Markedness: Perspectives in Morphology and Phonology

July 13-14, 2017
Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main

The programme of the workshop, including abstracts, is available here.


This workshop has as its aim to disentangle the various notions of markedness, and how they would apply in phonology and morphology.

At the heart of the notion 'markedness' lies asymmetric behaviour of two units on a certain scale, such as, for instance, frequency, complexity, tangibility, etc. However, as noted by many authors (Rice 2007, Hume 2011 among many others), it is difficult to formalize and capture exactly, since there is no consensus on what scale (or scales) markedness should be measured on.

In addition to the question of which scales are relevant, there is an overarching question where markedness belongs in the classical Chomskyan architecture of performance and competence. Most researchers agree that, at a minimum, markedness factors are observed on the performance side, but views are more divided on whether markedness factors also play a role on the competence side. Another factor relates to the various grammatical modules: is markedness in phonology the same as in morphology? For instance, phonetic factors in phonology (e.g. articulatory simplicity) and phonetic factors in morphology (e.g. overt marking of affixes) differ in nature. On the other hand, there are many similarities: phonology and morphology both contain processes involving a trigger and target, configurations that have been used extensively to develop a theory of markedness.

We invite abstracts addressing issues including, but not limited to, the following:

Invited speakers:

Contact Information

For any questions or information, please contact: moskal [at]

This workshop is organised as part of the Lehrstuhl of Caroline Féry, and gratefully acknowledges funding from the Lehrstuhl, the Graduiertenkolleg "Nominal Modification" and the Fokus programme of Goethe-Universität.