Manchester Phonology Meeting

This is the homepage of the Manchester Phonology Meeting ('mfm') series of conferences.
It contains background information about the conference and its history, and links to information about past conferences in the series.

Information about the current conference in the series can be found here.

This site will be under construction for the foreseeable future...

The mfm has been held every year, at Hulme Hall, Manchester, since 1993.
It is organised through a collaboration of phonologists at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Manchester  and elsewhere.


background  ||  mailing list  ||  brief history  ||  meetings  ||  FAQ  ||  organisers



This is the homepage of the Manchester Phonology Meeting (mfm). The mfm is the UK's annual phonology conference, with an international set of organisers. It is held in late May every year. We always meet in Manchester, but the meeting is not organised by the University of Manchester and never has been, although some of the organisers work there. We think that the meeting has become a key conference on the world phonology scene, and people attend from all over the world. We aim for the conference to be somewhere that anyone who declares themselves to be interested in phonology can submit an abstract on anything phonological in any phonological framework. In an informal atmosphere, we discuss a broad range of topics, including the phonological description of languages, issues in phonological theory, aspects of phonological acquisition and implications of phonological change.

Every year, we invite abstracts for talks or poster papers from phonologists, phoneticians, psychologists, sociolinguists, computational linguists - in short, anyone interested in exploring current models of phonological theory and/or their (cognitive, phonetic, sociological, computational...) implications. Abstracts are reviewed anonymously by members of the organising committee and advisory board. Full papers typically last around 25 minutes with around 5 or 10 minutes for questions, and the poster sessions are a crucial and high-profile part of the mfm, lasting one and a half hours, in the middle of the day, and with no talks scheduled against them.

We have often benefited from grants from the Linguistics Association of Great Britain, the British Academy and other sources, and this has helped us to bring invited speakers to the conference for special sessions on particular topics, and to keep down the cost, especially for postgraduate students, who pay a substantially reduced rate.


The mfm mailing list

Anyone who attends an mfm is added to the mfm mailing list, which is used to distribute information about mfms and, sometimes, other phonological things. It is a moderated list with little traffic and absolutely no spam. Anyone is welcome to join the list - if you'd like to join, just send an email to The email address of the list is as follows, and if you would like to submit a posting to the list, feel free, as long as it is an announcement of phonological relevance...



A brief history of the mfm by Jacques Durand, one of the mfm's founders

Some reminiscences about the Manchester Phonology Meeting and its history.

The Manchester Phonology Meeting has now become a regular event on the merry go-round of linguistics conferences. As I write this, Manchester is about to host the 14th Meeting and, perhaps, a few reminiscences are in order. The first Manchester Phonology Meeting took place in 1993. The first organisers were Nigel Vincent (as Professor of Linguistics at Manchester University) and myself (then Professor of Linguistics at the University of Salford). We had already launched the North-West Centre for Romance Linguistics, an early precursor of the current North-West Centre for Linguistics, and had started organising various events bringing together linguists within Greater Manchester and beyond. In looking at the structure of research in the United Kingdom, we felt that phonology could benefit from a regular meeting in a convivial setting - hence the choice of Manchester University Hulme Hall.

From the start, our vision of the Manchester Phonology Meeting was an open one. We felt that phonology could not thrive in isolation from research in other neighbouring fields. First of all, phonologists had to speak to phoneticians and had a great deal to learn from them. We made sure that leading phoneticians were enticed to the conference and we had some success in creating a healthy debate between phonologists and phoneticians continuing to the present. Interestingly, this debate also took place with sociolinguists who were looking at linguistic change and its underpinnings: when sound changes occur, is the best explanation to be given in terms of the standard units of phonology (e.g. segments, features, etc.) or in other terms (e.g. fine-grained non-discrete phonetics)? Whether they liked it or not, phonologists had to meet the challenges of diachrony. We also felt that, in the wake of Roman Jakobson's seminal work, phonology should respond to current research in psycholinguistics and neurolinguistics. Many phonologists present their work as 'cognitive'. If so, phonology should have things to say about language acquisition and pathology. I am pleased to see that these topics have been at the fore of recent meetings. Within 'core linguistics', phonologists should also have views about the place of phonology in a theory of language. How does it interact with morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics? Is it structured in the same way as other components or levels of linguistic structure? Do these divisions make sense? These issues and others have been taken up regularly in meetings and have made the mfm different from many other phonology meetings which have limited themselves to technical issues within phonology and contributed to the splendid isolation of our field.

