Meetings: Wednesday, 3:00 – 4:30 PM, in-person or via Zoom in Spring semester 2023. We meet at the regular lab meeting time on the off-weeks when the lab doesn’t meet.

Contact: Yongqing Ye (

Goal: This is an informal reading group that serve the needs of current faculty and students whose research, qualifying paper or dissertation topics touch on sound change.

People: This group is open to graduate students, staff, alumni and faculty at MSU and beyond.

Reading list:

Date Title Author(s)/Year 
2/8/23 Empirical foundations for a theory of language change Weinreich, Labov & Herzog (1968) 
2/22/23 Labov, sound change, and phonological theory Kiparsky (2016) 
3/1/23 Diachronic phonology Bermúdez-Otero (2007) 
3/8/23 Cancelled – Spring break
3/15/23Amphichronic explanation and the life cycle of phonological processes Bermúdez-Otero (2013) 
3/22/23 Gradient well-formedness in optimality theory Hayes (1998) 
3/29/23 Postponed 
4/5/23The study of variation Fruehwald (2022)
4/19/23 Cancelled
4/26/23The initiation and incrementation of sound change: community-oriented momentum-sensitive learning – pt1Bermúdez-Otero (2020) 
5/3/23The initiation and incrementation of sound change: community-oriented momentum-sensitive learning – pt2  Bermúdez-Otero (2020) 
6/23/23Explanation in variable phonology: an exponential model of morphological constraints Guy (1991) 
7/7/23 Inherent variability and the obligatory contour principle Guy & Boberg (1997) 
7/21/23Empirical foundations for an integrated study of language evolution. Language Dynamics and Change10(2), 188-229Roberts, G., & Sneller, B. (2020)
8/11/23T-d deletion in British English: New evidence for the long-lost morphological effect Baranowski & Turton (2020) 
8/18/23 Insertion and deletion in Northern English (ng): Interacting innovations in the life cycle of phonological processes Bailey (2021) 
9/1/23 Variation in English /l/: synchronic reflections of the life cycle of phonological processes Turton (2014) 
Note: The fall reading group schedule is tentative.
9/15/23Categorical or gradient? An ultrasound investigation of /l/-darkening and vocalization in varieties of English Turton (2017) 
9/29/23 The social motivation of a sound change. Word19(3), 273-309.Labov, W. (1963).
10/13/23In defense of the child innovator. Micro change and macro change in diachronic syntax, 10-24.Cournane, A. (2017)
10/27/23Transmission and diffusion. Language83(2), 344-387.Labov, W. (2007)
11/10/23Phonological rule spreading across hostile lines:(TH)-fronting in Philadelphia. Language Variation and Change32(1), 25-47.Sneller, B. (2020)