Sie sind hier: FRIAS School of Language & … Veranstaltungen Workshop: Phonological Typology …

Workshop: Phonological Typology of Syllable and Word Languages in Theory and Practice

Wann 29.03.2010 um 10:00 bis
31.03.2010 um 18:00
Wo FRIAS Seminarraum, Albertstr. 19
Teilnehmer Gasthörer nach Anmeldung
Termin übernehmen vCal

Related Questions

Renata Szczepaniak (University of Hamburg,
Javier Caro Reina (University of Freiburg,


Conference Subject

This workshop deals with the phonological typology of syllable and word languages as introduced by Peter Auer (1993, 2001). It addresses both practical and theoretical questions arising from the application of this typology on Germanic, Romance, Slavic and also non-Indo-European languages in synchronic and diachronic research. The workshop will take place from March 29th to 31st, 2009 at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS).


Related Questions

The main purpose of this workshop is to refine the typology of syllable and word languages and to extend its application on further languages. We would like to invite presentations concerning various aspects of work with this typology. Some of the questions which can be dealt with in the workshop are listed below:

1) Diachronic and Synchronic Typological Analysis
The typology of syllable and word languages has already proved to be a useful instrument for explaining language change as well as existing differences between dialects or relating languages. E.g. while Standard German has undergone a profound change from a syllable language (Old High German) towards a word language (New High German), Swiss German and Walser German spoken in Issime (North Italy) have conserved or even extended syllable related rules (SZCZEPANIAK 2007a,b,c). For a complete typological analysis of those and other varieties or languages, detailed studies focussing on particular phonological processes and parameters are necessary. Such studies might shed light on such typologically-relevant questions as whether languages such as Luxemburgish and European Spanish possess ambisyllabic consonants. Statistical analyses, though, are lacking so far. However, existing works on frequency of different syllable types in Spanish reveal the almost complete lack of correlation between syllable structure complexity and word position (DAUER 1983, LLOYD/SCHNITZER 2000).

2) Phonological Typology and Language Economy
The phonological strategies improving either the phonological syllable or the phonological word are related to the opposing communicative interests of speaker and listener. In a syllable language, the ease of articulation seems to be of high importance, but the processes optimising the syllable structure (within a phonological phrase or even larger phonological domain) often blur the morphological boundaries, cf. span. sol o llueve 'sun or it rains' / sólo llueve 'it rains only' ( (cf. KLEINHENZ 1996 for Italian and French). In a word language the facilitation of decoding is of highest priority. Here, processes marking the phonological word can lead to complex syllables that are difficult to articulate, e.g. vowel deletion in the history of German MHG gibest > NHG gibst 'you give'. The speaker-listener-interrelation could be seen as a main internal factor for the typological change.

3) Typological Parameters: Their Relevance and Diachronic Change
The parameters formulated by Peter Auer (1993, 2001) are not equally relevant for the typological classification of languages. Phonological processes such as resyllabifications or assimilations at word boundaries often occur in languages with a highly differentiated vocalism (i.e. Luxembourgish). Contrastive and diachronic studies could help show in which order the individual parameters appear in the typological drift. For instance, the vowel centralisation in unstressed position in German took place before processes that reinforced the borders of the phonological word by adding an epenthetic consonant occurred, e.g. MHG mâne > NHG Mond 'moon' (SZCZEPANIAK 2007a).

4) Possible Causes of the Phonological-Typological Change
There is very little knowledge about internal and external factors determining the typological drift or typological continuity. Language contact situation may lead to the reinforcement of the syllable language or even to a development towards a syllable language type. NOSKE (2007, in print) shows that the Southern Dutch dialects spoken at the Romance-German language border have conserved more syllable language characteristics than Standard Dutch (see also NÜBLING/SCHRAMBKE 2004 for Swiss German). Interestingly, the standardisation in (Early) High German has supported the tendency towards a word language observed since Middle High German. The opposing interests of speaker-listener could be seen as a main internal factor for typological drift. Another factor involved in typological change might be the general tendency of German to demarcate boundaries. Not only can it be observed on the syntactic level (development of framing constructions) but also on the morphological (formation of linking elements between the two elements of a compound).