The first meetings were run on a very small scale through a strong mix of invitations and calls for papers. But quickly the conference took off with the support of a number of friends and colleagues throughout the world who felt that the mfm was special. The receptions we used to have at the Vice-Chancellor's residence with excellent food and free-flowing wine no doubt played a role in this early success! Wiebke Brockhaus joined the organising team in 1996 and quickly became the main organiser. Her approach, both friendly and highly professional, contributed strongly to the launching of the mfm as an international event, as did her work in establishing the first website for the conference in 1998. When Patrick Honeybone took over from Wiebke in 2002, his enthusiasm and efficiency not only ensured the continuation of the traditions established but also led to the creation of the strong scientific board which exists today. Of course, from the start, the mfm has been a collective undertaking. I therefore hope the many colleagues I have not cited will forgive me for only mentioning a few names here.

The mfm is special. In my view, it will remain so only if the broad conception of phonology we advocated at the beginning remains central, and if participants are ready for debate but in a friendly and constructive way.

Jacques DURAND

Toulouse, 17th January 2006



The links below gather all the information that we current have on previous meetings; several links are to announcements on the LinguistList. If you can help fill in some of the missing details, do get in touch.

1mfm: NWCRL/Manchester Workshop on Cognitive Phonology (20-22 May 1993)
dot Call for papers
dot Programme

2mfm: Second Phonology Workshop - From Cognition to Romance (19-21 May 1994)
dot Programme

3mfm: Third Phonology Workshop (11-12 May 1995)
dot Programme

4mfm: Fourth Phonology Meeting - Constraints and Representations in Phonology (16-18 May 1996)
dot Programme

5mfm: Fifth Manchester Phonology Meeting (8-10 May 1997)
dot Call for papers
dot Programme

6mfm: 6th Manchester Phonology Meeting (21-23 May 1998)
dot Call for papers (on conference website)
dot Programme
dot Summary of Programme on the LinguistList

7mfm: 7th Manchester Phonology Meeting (13-15 May 1999)
dot Call for papers (on conference website)
dot Programme
dot Summary of Programme on the LinguistList
dot With a parasession on Stress and Metrics, featuring Chris McCully, Wim Zonneveld, Michael Redford, Martin Duffell, and John Hutton

8mfm: 8th Manchester Phonology Meeting (18-20 May 2000)
dot Call for papers (on conference website)
dot Programme
dot With a special session on 'Markedness and Syllabic Position', featuring Ellen Broselow, John Harris, Norval Smith, Bert Botma & Erik Jan van der Torre

9mfm: Ninth Manchester Phonology Meeting (24-26 May 2001)
dot Call for papers (on conference website)
dot Programme
dot Conference report by Patrick Honeybone in Glot International
dot With a special session entitled 'Phonology and Syntax - the Same or Different?', featuring Elisabeth Delais-Roussarie, Geoffrey Poole, Monik Charette, Ricardo Bermudez-Otero & Kersti Borjars
dot The special session at this conference eventually led to the publication of  'Linguistic knowledge: perspectives from phonology and from syntax', a special issue of Lingua, edited by Patrick Honeybone & Ricardo Bermudez-Otero.

10mfm: Tenth Manchester Phonology Meeting (23-25 May 2002)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website (includes programme)
dot Conference report by Katalin Balogne Berces in Glot International
dot With a special session entitled 'Phonological Acquisition: Endowments and Paths', featuring Gerry Docherty & Paul Foulkes, Paula Fikkert, James M. Scobbie, Marilyn Vihman and Sophie Wauquier-Gravelines

11mfm: 11th Manchester Phonology Meeting (22-24 May 2003)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website (includes programme)
dot With a special session on 'Historical Phonology And Phonological Theory', featuring Mark Hale, Paul Kiparsky, Aditi Lahiri and April McMahon

12mfm: 12th Manchester Phonology Meeting (20-22 May 2004)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference report by Bert Botma in the ULCL newsletter
dot Conference website (includes programme)
dot With a special session on 'Phonology and Loanword Adaptation', featuring Michael Kenstowicz, Carole Paradis and Moira Yip
dot The special session at this conference led to the publication of  'Loanword phonology: current issues', a special issue of Lingua, edited by Michael Kenstowicz and Christian Uffmann.

