A satellite meeting, timed to coincide with the Third Edinburgh Symposium on Historical Phonology

Fringe workshop on
Laryngeal Features in Historical Phonology

Edinburgh, Wednesday 29th November 2017

background  |  topic  |  speakers  |  attending


Given that there will be a number of people who are interested in historical phonology in Edinburgh the day before the Third Edinburgh Symposium on Historical Phonology, we thought that we could make use of this to hold a satellite workshop devoted to the ways in which laryngeal features influence or are involved in phonological change. This workshop is intended to be a relatively informal venue for discussion of such issues. It is not a formal part of the symposium and everyone is welcome to attend.


The inventory, nature and use of laryngeal features are classically controversial areas of phonological theory, and many of these issues have attracted considerable discussion in and evidence from diachronic phonology. Questions that are both classic and live in this area include:
  • which features are needed: [voice], [stiff], H, [constricted] etc?
  • are they binary or privative?
  • how can obstruent laryngeal features lead to tonogenesis?
  • (how) do obstruent laryngeal features cause vowel shortening or lengthening?
  • should languages with two series of obstruents always have their constrast characterised using a single feature (such as [(±)voice])? or does a taxonomy using multiple features (e.g., [(±)voice] and [(±)spread glottis]) make better predictions, as in Laryngeal Realism? or does a more abstract approach yield better insights, as in a substance-free framework?
We hope that this workshop will enable the participants and audience to discuss these issues and to consider the extent to which they are, or are not, connected.


If you are interested in taking part in the session, email us by 7th August to let us know. Once we hear what the interest is, we will come up with a plan for the workshop. We are:


It will be free to attend the workshop, and it will be held in a building close to where the Symposium on Historical Phonology will be held, in the central campus of the University of Edinburgh.