LabPhon 17 Satellite workshop: Situating phonological contrast within the production-perception loop


Abby Cohn, Cornell University

Jason Shaw, Yale University


The goal of this workshop is to bring together scholars with different perspectives on the relationship between phonological contrast and the production and perception of speech.

Foundational to the conversation is a shared understanding that:

  • abstract patterning of sounds and their lexical representations as well as their physical realization in time and space is something that speakers/hearers “know” about their language, that is “phonological” and “phonetic” knowledge
  • rich empirical data collection is the best way to advance our theoretical understanding of how phonological contrast relates to the perception and production of speech

We have invited researchers from different theoretical perspectives, including Articulatory Phonology and distinctive feature theory, to take a broad view of how phonological contrast is situated within speech production and perception. One difference between these approaches is whether the temporal dimension of speech is viewed as internal or external to the system of phonological contrast. Another is the degree of explicitness with which phonological contrast is related to perception/production. Together we propose to discuss how different approaches can be integrated into a richer understanding of the relation between phonological contrast and the continuous spatial-temporal aspects of speech production and perception.


The workshop is free but requires registration by July 7th. To register, please fill out the form at this link. A Zoom link to the workshop will be sent to all registered participants.

Invited speakers:

Matt Goldrick, Northwestern University

Daniel Currie Hall, Saint Mary’s University

Caitlin Smith, Johns Hopkins University

Workshop structure:

The workshop will consist of an introduction by co-organizer Shaw framing the questions we are addressing in the workshop.  This will be followed by two commentaries addressing the key issues from different perspectives (Smith, Hall). Each commentary will be 25 minutes followed by 5 minutes of Q&A. These sessions be live on Zoom. Following the presentations there will be 10-minute breakout session discussion; participants will be randomly assigned to groups of 5. Following a break, we will have a 30-minute block dedicated to discussion of the posters, followed by a synthesizing discussion by Goldrick. Posters will be uploaded in advance of the workshop as 5-minute presentations, following the model of the main LabPhon conference. Registered participants will be emailed links to the posters (links to abstracts are below). We close with a general discussion facilitated by co-organizer Cohn.

Program (Pacific Time):

8:00   Introduction, Jason Shaw 

Invited commentaries on contrast & the perception/production link

8:20      Articulatory Phonology (Caitlin Smith, Johns Hopkins) 

8:50      Distinctive Feature Theory (Daniel Currie Hall, Saint Mary’s University)

9:20       Breakout rooms for discussion

9:30       Break (30 minute)

10:00     Discussion of posters–see list below–facilitated by Jason Shaw 

10:30     Discussant, Matt Goldrick (Northwestern)

10:50     General discussion, facilitated by Jason Shaw 

11:20     END


Abstracts are linked to the poster titles below. Links to the presentation materials will be sent to all registered participants.

Consistency in difference: The relationship between articulatory variability and segment differentiation for individual speakersSarah Harper

Features or gestures in speech production and perception?: The case of Korean, Hyunsoon Kim

The complex interplay of perceived pitch and formant frequencies in lexical tone perception in Cantonese, Qian Min Feng, Amy Wu, and Jonathan Nissenbaum

Imitating alignment differences in German nuclear accents – is (L+H)* a category?, Katharina Zahner, Marieke Einfeldt, Bettina Braun, Nicole Dehé

Temporal Sequencing of Cues to Tone and Phonation is Phonological, Not Phonetic, Maya L. Barzilai, Kate Riestenberg

Tonogenesis in Afrikaans: Transferring phonological contrast through enriched representations, Alexandra Pfiffner