LingTea, 4/20 – Markus A. Pöchtrager

In this week’s LingTea, on Thursday (April 20th) 12-1.30pm in room 117, Markus A. Pöchtrager (Boğaziçi University) will give a talk with the title “What do you mean, it’s not phonology?” Please note the time as this is an extended version of LingTea.


Research in phonology over the last decades has given rise to an impressive number of models, sometimes competing, sometimes complementing each other. However, communication across those models, especially competing ones, and therefore improvement is often hindered by a lack of agreement on what phonological theory is actually meant to explain. What is the domain of our investigation, what should be counted in, what not, and why? Worse still, such questions are rarely explicitly addressed, meaning that there is little hope in improving communication (and making progress).

In this talk I want to touch upon those issues from the point of view of Government Phonology, which is usually said to be rather restrictive in what counts as phonological. I will go through a number of case studies as well as several theoretical notions in order to show what different results are achieved from seemingly slight differences in basic assumptions and will try to evaluate the empirical and conceptual differences of those assumptions. For several phenomena that are assumed to be phonological by more mainstream models I will argue that we are better off having them dealt with in other components of grammar.

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