Satellite event PaPE (Phonetics and Phonology in Europe) 2023 - Workshop Call for papers

Metaphony: Theoretical, descriptive and typological issues (Organizers Michela Russo SFL CNRS/UJML 3 & Rachel Walker (U.California, Santa Cruz, USA)

Date of event: June 1st,  2023

Place: Nijmegen, the Netherlands -Radboud’s Centre for Language Studies (CLS)

Registration: Details t.b.a. at

Satellite event PaPE 2023


Metaphony: Theoretical, descriptive and typological issues


Michela Russo (CNRS SFL /Paris 8 & U. Lyon 3, France)

Rachel Walker (University of California, Santa Cruz, USA)

Keynote Speakers

Charles Reiss (Concordia University, Canada)

Metaphony in Substance Free Logical Phonology” 


Maria-Rosa Lloret (University of Barcelona, Spain)

“Constraining the scope of metaphony in southeastern peninsular Spanish”


Aaron Kaplan (University of Utah, USA)

“Metaphony in Bolognese”



Call for papers

Metaphony is a well-known phonological process found in many languages. It has been interpreted as an instance of a stress-induced vowel harmony, since the properties of following unstressed vowels are attracted by stressed vowels. For example, metaphonic raising has been analyzed as the result of transferring, spreading, or copying a height feature from an unstressed syllable to the stressed syllable.

Discussions have varied in the literature, and distinct models have been developed to understand the process from formal phonology to phonetic/acoustic experimental studies. The aim of this workshop is to compare several harmonic systems, referred to as metaphony, in order to examine how metaphony is best represented and analyzed. For example, several accounts of metaphony systems have employed binary features, such as [± high] or [± ATR] (e.g. Calabrese 1985, 1998, 2011), while others employ unary features (phonological primes are unary elements). In the latter case, a loss of unary features/element primes may occur, |A| in raising metaphony or |~a| in dependency-based models, while there may be copy of |A| from a licensor in opening metaphony (e.g. Maiden 1991; Russo 2007, 2014; Carvalho & Russo 2007; D’Alessandro & Oostendorp 2016; van der Hulst 2018). Also under focus is what rules or constraints drive metaphony, such as issues in the formulation of positional licensing constraints (e.g. Walker 2005, 2011; Lloret & Jiménez 2009; Kaplan 2018; Jiménez & Lloret 2020).

This workshop aims to examine questions such as the following:

  •          What is the representational nature of the elements involved in metaphony (e.g. binary features, unary features, or gestures)?
  • Is the set of metaphonic features grounded in phonetics and/or in cognitive principles categorizing the phonetic substance? (See Samuels et al. 2022)
  • How can we establish a set of phonological primitives? And how can the set of (active) elements in the binary or unary system vary depending on the metaphony system?
  • How are phonological properties and complexity encoded in the models?
  • Which is the relation between unary systems and markedness in metaphony?
  • What formally drives metaphony (e.g. positional licensing constraints, rules)?
  • How are trigger-target relations and the nature of locality established?
  • How does metaphony operate between suffix and stem and what are the different possible roles of morphology in metaphony?
  • What are the relevant asymmetries between suffix and stem, and what conditions or restrictions operate on assimilation of a set of contrastive features or marked values from a trigger?
  • How can we take into account morpheme-specific effects, heteromorphemic primes and morpho-phonologically based requirements?
  • Does a basic categorization principle exist to limit the set of elements to a number of units per class anchored in categorical perception?
  • How are metaphony and umlaut different from vowel harmony, if at all?

          In defining theoretical mechanisms and representations of metaphony systems, phonological rules or constraints and licensing phenomena, several other points are also at issue: principles of locality, relativized locality, non-local mechanisms, iterative or non-iterative metaphony, hierarchical constraint interactions, co-occurrence restrictions, the definition of positional licensing constraints in Optimality Theory and in Harmonic Grammar, the type of licensing applied to floating features, directionality, disharmonic roots, opacity vs. transparency, reduction to schwa, deletion or raising affecting final vowels (derivational opacity and the notion of transfer in apophonic languages), definition of the stressed nucleus/recipient vs. unstressed syllables (since metaphony is stress-related), strengthening of the stressed syllable and weakening of the unstressed syllable, copying/movement of primes and the consequent ranking, variation.

Submission information

Abstracts are invited on these topics related to phonology or phonetics and their interfaces with each other.
Submissions from any school or theoretical framework of phonology are welcome (for example, Dependency Phonology, Government Phonology, Radical CV Phonology, Optimality Theory, Harmonic serialism, Harmonic Grammar, Laboratory Phonology,

Abstracts should follow the guidelines of the main conference ([]). They should be sent to the convenors’ email addresses: michela.russo [at] and rachelwalker [at] with the subject line “Abstract”. Depending on the number of submissions, a short poster session may be included.

Date of event: June 1st,  2023

Place: Nijmegen, the Netherlands -Radboud’s Centre for Language Studies (CLS)

Registration: Details t.b.a. at []


Format, duration:

We invite contributions addressing any of the points above, aiming for a balanced session over a day (10h – 17h30, 1st of June). The workshop will have the following format.

Part 1

The workshop will start with individual contributions. Presentations will be 15 minutes each. The presentations will be grouped together according to topic. At the end of each presentation there will be 5 minutes for questions.

Part 2

Participants will be organized into four working groups. The groups will brainstorm and come up with a number of concrete ideas for studies. During the final portion of the workshop, all attendees will participate together in a round table (with the Keynote speakers: Charles Reiss, Aaron Kaplan, Maria-Rosa Lloret, and Moderators: Michela Russo and Rachel Walker) to develop a final list of questions and new directions for study.

Workshop goals:


  •       To sum up knowledge we have so far about the nature and role of metaphony
  •       To initiate collaborations across different perspectives, combining different viewpoints
  •       To jump-start concrete studies
  •         To further our understanding of the role of metaphony in information transmission at multiple linguistic levels

Abstract submission deadline:             March 31st, 2023

Notification of acceptance:                April 21st , 2023

Workshop program announced:             May 11th , 2023

Workshop date:                                  June 1st, 2023


Contact and submissions:

Michela Russo michela.russo [at], Rachel Walker rachelwalker [at]

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