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David Birdsong, Chair 201 W 21ST STREET STOP B7600, HRH 2.114A, AUSTIN, TX 78712 • 512-471-5531

Fall 2006

FR 396K • Topics in Romance Phonology

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
37175 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
HRH 2.106C

Course Description

This course proposes to acquaint students with new developments in the field of Romance phonology. Several analytical frameworks will be used, primarily Optimality Theory and Evolutionary Phonology. The course will be centered around four themes:
Prosodic domains: How are Romance grammars constructed to reflect the way in which phonological generalizations respond to linguistic domains?
Opacity: How can output-driven models capture generalizations which are either not true or not apparent at the phonetic level?
Phonological change: How can we determine in a principled way the exact distribution of work between grammar vs. lexicon in the linguistic evolution of Romance languages?
Contrast and dispersion. How do grammars encode the way systemic pressures sometimes overrule the natural interplay between markedness and faithfulness?

Grading Policy

There is no examination. Students will be asked to do several short oral reports on assigned readings and must write a full-blown, publishable, research paper, in English, French, Spanish or Italian.
Most readings are from recently published books and series. They will be posted on Blackboard. A tentative list will be available from the instructor a few weeks before classes start.


Required: Kager, René. 1999. Optimality Theory. Cambridge University Press.
Recommended: Blevins, Juliette. 2005. Evolutionary Phonology. Cambridge University Press.
McCarthy, John. 2002. A Thematic Guide to Optimality Theory. Cambridge UP.
McMahon, April. 2002. Change, Chance and Optimality. Oxford Linguistics.
Additional information is available from the instructor at


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