13mfm: 13th Manchester Phonology Meeting (26-28 May 2005)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference report by Dafna Graf in the LUCL newsletter (2nd page)
dot Conference website (includes programme)
dot With a special session entitled 'What is a phonological fact?', featuring Juliette Blevins, Bruce Hayes and Charles Reiss

14mfm: 14th Manchester Phonology Meeting (25-27 May 2006)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website (includes programme)
dot With a special session entitled 'Fieldwork and phonological theory', featuring Dan Everett, Larry Hyman and Keren Rice

15mfm: 15th Manchester Phonology Meeting (24-26 May 2007)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website (includes programme)
dot With a special session entitled 'Where is allomorphy?', featuring Ricardo Bermudez-Otero, Mirjam Ernestus, John McCarthy and Glyne Piggott

16mfm: 16th Manchester Phonology Meeting (22-24 May 2008)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website (includes programme)
dot With a special session entitled 'Phonology and the mental lexicon', featuring Abby Cohn, Sarah Hawkins and Aditi Lahiri

17mfm: 17th Manchester Phonology Meeting (28-30 May 2009)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website (includes programme)
dot With a special session entitled 'The History of Phonological Theory', featuring John Goldsmith, D. Robert Ladd and Tobias Scheer

18mfm: 18th Manchester Phonology Meeting (20-22 May 2010)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website (includes programme)
dot With a special session entitled 'Sociolinguistics, variation and phonology', featuring Andries Coetzee, William Labov, Marc van Oostendorp and Jane Stuart-Smith

19mfm: 19th Manchester Phonology Meeting (19-21 May 2011)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website (includes programme)
dot With a special session entitled 'Contrast in Phonology', featuring Paul Boersma, B. Elan Dresher, Bruce Moren-Duollja and Jaye Padgett

20mfm: 20th Manchester Phonology Meeting (24-26 May 2012)  Twentieth Anniversary Meeting
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website (includes programme)
dot With a special session entitled 'Unsolved Problems in Phonology', featuring Jacques Durand, Sharon Inkelas, Donca Steriade and Nina Topintzi

21mfm: 21st Manchester Phonology Meeting (23-25 May 2013)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website (includes programme)
dot With a special session entitled 'Harmony in Phonology', featuring Andrew Nevins, Douglas Pulleyblank, Miklos Torkenczy and Rachel Walker

22mfm: 22nd Manchester Phonology Meeting (29-31 May 2014)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website
dot With a special session on 'Epenthesis', featuring Iris Berent,  Louis Goldstein,  Nancy Hall and Christian Uffmann

23mfm: 23rd Manchester Phonology Meeting (28-30 May 2015)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website
dot With a special session on 'Syllables', featuring Marie-Helene Cote, Adamantios Gafos, Bridget Samuels and Peter Szigetvari

24mfm: 24th Manchester Phonology Meeting (26-28 May 2016)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website
dot With a special session on 'Evidence in phonology', featuring William Idsardi, Janet Pierrehumbert and Sharon Rose

25mfm: 25th Manchester Phonology Meeting (25-27 May 2017)  25th Anniversary Silver Jubilee Meeting
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website
dot With a special session on 'Typology and phonological theory', featuring Birgit Alber, Mark Donohue and a set of discussants

26mfm: 26th Manchester Phonology Meeting (24-26 May 2018)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website
dot With a special session entitled 'SPE at 50: what remains? In memoriam Morris Halle', featuring Silke Hamann, David Odden and Anne-Michelle Tessier

27mfm: 27th Manchester Phonology Meeting (23-25 May 2019)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website
dot With a special session entitled 'Is there lexically-specific phonology?', featuring Claire Moore-Cantwell, Jennifer L. Smith and Jochen Trommer

