Computational Phonology: the Delaware School

AP&M 4218, Wednesdays 12-1:30pm, Spring 2017


The immediate aim of this reading group is to get us up to speed on the computational phonology work of Jeff Heinz (Delaware, but soon-to-be at Stony Brook), Jane Chandlee (Haverford), and Adam Jardine (Rutgers). Because Chandlee and Jardine were students of Heinz at Delaware, I’ll call this “the Delaware School” of computational phonology.

An aspirational aim of this reading group is to be sufficiently equipped to understand (and perhaps to begin to tackle) Heinz’s “Hilbert Problem for Phonology”, described in more detail here. Briefly, Heinz revives the question originally and famously posed by Kiparsky (1968) in the title of his paper, “How abstract is phonology?” Heinz restates the question this way: “How distinct can underlying forms be from surface forms?” Then, in an effort to “[place] the focus on the analytical principles that would lead a scientist towards, or away from, an abstract analysis,” Heinz formulates the problem this way: “What principles determine whether an abstract analysis of the observable facts is warranted or not?”

Reading list

Week 1: introduction

Weeks 2-3: foundation

Weeks 4-5: overview

Week 6: metathesis

Week 7: vowel harmony

Weeks 8-10: strictly local processes