mfm bulletin

Posted on June 29, 2013 by

Impervious to crises or recessions, the Manchester Phonology Meeting continues to go from strength to strength. This year’s meeting attracted a record 130 participants from all corners of the world. Below is a belated report from Manchet’s own correspondent.

Many leading institutions such as MIT and UMass sent very large delegations consisting of as many as four phonologists. Manchester itself was very well represented on the programme by its students, alumni, and staff. One of the highly coveted oral presentation slots went to PhD student Danielle Turton, who presented a paper on /l/-darkening in different varieties of English: this was based on data gathered with the shiny new ultrasound machine in the Phonetics Lab. PhD alumna Patrycja Strycharczuk also used ultrasound to probe the behaviour of liquids — this time Dutch /r/ — in a talk presented with Koen Sebregts.

Also on the programme was our own Wendell Kimper, who was "rethinking the role of contrast in vowel harmony". Harmony being the topic of this year’s special session, it is not surprising that several papers in the conference engaged with Wendell’s highly innovative work. This has recently received striking support from research carried out at Stanford: see this report on the Rutgers Optimality Archive.

This year, mfm’s indefatigable convenor and main organizer, Patrick Honeybone, was sadly unable to attend the conference in person, although he still orchestrated the preparations from Edinburgh with his inimitable savoir faire. Fortunately, the fearless Yuni Kim took up the reins on the ground, and everything went off without a glitch under her eagle-eyed supervision — and, yes, her ahems did Patrick proud. A large number of locals joined Yuni to lend a hand, including students (Míša Hejná, Danielle Turton, Chris McCall-Twentyman, Richard Gilbert), postdocs (Silvio Cruschina, Michael Ramsammy), and staff (Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero, Laurel Mackenzie, George Walkden). Further reinforcements were sent in from Edinburgh, consisting of Amanda Cardoso and Márton Sóskuthy. Mfm is a big happy family!