This is an archive page - this conference occurred in January 2014. For the latest conference in the series, see here.

background  |  programme  | travel and accommodation  |  booking


2014 should see the publication of the Oxford Handbook of Historical Phonology. In part to celebrate this, and in part because Historical Phonology is inherently worth celebrating, we are organising a Symposium on Historical Phonology, to be held at the University of Edinburgh on 13th and 14th January 2014.

The Handbook aims to gather together perspectives on phonological change and on the reconstruction of past phonological states from across the discipline. The table of contents is available here. Contributors to the Handbook have been invited to attend the symposium, and a call for papers was issued for poster presentations from anyone else interested in attending the symposium. The intention is for the event to be organised informally but to involve serious discussion of theoretical and practical issues in Historical Phonology.
    The symposium is in part sponsored by Oxford University Press and by the Angus McIntosh Centre for Historical Linguistics.


    The programme for the symposium (with some practical information about registration, wifi and food and drink) is available here:
    The abstracts for the poster session (the talks are all invited so do not have abstracts) are available here:
    The list of participants is available here:
    There will be a pre-conference drink at Greyfriars Bobby’s Bar from about 8pm on Sunday 12th January for anyone in Edinburgh that night who would like to come.

    Advice for speakers:
    • the slots are 30 minutes long, including question time
    • you can choose whether you'd rather have 20 minutes to speak and 10 minutes for questions or 25 minutes to speak and 5 minutes for questions
    • there are around 65 people registered for, so you're unikely to need more handouts than that
    • data projection facilities will be available at the venue, and we can supply a laptop if you need one
    • if you have any specific requirements for your presentation, let us know (
    Advice for poster presenters:
    • the poster displays will be set up just before each poster session, so do please be ready to put it up during the time indicated as 'putting up posters' on the programme
    • the advice on size for your poster is not to go larger than size A0
    • you could either produce one big poster of that size, or a series of smaller sheets which can be fitted together on the poster board
    • the general advice is: make sure that the font size is not too small, that it is easily readable and does not have too much text on it, that it sets out the main points that you want to argue for clearly, and maybe that it's eye catching, too
    • we will provide you with the means that you'll need to put up your poster
    • during your poster session, you will be asked to stand by your poster (for at least a fair amount of the session) as other participants walk around the displays, read your posters and ask you questions about them
    • feel free to bring a handout for people to take away with them, too


    There is a fee of £15 to attend the symposium for those who are not invited speakers. This covers the coffee breaks and all other events at the symposium apart from an evening meal which we are organising at a restaurant on 13th January. All participants at the symposium are welcome to attend this, but it costs extra: another £15. If you would like to attend the symposium, you will need to register and pay the symposium fee (and the cost of the evening meal if you would like to come to that) before December 16th.

    This is how to register and pay:
    • email with your name and academic affiliation and a note of whether you would like to book for the evening meal
    • we will send you the details of how to pay - this will offer an opportunity to pay by credit card
    • please remember to register by 10am (UTC/GMT) on the 16th December

    Travel and accommodation

    The event will be held in the Informatics Forum and Dugald Stewart Building, which are both part of the university's central area. Edinburgh is well connected through Edinburgh Airport and the UK rail system, and the university's central area is easily accessible, on the edge of Edinburgh's remarkable Old Town, a few minutes' walk from the Royal Mile. Edinburgh is the ancient capital of Scotland, and its Old Town and (18th century) New Town form a large UNESCO World Heritage Site. The University is easily accessible from anywhere in the city, and is within walking distance of the train station and all the city centre shops and restaurants. A map is available here - this shows where the Informatics Forum is, which is where the talks and posters will be held.

    Getting to the symposium from the airport and city centre
    For most people, travelling to the Symposium will involve either flying into or getting the train to Edinburgh and then either walking or getting a bus or a taxi to the conference venue (or to your accommodation first, perhaps). It's easy to get into the city centre from Edinburgh airport: use the number 100 Airlink bus which leaves every few minutes and which drops you off next to the main train station (this is the last stop on the bus journey). This station (called Waverley Station) is where most intercity trains terminate, too.