COVID year 2020
dot An mfm was planned, as normal, for May 2020 - this would have been the 28mfm (28th Manchester Phonology Meeting, 28-30 May 2020)
dot A conference website was constructed, a call for papers was sent out and abstracts were sent in
dot But then the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, and the decision was taken to cancel/postpone the 28mfm to the following year, in the hope that we would be about to have an in-person conference in 2021

28mfm: 28th Manchester Phonology Meeting (held online, 26-28 May 2021)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website

29mfm: 29th Manchester Phonology Meeting (held online, 25th-27th May 2022)
dot Call for papers
dot Conference website
dot With a special session entitled 'Second Language Phonology and Phonological Theory', featuring Ellen Broselow, Charles Chang and Ellen Simon

Current meeting
The current conference in the mfm series is:

30mfm: 30th Manchester Phonology Meeting (25th-27th May 2023)  30th Anniversary Jubilee Meeting
dot Conference website

Future meetings
The planned dates for coming mfms are as follows. Unforeseen circumstances may require changes, but we intend to stick to these dates. The normal dates are: the last Thursday-Saturday in May.

dot 31mfm: 31st Manchester Phonology Meeting (23-25 May 2024)
dot 32mfm: 32nd Manchester Phonology Meeting (29-31 May 2025)



dot How does the abstract reviewing procedure work, exactly?

We try to accept as many abstracts as possible, as the mfm aims to present a full programme with a large number of papers on all sorts of phonological issues. Nonetheless, we have to reject a good number of abstracts every year, and we need to decide which abstracts to accept for talks and which for posters (if submitters say that they would like to be considered for both types of paper). In the past few years we have typically received somewhat over 100 abstracts, and we can accept around 76, with 46 talks and around 30 posters squeezed into the programme. Only the convenor knows the names of the abstract submitters - the convenor send out the anonymous versions of the abstracts to the members of the Organising Committee and Advisory Board for review. Each abstract is sent to four reviewers, who assign it a score, and may also send in comments. The score range is now [1 = Definite No; 2 = Tentative No; 3 = Maybe; 4 = Tentative Yes; 5 = Definite Yes]. The scores are averaged by the convenor and the programme is selected on the basis of these results. A cut-off point is selected which allows all the abstracts that received clearly excellent scores to be accepted (in 2007, the cut-off point was the equivalent of an average of 4, which gave 30 talks; also in 2007, a similar process accepted all seven abstracts whose authors had indicated that they should only be considered for posters). Anything with an average of the equivalent of below 2 was immediately rejected. Because there is typically a large number of abstracts which tie in the set just below the cut-off point, and because some variation in reviewers' scoring habits is to be expected, the second pass involves a consideration of a somewhat wider numerical range of averages to decide (i) which abstracts can be accepted for a talk, and if they do not make this set, (ii) which can be accepted for a poster, and (iii) which abstracts have to be rejected. The criteria used for this consideration are: (a) it is good if an abstract is given 5s and 1s, rather than all 3s (for example), (b) there is a preference for those abstracts with a higher score, (c) but there is also some preference given to those working in minority frameworks, or working in the leftfield, to ensure that such work is not disadvantaged by being little-known.

dot What's the difference between the 'Organising Committee' and the 'Advisory Board'? And why are those people members?

The Organising Committee make sure that the conference happens every year, by running most of the practicalities, and is convened by the convenor, who runs most things. All other decisions and things are equally the responsibility of the Organising Committee and the Advisory Board. Together, we decide on the special session and invited speakers, worry about how to best organise the programme, and to improve and promote the conference. The Organising Committee is inherited from the early stages of the conference and the Advisory Board was created in 2004, to widen the expertise involved in organising the mfm. The Board is made up of people who have attended the mfm on several occasions (and thus are committed to the success of the conference). They were invited with the aim of obtaining a diverse group of people, representing all types of phonology. The Board is reconstituted every year, when those who have served previously are asked if they would still like to be involved. Some people step down, and some others are invited to join, with the aim of maintaining a broad base of expertise.

dot How do you decide on the special sessions and invited speakers?

