntax.

Condition 5: In phonological representations the number of specified features is consistently reduced to a minimum compatible with satisfying Conditions (3) and (4).

Condition 6: Morphological boundaries have to be eliminated or converted by the phonology.

These six conditions serve as the theme of this year’s NAPhC. We invite papers (on any and all languages–not just Russian!) that address issues raised by these conditions and other aspects of SPR. Are these conditions met by current models? Has their acceptance or rejection been sufficiently justified? For example, do Halle’s arguments for binarity still hold? Are other arguments available for binarity? Have models that evaluate alignment of, say, syllables and morphemes justified the rejection of Condition 6?

Please submit an anonymous 2 page abstract in pdf format to submissions by March 26, 2010. Authors of accepted papers will be notified on March 29, 2010.

Invited Speakers:
Lee Bickmore (SUNY Albany)
Daniel Currie Hall (Meertens Instituut)
Suzanne Urbanczyk (University of Victoria)

Organizing Committee:
Mark Hale
Madelyn Kissock
Charles Reiss

The unattestedness/overgeneration "cop-out"

Thanks to Eric for setting up this blog–I think it is a great idea. And of course I am pleased to find out that someone read something I have written! So, I will write a little bit to respond to the useful comments and challenges to some of my work that have been mentioned.

I think that all objections to my discussion of unattestedness and overgeneration ARE justified. We (me, Mark Hale, and others with similar viewpoints) need to provide some results or at least get others to do so, if we want to claim that phonologists don’t need to explain every kind of unattestedness phonologically. I think some of Ohala’s work does this–and in fact the idea was his long before it was ours.

But I think there are some things we can agree on. Continue reading