in Phonology
below and above the word

21-22 November 2019, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra

About the Workshop

About The Workshop

Within the research project “Prosodic and morphosyntactic domains: analyses of morphophonological phenomena at the interfaces” (FFI2016-76245-C3-1-P), we are organizing a two-day workshop on “Recursivity in phonology, below and above the word”, featuring the keynote speakers Emily Elfner (York University, Canada), Junko Itô and Armin Mester (University of California, Santa Cruz).


Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra


Thursday and Friday
21-22 November 2019

Recursion, i.e. unbounded nesting, has long been seen as a fundamental cognitive property of the language faculty, usually associated with the syntactic component of the grammar. One of the achievements of phonological research in the previous century was the discovery of structured patterns within the continuous flow of sounds in spoken language. In the early eighties, the exploration of such patterns gave rise to the development of Prosodic Phonology, whose tenet is that phonological constituency is analogous, but not structurally identical, to morphosyntactic constituency. According to Prosodic Phonology, the constituent structure of phonological forms is defined in terms of the Prosodic Hierarchy, a hierarchy of a finite set of universal prosodic categories, i.e. the syllable < the metrical foot < the phonological word < the phonological phrase < the intonational phrase < the utterance. In the early days of Prosodic Phonology, it was assumed that all prosodic representations complied with the Strict Layer Hypothesis. According to this hypothesis, a category of level i in the hierarchy immediately dominates a (sequence of) categories of level i−1.

However recursive higher-ordered prosodic categories, such as the phonological phrase and the intonational phrase, were promptly advocated in the literature. With the arrival of Optimality Theory, the Strict Layer Hypothesis was relaxed and recursive structures were posited to account for a wide range of phonological phenomena, including the prosodification of function elements into recursive phonological words. Recursive structures have recently been proposed for prosodic categories below the phonological word, most notably for the metrical foot, but also for syllables and even moras. A substantial body of research has argued that recursive feet account for ternary stress patterns and also facilitate a unified account of several foot-conditioned segmental and tonal distributions. In the literature on the syntax-phonology interface, recursivity above the phonological word has received renewed attention, especially since the appearance of Match Theory. At the other end of the spectrum, we find work on the syntax-phonology interface that completely rejects prosodic constituency, and derives instead the relevant domains for phonological computation from syntactic phases.

Invited Speakers

Here are our invited speakers

Emily Elfner

Emily Elfner

York Univerity, Canada

Junko Itô

Junko Itô

University of California, Santa Cruz

Armin Mester

Armin Mester

University of california, Santa Cruz

Workshop Program

Here is our workshop schedule

The workshop program will be available in mid-September

Organizing Committee

This is our Organizing Committee

Eulàlia Bonet

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Eduard Artés

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Teresa Cabré

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Joan Mascaró

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Maria Ohannesian

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Francesc Torres-Tamarit

CNRS/Université Paris 8

Maria del Mar Vanrell

Universitat de les Illes Balears

Scientific Committee

This is our Scientific Committee

Birgit Alber

(Università di Verona)

Outi Bat-El

(Tel-Aviv University, אוניברסיטת תל-אביב)

Ryan Bennett

(UC Santa Cruz)

Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero

(University of Manchester)

Stuart Davis

(Indiana University)

Laura Downing

(Göteborgs Universitet)

Emily Elfner

(York University/Université)

Caroline Féry

(Goethe-Universität Frankfurt)

Janet Grijzenhout

(Universiteit Leiden)

Patrick Honeybone

(University of Edinburgh)

Call for papers

Research Questions

We encourage speakers to address, although not exclusively, some of the research questions formulated below, either arguing in favor or against recursivity in phonology, and from any theoretical perspective and methodology, including phonological formal analyses of particular languages, language typology, language acquisition, laboratory phonology, psycholinguistics or neurolinguistics.

  • Does recursivity in phonology exist at all?
  • If recursivity in phonology exists, what exactly can or cannot trigger a recursive structure in the domain of the syntax-phonology interface?
  • Is recursivity restricted to higher-ordered phonological constituents like the phonological phrase and the intonational phrase? If so, why?
  • What is the empirical evidence to posit recursive structures above the word?
  • Does ternarity exist in phonology (at the level of the metrical foot or at higher-ordered levels) or should it be derived from recursive structures?
  • If recursivity in phonology also exists below the level of the phonological word, does it show an upper bound on nesting?
  • Does recursivity also exist below the level of the metrical foot, i.e. the syllable, the mora?
  • What is the empirical evidence to posit recursive structures below the word?
  • What does recursivity add to the prosodic bootstrapping hypothesis, the idea that L1 learners use prosodic features as a cue to identify more abstract properties of grammar such as syntactic constituency?
  • Can neural correlates of phonological recursion be observed?

Submission of abstracts

The workshop will feature 45 minute talks (30-35 minutes followed by 15-10 minutes for comments and questions). Abstracts must be submitted through EasyChair by the 1st of June, 2019. Abstracts will be reviewed by 3 anonymous reviewers.

Abstract guidelines

Abstracts must be anonymous, maximally 1 page long (A4), with an extra page for figures, examples, tables and references, 12 pt Times New Roman, with one-inch (2.54 cm) margins on all sides, and written in English, PDF format.

Important dates

  • Abstract submission deadline: June 1, 2019
  • Notification of acceptance: July 15, 2019
  • Program announcement: September 15, 2019
  • Registration: October 1 - November 1, 2019

Workshop Venue

Event venue location info and gallery


Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Bellaterra

The workshop will take place at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB). The easiest way to arrive to UAB from Barcelona is by train.

By train from Barcelona

Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC)

Line Barcelona-Sabadell (S2) or Barcelona-Universitat Autònoma (S6).

Station: Universitat Autònoma.

In Barcelona, these trains stop at Catalunya, Provença, Gràcia, Muntaner and Sarrià.

The journey time to/from Barcelona is 45 minutes, and trains depart approximately every 10 minutes.


Some good and economic options

Residencia d'Investigadors

Residència d'Investigadors

C/ Hospital, 64. 08001 Barcelona
19,0 km from the Venue
Barcelona City Hotels

Barcelona City Hotels

C/ Balmes, 60. 08007 Barcelona
17,5 km from the Venue
Exe Campus

Exe Campus

Vila Universitària, 08193 Campus UAB
1,2 km from the Venue

Accommodation in university residence halls is always a good value for money.
To get to UAB, the most conveniently located residence is Residència d’Investigadors, just 10-15 min walk from the FGC station on Plaça Catalunya.

When looking for a place to stay, keep in mind that the most convenient connection to the UAB campus is the Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya (FGC), lines S2/S6. Convenient stops for this line are Plaça Catalunya (if you want to stay in the old city); Provença, on c/Provença, a few blocks from Pg. de Gràcia (if you want to stay in the Eixample); and Gràcia, at Pl. Gal·la Placídia (if you want to stay in the Gràcia neighborhood).

Hotel Campus UAB is located on the UAB campus, only 10-15 min walk from the conference venue.