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Rutgers Linguistics at Tu+9

Rutgers linguists represented our department with three talks at the 9th Workshop on Turkic and Languages in Contact with Turkic (Tu+9). The conference was held on March 23 and 24, 2024, at Cornell University.

Prof. Adam McCollum was one of the keynote speakers, presenting a talk titled “O gradience, where art thou? Examining backness harmony in Uyghur”.

Abstract: Discreteness of representations is a core commitment of classical generative phonology.
However, one of biggest arguments levied against discreteness has come from the phenomenon of incomplete neutralization – where the output of some phonological process on a feature [F] is phonetically distinct from underived [±F]. A sizeable body of work has argued that incomplete neutralization crucially undermines the sufficiency of discrete representations, instead contending for the inclusion of gradient representations. In this talk, I investigate backness harmony in Uyghur, evaluating recent claims of
incomplete neutralization. Results from two production studies replicate findings from previous work on the language, but I show that, with proper experimental controls, the pattern is derivable without recourse to gradient phonological representations. I then discuss the conceptual and theoretical challenges for gradient representations along with criteria for true phonologically relevant gradience.

First year graduate student Utku Zobarlar and Prof. Adam McCollum presented a talk on their joint work, “Representing irregular aorist allomorph selection in Turkish,” in a talk. Find their abstract here.

Second year graduate student Aidan Sharma also presented a talk his work, Uyghur Umlaut as Vowel Reduction. Find his abstract here.