Thursday, April 4, 2019

Call for papers: Melodic primes in phonology

From Alex and Tobias:

Special issue of Canadian Journal of Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique
Call for papers

We are calling for high-quality papers addressing the status of melodic primes in phonology, in particular in substance-free phonology frameworks. That is, do phonological primes bear phonetic information, if so how much and in which guise exactly? How are melodic primes turned into phonetic objects? In the work of Hale & Reiss, who have coined the term substance-free phonology, it is only phonological computation which is unimpacted by phonetic substance, though it is, however, present in the phonology: melodic primes are still phonetic in nature, and their phonetic content determines how they will be realized as phonetic objects. We are interested in arguments which argue for the presence of phonetic information in melodic primes as well as an alternative position which sees melodic primes as being entirely void of phonetic substance.

At the recent Phonological Theory Agora in Nice, there was some discussion regarding the implications a theory of substance-free melodic primes has for phonology; a variety of frameworks – including Optimality Theory, Government Phonology, and rule based approaches – have all served as a framework for theories which see melodic primes as entirely divorced from phonetic information. The special issue seeks to high-light some of those approaches, and is intended to spark discussion between advocates of the various positions and discussion between practitioners of different frameworks.

We are especially interested in the implications a theory of substance-free primes has for research in a number of areas central to phonological theory, including: phonological representations, the acquisition of phonological categories, the form of phonological computation, the place of marginal phenomena such as “crazy rules” in phonology, the meaning of markedness, the phonology of signed languages, the nature of the phonetics/phonology interface, and more. Substance-free primes also raise big questions related to the question of emergence: are melodic primes innate or do they emerge through usage? How are phonological patterns acquired if primes are not innate?

As a first step, contributors are asked to submit a two page abstract to the editor at

Contributions will be evaluated based on relevance for the special issue topic, as well as the overall quality and contribution to the field. Contributors of accepted abstracts will be invited to submit a full paper, which will undergo the standard peer review process. Contributions that do not fulfill the criteria for this special issue can, naturally, still be submitted to the Canadian Journal of Linguistics/Revue canadienne de linguistique.

(a) June 1, 2019: deadline for abstracts, authors notified by July
(b) December 2019: deadline for first submission
(c) January 2020: sending out of manuscripts for review
(d) March 2020: completion of the first round of peer review
(e) June 2020: deadline revised manuscripts
(f) August 2020: target date for final decision on revised manuscripts
(g) October 2020: target date for submission of copy-edited manuscripts
(h) CJL/RCL copy-editing of papers
(i) End of 2020: Submission of copy-edited papers to Cambridge University Press (4 months before publication date).


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