Eric Bakovic

Professor of Linguistics, UC San Diego

My main areas of research are in phonological theory and analysis. Phonology is the study of linguistic speech sound patterns and structures, and the relation of these to other aspects of grammar. Phonological theorists like myself are primarily concerned with the development and evaluation of formal devices that adequately describe phonological patterns and structures and that provide maximum explanatory value to particular phonological analyses.

I have two main strands of work within phonological theory. One is concerned with how very general constraints on phonological forms can interact with each other in different ways to produce complex patterns of phonological behavior in different languages. The other is concerned with the in-depth, critical investigation of principles that are posited to underlie phonological knowledge.

You can find my CV here.

Some of my research

Abstracts of (and links to) some of the products of my research can be found below. You can also find a more exhaustive collection of my available written work at my SelectedWorks site.

Bakovic, Eric (2013)
Blocking and Complementarity in Phonological Theory
Advances in Optimality Theory series, Equinox Publishing.
Disjunctive application is a type of interaction between phonological mappings that has received special attention since the inception of generative phonology (Chomsky & Halle 1968) and has significantly impacted research in other subfields in linguistics. The principle commonly held to be responsible for disjunctive application, the Elsewhere Condition (Kiparsky 1973), is argued in this book to be little more than a collection of necessary stipulations within Chomsky & Halle's original SPE framework. By contrast, disjunctive application is shown to follow automatically from the most basic assumptions of Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993), with no added stipulations necessary.
Bakovic, Eric (2011)
Opacity and ordering
The Handbook of Phonological Theory, 2nd Edition, Wiley-Blackwell.
Few notions in phonological theory have received as much attention in the literature as opacity. If there's only one thing that phonologists have learned from Kiparsky's work on the subject of opacity, it is to equate it with two rule-ordering relationships, counterfeeding and counterbleeding. My aim here is to demonstrate that these equations are falsified in both directions. This demonstration reveals a very different, more complex, and more complete picture of what opacity is than previously conceived.
Pajak, Bozena, and Eric Bakovic (2010)
Assimilation, antigemination, and contingent optionality: the phonology of monoconsonantal proclitics in Polish
Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 28.3.
Bakovic (2005) analyzes the avoidance of 'sufficiently similar' adjacent consonants as the interaction of independent antigemination and assimilation processes. We present evidence from the phonology of monoconsonantal proclitics in Polish in support of the primary consequence of this analysis, that any conditions on antigemination or assimilation will also be conditions on 'sufficient similarity' avoidance. These conditions concern the segmental contexts in which geminates are disallowed in Polish and the variability of one of the assimilation processes involved. The analysis is further corroborated by the coincidence of two changes in progress: as the rate of variable assimilation has gone down, so has the rate of 'sufficient similarity' avoidance.
Bakovic, Eric (2007)
A revised typology of opaque generalisations
Phonology 24.2.
This paper is about opaque interactions between phonological processes in the two senses defined by Kiparsky (1971, 1973) and discussed in much recent work on the topic, most notably McCarthy (1999): UNDERAPPLICATION opacity, whereby a process appears to have failed to apply in expected contexts on the surface, and OVERAPPLICATION opacity, whereby a process appears to have applied in unexpected contexts on the surface. Specifically, I demonstrate that there are three distinct types of overapplication opacity in addition to the only case discussed and properly categorised as such in the literature, counterbleeding. The analysis of each type of opacity in terms of rule-based serialism and in terms of Optimality Theory is discussed, emphasising the strengths and weaknesses of the two frameworks in each case.
Bakovic, Eric (2005)
Antigemination, assimilation and the determination of identity
Phonology 22.3.
Avoidance of adjacent consonants that are 'sufficiently identical' — that is, identical except for possible differences in a small subset of specific features — is argued to result from joint satisfaction of a constraint against geminates (identical adjacent consonants) and other active constraints that independently require assimilation with respect to those features ignored in the determination of identity. The crux of the proposal is the dependence of antigemination on independent assimilation processes, a prediction that is independently verified in case studies from English and Lithuanian. The factorial typology of constraints at the core of the proposal is demonstrated to closely fit a significant range of observed cases.

Some of my courses

Coming soon.








Some of my other hats

Here are a few things I do other than research and teaching.

And in case you didn't know, I'm really into Open Access.

UC Open Access Policy Learn More UC OA Policy Explained Meet Rich Schneider

Some other stuff

Here’s some other stuff I’ve done.


  • @allthingseric
  • 9500 Gilman Dr. #0108
    La Jolla, CA 92093-0108
  • (858) 822-3206 (voice)
    (858) 534-4789 (fax)

2015 Linguistic Summer Institute, Chicago