Website moved


MeWelcome! My website has moved (along with me) to UC Berkeley. My new website can be found here.

My work focuses on the phonology-morphology interface, especially phonologically-conditioned allomorphy and ineffability. I also work on phonological variation, with a focus on French and English.

News & Updates

News and updates are below.

LSA special sessions on learning exceptionality: talks available for download

My talk from the LSA “Using language-wide phonotactics to learn affix-specific phonology” is available on this website under Research.

Update: All of the talks from the special session, and a bibliography are available at

If you’d like context and alternatives for my talk on -(a)licious and -(a)thon, I especially recommend viewing Michael Becker’s talk, along with Kie Zuraw’s and Sharon Inkelas’ commentary.

LSA special session: Learning lexical specificity in phonology

Claire Moore-Cantwell and Stephanie Shih have organized a special session at the 2017 LSA, which features a great set of speakers and discussants.

When/where: Friday, January 6, 2:00pm to 5:00pm @ JW Grand Ballroom 7
Link to LSA website:

At the session, I’ll be presenting a talk: “Using phonotactics to learn affix-specific phonology”. Talks will also be presented by Claire, Stephanie, and Michael Becker. Each of the four talks is followed by a discussion led by a panel including Sharon Inkelas, Kie Zuraw, Andries Coetzee, and Jen Smith. Joe Pater will open the special session with a discussion of the place of lexical specificity in phonology. It promises to be a really interesting (and fruitful) session.

Here’s a summary from Claire and Stephanie, along with the schedule.

The interaction of the phonological grammar with the lexicon is a necessary component in the phonological acquisition process and its end state, since the lexicon shapes and is shaped by phonology at potentially every stage of learning. The phonological grammar and lexicon share a complex relationship, as illustrated by the numerous phenomena in which phonological behavior exhibits lexical specificity: morphologically-conditioned phonology, lexical class-sensitive phonology, lexical exceptions to phonological patterns, and phonological variation in the lexicon. This relationship has heavily influenced the development of morphophonological theory. The current state of the field presents new challenges to understanding grammar and the lexicon. Access to natural language quantitative data now allows us to observe not only the empirical extent of lexical specificity across a phonological system but also the push-pull between massive variation and systematicity that exists in natural languages. Newly available empirical tools such as corpus methods, machine learning, and experimental techniques have accelerated investigations of learning and acquisition, as have developments in understanding psycholinguistic influences on phonology. This symposium brings together work that leverages these modern empirical developments and situates this new work within the broader landscape of phonological theory.

The symposium will address the following issues of learning lexical specificity in the grammar: When and how does a learner learn lexical specificity? How does the learner manage lexical specificity and natural language variation? How does lexical sensitivity differ or remain the same for learning alternations and allomorphy versus static lexical phonotactics? What are the relevant lexical items and categories for phonology? How specific does lexical specificity have to be? What is the optimal balance in grammatical design between representational efficiency and predictive accuracy and robustness? How is the trade-off between complexity and adequacy managed in grammar and learning of lexically-sensitive phonological patterns? How do the developing grammar and lexicon interact in learning? How do features of the lexicon such as lexical frequency influence the grammar?

Introduction by Joe Pater (2:00-2:10)

Part 1. Allomorphy & Alternations (2:10-3:35)

  • Michael Becker: Affix-specificity makes stress learnable
  • Brian W. Smith: Using phonotactics to learn affix-specific phonology
  • Discussion by Sharon Inkelas, Kie Zuraw

Part 2. Items & Classes (3:35-5:00)

  • Claire Moore-Cantwell: Concurrent learning of the lexicon and phonology
  • Stephanie S. Shih: Learning lexical classes for class-sensitive phonology
  • Discussion by Andries Coetzee, Jennifer Smith