    Waverley station is a good orientation point - it's situated right in the centre of the city, between the New Town and the Old Town, just next to Princes Street (Princes Street is the main central shopping street in Edinburgh), and there are normally lots of taxis available at the station (if you want to take a taxi to the conference venue, ask them to take to the Informatics Forum at the University, next to Bristo Square). It's about 15 minutes' walk from the station to the University. You need to head south: walk up from the station into the Old Town along Cockburn Street and then up the Royal Mile and along George IV bridge. The Informatics Forum is shown on a map here.

    If you need to book accommodation for the symposium, we recommend trying the Kenneth Mackenzie Suite or Richmond Apartments (these are both affiliated to the university and are close to the symposium venue and city centre - the invited speakers are staying there). There *may* be some crash accommodation available - if you'd like to investigate this, email us ( The university also has some other types of accommodation at other nearby locations, which may also be worth investigating.

    If they are full, or you'd like to stay somewhere more luxurious or cheaper, the easiest way to find somewhere is to use one of the many internet accommodation search sites. If you try Trip Advisor, you'll find lots of details and some interesting comments about the hotels (not always to be trusted, but you can probably go by the average opinion). Enter your check-in and check-out dates, select the number of adults staying in the room and click on 'find hotels'. You can select the currency that you'd like to use and you can 'sort by' price or popularity. If you click on 'map', you can see where the hotel is - look for one towards the south of the centre.

    Some hotels listed there which look suitable are:
    • The Grassmarket Hotel
      This one may be quite loud (the Grassmarket is a popular drinking area), but seems quite cheap, and is 10 minutes' walk from the conference venue
    • Jurys Inn
      This is in the ugliest building in Edinburgh, but it's probably fine as a hotel (about 15 mins' walk)
    • Royal British Hotel
      Very central in Edinburgh, maybe a little jaded (about 20 mins' walk)
    • Ten Hill Place Hotel
      Looks fine (very close to the conference)
    • Ibis Edinburgh Centre
      Fine if faceless (about 10 mins' walk)
    • Express By Holiday Inn Edinburgh Royal Mile
      Looks fine but may be a bit loud (about 10 mins' walk)
    • Travelodge Edinburgh Central
      Faceless but probably fine (about 15 mins' walk)
    • Apex City Hotel
      May be quite loud (it's on the Grassmarket), but seems quite nice (about 10 mins' walk)
    • Radisson SAS
      More pricey, but meant to be nice, well situated (about 10 mins' walk)

    The cheapest option would be to stay at one of the many hostels in Edinburgh. These have some very cheap accommodation, and several have private rooms, too. There are a number of hostel searching websites, which should help you to see what's available, and to book accommodation:

    There are hostels all over Edinburgh. The following, listed on the hostel websites above, are all quite close (10-15 minutes' walk) to the conference venue:

    • Budget Backpackers
    • Castle Rock Hostel
    • Argyle Backpackers
    • Royal Mile Backpackers
    • smartcityhostels Edinburgh
    • Euro Hostel Edinburgh Halls
    • Edinburgh Backpackers
    • St Christopher's
    The main YHA hostel in Edinburgh is new and looks nice, although it's a bit of a distance from the conference (30 minutes' walk). There are lots of buses, though.

    Central Edinburgh
    Central Edinburgh is made up of the New Town, to the north, and the Old Town, to the south, with Princes Street and (Princes Street Gardens) in between. Most of the buildings of the University of Edinburgh (including the symposium venue) are in the Old Town, towards the south. You should make sure that you have the chance to walk round the city while you're here - it's stunning. Walk up and down the Royal Mile to the castle at the top and the Scottish Parliament at the bottom, walk around the New Town (which starts at Princes Street and carries on northwards for several streets), or walk up Calton Hill and around Holyrood Park. You can find some information about Edinburgh here:


    All those involved in the Handbook have contributed to the symposium in some way. The organisation of the event itself is in the hands of the Handbook's editors ...
    ... and of the following:
    A note on dates: We have no flexibility in terms of when the symposium is to be held - 13-14 January are the only possible dates for a number of practical reasons. This means that the symposium will occur before the print version of the Handbook appears. We still intend to celebrate the volume and to launch it into the world at the symposium, however, and we anticipate that chapters will be available in the web-based version of the Handbook by then.  The dates just avoid clashing with other important phonological events: the CUNY Phonology Forum Conference on Weight in Phonology and Phonetics and the 11th Old World Conference in Phonology.