This is decided every year, early in the organising process. The aim is to choose a topic that we hope will be of interest to a wide range of people, and to invite speakers who we think will have interesting things to say on the topic. We try to invite speakers from a range of perspectives, to ensure the theoretical plurality and diversity that we take to be a hallmark of the mfm. Once a topic is chosen, there is normally a long debate among the Organisers and Board members about who should be invited as speakers.We are certainly open to suggestions for future special sessions and speakers.

dot Why is it always held in Manchester?

Why not? Manchester's a great place! The conference was started in Manchester by people at a number of universities in the city, and it's always been there, so the weight of tradition speaks against moving it. Manchester is very handy for travellers from around the UK, as it's central, near the middle of the country, and the airport is the second largest in the country, with excellent travel links into the city centre, so it's easy to get to for everyone in the world. There has been discussion of moving the conference around other universities in Britain, but this is not currently thought to be a good idea - it's easier to keep it where it is, because if you've been to the conference once, you know where to go and what there is to do in Manchester if you come back (and lots of people return year after year).

dot Whose is the transcription of 'phonology' in the logo?

Weeelll... the conference is based in Britain, so it's a very British transcription. Or, at least, a very English one, not far from what you might hear in Manchester. It's in the IPA, as is standard in UK phonology (so it has  rather than , and stress is marked by a superscript vertical dash), and it has  for the LOT vowel, which is normal in English varieties of English. It also has [i] for the happY vowel - this is found in many English English accents, but is actually not common in Manchester English, where a lax vowel  like would be normal.



This is the current organising team...

Organising Committee
Patrick Honeybone (University of Edinburgh) convenor and main organiser
Ricardo Bermudez-Otero (University of Manchester)
 Patrycja Strycharczuk (University of Manchester)

Advisory Board
Adam Albright (MIT)
Eulalia Bonet (UAB)
Stuart Davis (Indiana)
Silke Hamann (Amsterdam)
Yuni Kim (Surrey)
Bjoern Koehnlein (OSU)
 Martin Kraemer (Tromso)
Nancy Kula (Essex)
Nabila Louriz (Hassan II, Casablanca)
Kuniya Nasukawa (Tohoku Gakuin)
Heather Newell (UQAM)
 Marc van Oostendorp (Meertens)
 Tobias Scheer (Nice)
 James M. Scobbie (QMU)
Koen Sebregts (Utrecht)
Jennifer L. Smith (UNC Chapel Hill)
Juliet Stanton (NYU)
Nina Topintzi (Thessaloniki)
 Jochen Trommer (Leipzig)
Francesc Torres-Tamarit (UAB)
Christian Uffmann (Duesseldorf)
Ruben van de Vijver (Duesseldorf)
Draga Zec (Cornell)
Elizabeth Zsiga (Georgetown)

Previous organisers have included...
 Jill Beckman (Iowa)
 Paul Boersma (Amsterdam)
Bert Botma (Leiden)
Wiebke Brockhaus-Grand (Manchester)
Philip Carr (Montpellier)
Mike Davenport (Durham)
 Jacques Durand (Toulouse-Le Mirail)
Laura J. Downing (Gothenburg)
Daniel L. Everett (Manchester)
Paul Foulkes (York)
 Mark Hale (Concordia)
 S.J. Hannahs (Newcastle upon Tyne)
John Harris (UCL)
 Kristine A. Hildebrandt (Southern Illinois)
Larry Hyman (Berkeley)
dot Marc Klein (Paris VIII)
dot Bernard Laks (Paris X)
Aditi Lahiri (Oxford)
Ken Lodge (UEA)
Joan Mascaro (UAB)
dot April McMahon (Edinburgh)
Glyne Piggott (McGill)
Curt Rice (Tromso)
 Catherine O. Ringen (Iowa)
Daniel Silverman (San Jose State)
 Marilyn M. Vihman (York)
Nigel Vincent (Manchester)
Sophie Wauquier (Paris 8)
Moira Yip (UCL) 

The site is hosted by the Department of Linguistics and English Language at the University of Edinburgh.

Page created by Patrick Honeybone
                                                                     Last updated November 2022