Schedule: Perspectives on Marginal Contrasts

Sunday, 17 July 2016
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM, Baker Hall 219, Cornell University

Organizers: Kathleen Currie Hall (University of British Columbia) & Peggy Renwick (University of Georgia)

Despite claims that the classical notion of a discrete distinction between phoneme and allophone isn’t tenable, it still forms the backbone of much descriptive, theoretical, experimental, and clinical work in linguistics. At the same time, mounting evidence shows that “marginal contrasts” are cross-linguistically prevalent, that they affect perception and production, and that they have consequences for phonological representations and patterning, both synchronic and diachronic. As this previously understudied type of phenomenon is brought into the limelight, more researchers are grappling with it from diverse theoretical and empirical perspectives. However, we currently lack consensus on many aspects of marginal contrasts: how to identify them, whether all should be treated equally, what set of empirical and theoretical tools should be used to investigate them, or how phonological theory must shift to accommodate them. This workshop is an opportunity to bring together viewpoints on the notion of marginal contrast, to discuss the methodological state-of-the-art, and to establish directions for future research.

Session 1: Perception, Production, and Diachrony

  • 10:15 − 10:35 Session 1 Discussion

10:35 − 10:50 COFFEE BREAK

Session 2: Granularity of Contrasts in Synchronic Phonology

  • 11:40 − 12:00 Session 2 Discussion