Meeting 1: Lublin, Poland

Derivations and Representations

> See the detailed program

June, 2015. Location: Lublin, Poland.

The Phonological Theory Agora (PTA) aims at being a platform for debate on theoretical issues. We do so (among other things) by organizing yearly meetings where phonologists can meet to discuss recent advances as well as fundamental issues in the theory. We are not devoted to any specific theory in particular, but welcome contributions from any theoretical stance.


The first meeting will take place in Lublin immediately after the Approaches to Phonology and Phonetics conference, i.e. on June 22 and 23, 2015. The symposium will be devoted to the relation between derivation and representation (see description below) and will last one day and a half and has an experimental setup.

The slots for presentations will be very short, and discussion after those relatively long (5-10 minutes for presentation followed by 25-20 minutes of discussion). Potential speakers are invited to only (a) present a position, and (b) give some brief and key arguments for this position. Although it is not disallowed to support the position with empirical arguments, the emphasis should be on the implications for phonological theory at large.
In the morning of the first day, there will be an introduction by Marc van Oostendorp and Tobias Scheer on the key topics. On the morning of the second day, there will be a general discussion.


A key division in any phonological theory is that between representation – the internal structure of individual phonological items such as words – and derivation – the way in which different instances of what is considered ‘the same’ phonological item are related, e.g. the way in which an affixed and an unaffixed phonological form of the same word are similar and distinct from each other.
Most phonological theories acknowledge a division of labour between the two, but the border between these can be very different, as can be the relative importance to each of them: certain theories (such as Government Phonology) lay a lot of emphasis on the study of representation whereas others (classical generative phonology, certain types of Optimality Theory) seem to concentrate almost entirely on derivational aspects.
The debate as to the division of labour has a long history, and is as yet unresolved. What are the reasons for preferring representational over derivational solutions to a particular problem? How do representational and derivational theories relate to each other, how do they interact? For instance, can any kind of representation function in any theory of what a derivation is? To what extent are certain derivational solutions notational variants of representational ones, and vice versa?

Original format for an open discussion

  Day 1: June 22nd Day 2: June 23rd

10-12 : Tutorial on the topic

« Representations and derivations »

by Marc van Oostendorp and Tobias Scheer

9-10 : Synopsis of « make a claim and defend it »

10-11 : Feedback on PTA 2015 and prospective for 2016 and following (what it could be / should be, new proposals, etc.)

11-12 : Business meeting

PM 1:30-6 : « Make a claim and defend it »

7/8 speakers, 30 mn each -  a claim on an issue connected with the main topic (10mn) + discussion (agora 20mn)




Abstracts should be 1 page max.; the presentation is not supposed to contain substantially more information than the abstract. Anonymous abstracts should be submitted before April 15th, 2015 to pta(at) Notification of acceptance by May 2nd, 2015.