Call for papers

Abstract submission is now closed. This page is for historical reference only. See here for the conference programme.

The 4th International Workshop on Sound Change (WSC4) will be held from 20-22 April 2017 at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, Scotland. WSC4 is the continuation of the highly successful workshop series that have previously been held in Barcelona (2010), Kloster Seeon (2012) and Berkeley (2014). The aim of this workshop series is to bring together scholars from a wide range of theoretical and methodological backgrounds in order to foster truly collaborative and interdisciplinary work on the actuation, evaluation, transmission, and diffusion of sound change.

The theme of this workshop is “individuals, communities, and sound change”, with special attention to the role of individual difference in the initiation and propagation of change. By “individual differences”, we refer to those psychological, sociological, genetic and/or behavioural differences between the individuals who make up a speech community at the levels of production, perception and cognitive representation.

Some questions we will consider in detail at this Workshop include:

  • How do individual differences relate to community patterns?
  • How do they affect variation?
  • How do they affect the initiation of changes? Do they help us to identify variation that is likely to lead to change?
  • How do they affect the phonologisation of changes?
  • How do they affect the propagation of changes?

We have asked our invited speakers to comment specifically on these issues. Abstracts also addressing these issues would be welcome, but submissions addressing any and all aspects of sound change are encouraged - there is no need for submitted abstracts to engage with the theme. Possible topics might include:

  • The role of individual differences in production, perception, and cognition
  • Accommodation and alignment
  • Longitudinal studies and change over the lifespan
  • Sociolinguistic stratification and the role of social network structure
  • The phonetic basis of sound change
  • The phonological life cycle
  • Sound change in infancy, adolescence, and adulthood
  • Genetic factors in sound change
  • Computational approaches to sound change and social interaction

Invited speakers

Abstract submission

The workshop will consist of oral presentations, discussion sessions, and poster sessions. We welcome abstracts on any topic related to the workshop themes or to empirical research on sound change more generally. Abstract submitters may choose to have their abstract considered either for a poster only, or for a poster or a talk. Following past practice for the WSC, we anticipate that most abstracts selected for presentation will be allocated a poster presentation slot. A small number of abstracts which fit with the theme of the workshop will be selected to be presented as talks (in addition to the talks from invited speakers).

Anonymized abstracts (PDF, 12 point font, max 1 page text + 1 page figures and references) may be submitted via EasyAbstracts from 1 August - 15 October 2016. You may submit no more than one abstract as first author. To submit an abstract, please use the submission page at

Important dates

  • Abstract submission opens: 1 August 2016 Open now!
  • Abstract submission closes: 15 October 2016
  • Notification of acceptance (by email): January 2017

Satellite workshops

WSC4 is pleased to host two satellite workshops on 19 April 2017, the day before the main workshop begins: Innovative Methods in Sociophonetics II and Language, Socialization and Sound Change in Progress. Further details, including contact information, can be found here.

Steering committee

Local organising committee