5) Impact of the Typological Tendency on Morphosyntactic Change
The typological orientation of a certain language may cause morphosyntactic change. In German, the development of the linking elements like  s in Prüfung-s-angst 'exam nerves' can be traced back to the strong tendency towards a word language type. Linking elements arose in Early New High German when lexicalised nominal phrases as Teufels Sohn 'the son of the devil' were reanalysed as compounds. The former inflection endings have been functionalised as a prosodic means to optimise the phonological word. The extremely productive linking  s makes the right edge of the phonological word more complex, e.g. Prüfungs and, thus, helps to decode the whole compound, e.g. [Prüfungs]ω[angst]ω (NÜBLING/SZCZEPANIAK 2008). Generally, there must be many differences in morphology-phonology interaction between both language types: In word languages the morpheme constancy would be expectable, while syllable languages are supposed to have allomorphs depending on number of syllable or syllable structure.

6) Universality of Prosodic Domains
The prosodic hierarchy developed by NESPOR/VOGEL 1986 was assumed to be universal. However, the existence of a prosodic category in a certain language (i.e. the mora or the phonological word) can be questioned due to a lack of concrete phonetic and phonological processes or regularities related. Hence, in some languages, e.g. in Polish, the existence of the phonological word as a prosodic category is debatable. In European Spanish, the relevance of the same prosodic category proves to be very marginal, cf. HILBRIG 2008, SZCZEPANIAK in print.

We would like this workshop to be an open platform for phonological-typological research concerning the above discussed as well as other questions.

Programme Outline

Monday, March 29, 2010
09:00 - 09:30 Welcome
09:30 - 10:10 Peter Auer (FRIAS)
Word and syllable languages. Thoughts on the typological and diachronic relevance of a prosodic distinction
10:10 - 10:40 Coffee break
10:40 - 11:20 Kurt Braunmüller (Hamburg)
Scandinavian word phonology: evidence for a typological cycle
11:20 - 12:00 Stig Eliasson (Mainz)
Phonological marking of morphological boundaries vs. phonetic syllabification in Swedish
12:00 -14: 00 Lunch break
14:00 - 14:40 Roland Noske (Lille)
Opposite typological developments in French and Dutch
14:40 - 15:20 Helmut Spiekerman (Freiburg)
Diachronic view on Low German dialects as syllable and/or word languages
15:20 - 16:00 Steffen Höder (Hamburg)
Low German: A profile of a word language - and why it matters
16:00 - 16:30 Coffee break
16:30 - 17:10 Peter Gilles (Luxembourg)
Phonological domains in Luxembourgish - syllable or word language?
17:10 - 17:50 Julia Bertram (Mainz)
Syllable structure in Luxembourgish
20:00 Workshop dinner


Tuesday, March 30, 2010


09:00 - 09:40 Renata Szczepaniak (Hamburg)
Vowel and consonant epentheses as related to the evolution of German from a syllable to a word language
09:40 - 10:20 Guido Seiler (Freiburg) / Kathrin Würth (Zürich)
Monosyllabic lengthening in German and its relation to the syllable vs. word languages typology
10:20 - 10:50 Coffee break
10:50 - 11:30 Beat Siebenhaar (Leipzig)
Timing and intonation evidence for a definition of Swiss German as a syllable language in contrast to standard German
11:30 - 12:10 Damaris Nübling (Mainz)
First names in German from 1945 to 2005 and their relation to the phonological word
12:15 - 14:15 Lunch break
14:15 - 14:55 Matthias Heinz (Tübingen)
Syllable vs. word and centre vs. periphery in the diachrony of Romance phonological typology
14:55 - 15:35 Javier Caro Reina (Freiburg)
Phonological domains in Central Catalan in the framework of the typology of syllable and word languages
15:35 - 16:15 Stefan Schmid (Zürich)
Syllable Typology and the Rhythm Class Hypothesis: Evidence from Italo-Romance dialects
16:15 - 16:45 Coffee break
16:45 - 17:25 Conceição Cunha (München)
Syllable Structure and Language Typology: Some Acoustic Evidence from European and Brazilian Portuguese
17:25 - 18:05 Andreas Dufter (Erlangen)
Phonological theory and poetic practice: syllabic and accentual constraints in Romance versification
20:00 Workshop dinner



