EGG Summer School 2023 — Novi Sad

On this page you can find course information and materials for the two courses I will be teaching at the EGG Summer School 2023 in Novi Sad. It will be updated sporadically as I prepare my materials for the course, and possibly also as the courses progress in case we adjust anything based on participant's interest.


Introduction to Melodic Representation

Teacher: Florian Breit

Course outline

This course will introduce students to melodic representation, a subfield of phonology investigating how the specific characteristics associated with particular types of segments (what we call melody) are represented mentally and how these interact with other levels of interpretation and computation. We will ask many fundamental questions, such as whether segments consist of smaller parts, how fine-grained these parts should be, what these parts actually represent, how they interact, how we might determine what these parts are, and how these parts gain their eventual phonetic characteristics. Throughout we will focus on one possible answer to these questions based on Element Theory, which you should have a fair understanding of by the end of the course. However, we will also spend some time looking at and comparing different approaches, such as traditional Feature Theory, so that participants will have some appreciation for the range of possible answers.


No particular previous knowledge about segmental or melodic phonology is assumed, but a basic grounding in articulatory phonetics will be necessary to be able to follow the course.

Readings & Materials

A more detailed curriculum, recommended readings and course materials will be provided here, some before the course begins and others as the course progresses — we may well be adjusting things as we go depending on your specific needs and interests!

Phonology at the Interface with Morphosyntax

Teacher: Florian Breit

Course outline

This course will explore the Morphosyntax—Phonology interface from the phonological side of things. At the outset, we will discuss the architecture of the Language Faculty, the interfaces and modularity. Against this backdrop we will then adopt a Distributed Morphology (DM) approach to Morphosyntax and the Morphosyntax—Phonology interface and critique DM's mechanism of phonological readjustment rules, leaving us with two types of theoretical options: theories which allow allomorph selection within phonology, and theories which allow no morphosyntactic information in phonology. We will explore these further looking at a number of phenomena which seem to show interaction across the interface and how different approaches deal with these. Most prominently, we will look at Initial Consonant Mutation in the Celtic languages, which will seem intractable for theories that do not admit any morphosyntacic information in phonology at first but which we will then develop a strictly modular theory of which we can show to actually offer new insights and advantages.

Our rough plan is as follows (this will change slightly depending on how we get on):

  • Session 1: Architecture of the language faculty, the interfaces, modularity in cognitive science and linguistics.
  • Session 2: Introduction to Distributed Morphology and the morphosyntax-phonology interface; critique of phonological readjustment rules.
  • Session 3: Two phonological views: theories which allow allomorph selection within phonology versus those that allow no morphosyntactic information in phonology.
  • Session 4: Initial Consonant Mutation and a critique of common approaches to ICM.
  • Session 5: Building a strictly modular theory of ICM.
  • Bonus if time allows: Exceptionality and impenetrability: how empty phonological structure can account for immutability and domain effects.

This is a relatively advanced introduction to phonological interface issues. It will be assumed that students have some prior knowledge of modern approaches to phonology and syntax, such as they might be gained from a typical first-year Introduction to Phonology/Syntax course. Some previous knowledge of morphology will be useful but is not required, and a lack thereof should not discourage you from taking the course.

As part of this course you will come across a wide range of different theories (e.g. Minimalism, Distributed Morphology, Rule-Based Phonology, Optimality Theory, Government Phonology, Element Theory, ...). You will not be expected to be particularly familiar with any of these, and you should not feel any apprehension because of this. We will aim to cover enough of each of these theories during class so that everyone with some basic background in phonology and syntax should be able to follow, irrespective of the specific theories you might or might not be familiar with.

Readings & Materials

We will mainly be working off of a long-ish handout (the Lecture Notes below). It will be useful if you can bring a printed copy of this to class with you (or have it on a tablet where you can mark it up), but some copies will also be provided for anyone who may not be able to bring their own copy or might decide to come to class more spontaneously!

There are some recommended readings you can do if you wish, although none of them are strictly required. You can find PDFs of most of these on shared EGG Google Drive folder. If you want to do more reading on a specific subject, there's also a fairly extensive list of references at the end of the Lecture Notes, and you can always ask me to point you to something specific you might be interested in.

  • [Recommended] Coltheart, M. (1999) Modularity and cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 3(3):15-220.
  • [Recommended] Jackendoff, R. (2003) Précis of Foundations of Language: Brain Meaning, Grammar, Evolution. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 26:651-707.
  • [Optional] Fodor, J.A. (1985) Précis of The Modularity of Mind. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 8:493-499.
  • [Optional] Newman, A.J., Ullman, M.T., Pancheva, R., Waligura, D.L. & Neville, H.J. (2009) An ERP study of regular and irregular English past tense inflection. NeuroImage, 34(1):435-445.
  • [Optional] Lowenstam, J. (2012) German Umlaut, an Outline of a Minimalist Account, Ms., Université Paris Diderot & CNRS.
  • [Recommended] Scheer, T. (2016) Melody-free syntax and phonologically conditioned allomorphy. Morphology, 26:341-378.
  • [Optional] Mascaró, J. (2007) External Allomorphy and Lexical Representation. Linguistic Inquiry, 38(4):715-735.
  • [Optional] Breit, F. (2019) Welsh Mutation and Strict Modularity. Doctoral dissertation, University College London.