Wednesday, March 31, 2010


09:00 - 09:40 Barış Kabak (Konstanz)
Syllables and Emergent Segments
9:40 - 10:20 David Britain (Bern)
From syllable to word - evidence from English accents around the world
10:20 - 10:50 Coffee break
10:50 - 11:30 Mareile Schramm (Siegen)
Syllable structure and patterns of phonotactic restructuring in Caribbean creoles
11:30 - 12:10 Oroitz Jauregi Nazabal (Vitoria)
Basque syllable structure
12:10 Final Discussion



AUER, P. (1993): Is a rhythm-based typology possible? A study of the role of prosody in phonological typology. Univ. Konstanz.
AUER, P. (2001): Silben- und akzentzählende Sprachen. In: M. Haspelmath et al. (eds.): Sprachtypologie und sprachliche Universalien. Ein internationales Handbuch. Bd. 2.2. Berlin (=Handbücher zur Sprach- und Kommunikationswissenschaft 20), 1391-1399.
DAUER, R. M. (1983): Stress-timing and syllable-timing reanalysed. In: Journal of Phonetics 11, 51-62.
HILBRIG, K. (2008): Silben- und Wortsprachen. Deutsch und Spanisch kontrastiv. Mainz (unveröffentlichte Magisterarbeit).
KLEINHENZ, U. (1996): Zur Typologie phonologischer Domänen. In: E. Lang, G. Zifonun (eds.): Deutsch – typologisch. Berlin, New York (=Jahrbuch. Institut für Deutsche Sprache 1995), 569-584.
LLOYD, P./SCHNITZER, R.D., "A statistical study of the structure of the Spanish syllable". In: Linguistics, 1967, H. 37, 58-72.
NESPOR, M./VOGEL, I. (1986): Prosodic Phonology. Dordrecht, Riverton (=Studies in Generative Grammar 28).
NOSKE, R. (2007): Schwa on the border between Dutch and French. Two refutations of assumptions about the histories of Dutch and French. In: Proceedings JEL 2007 Schwa(s), 5th Nantes Linguistic Meeting, 61-68.
NOSKE, R. (in print): Autonomous typological prosodic evolution versus the Germanic superstrate in diachronic French phonology. In: Enoch, A. et al. (eds.). Romance Languages and Linguistic Theory 2007. Amsterdam/Philadelphia.
NÜBLING, D./SCHRAMBKE R. (2004): Silben- vs. akzentsprachliche Züge in germanischen Sprachen und im Alemannischen. In: Glaser, E. et al. (eds.): Alemannisch im Sprachvergleich. Beiträge zur 14. Arbeitstagung für alemannische Dialektologie in Männedorf (Zürich) vom 16.-18.9.2002. Stuttgart (Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik. Beiheft 129), 281-320.
NÜBLING, D./SZCZEPANIAK, R. (2008): On the Way from Phonology to Morphology. German Linking Elements and the Role of the Phonological Word. In: Morphology 18, 1-25.
SZCZEPANIAK, R. (2007a): Der phonologisch-typologische Wandel des Deutschen von einer Silben- zu einer Wortsprache. Berlin, New York: de Gruyter (= Studia Linguistica Germanica, 85).
SZCZEPANIAK, R. (2007b): Konsonantenassimilationen im Alemannischen aus phonologisch-typologischer Perspektive. In: Klausmann, H. (ed.): Raumstrukturen im Alemannischen. Beiträge der 15. Arbeitstagung zur alemannischen Dialektologie, Schloss Hofen, Vorarlberg, 19.-21.9.2005. Graz-Feldkirch: Neugebauer, 61-72.
SZCZEPANIAK, R. (2007c): Vokalharmonie im Althochdeutschen und im Walserdeutschen – ein Vergleich. In: Zeitschrift für Dialektologie und Linguistik 74,1, 38-60.
SZCZEPANIAK, R. (2009): Wortsprachliches Deutsch und silbensprachliches Spanisch. Ein phonologisch-typologischer Vergleich. In: Estudios filológicos alemanes 17, 251-267.