The University of Manchester

Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero

Linguistics and English Language, University of Manchester








Pauca sed matura.




My main areas of research are:

  • phonological and morphological theory;

  • historical linguistics;

  • Germanic (specially Old, Middle, and Present-day English); Romance (specially Spanish, Portuguese, Catalan, and French).

I have a particular interest in the interfaces between morphosyntax and phonology and between phonology and phonetics. In this field, my research focuses on the evidence for, and challenges to, classical modular feedforward architectures of grammar. My work on morphosyntactic conditioning in phonology highlights the advantages of cyclicity and stratification: see my page on Stratal Optimality Theory.

Historical issues figure prominently in my work. I believe that proper consideration of the diachronic life-cycle of sound patterns is often crucial to solving problems of phonological description and explanation. At the same time, my work argues that a stratal-cyclic model of phonology embedded within a modular feedforward architecture of grammar can provide important insights into the life cycle of phonological processes.

Lately I have been engaged in collaborative work that uses tools from statistical mechanics to understand how the relative diachronic stability of language types is reflected in their geospatial distribution.






































Google Scholar profile.

Erdős number: 5.

Kitching, Christopher R., Henri Kauhanen, Jordan Abbott, Deepthi Gopal, Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero & Tobias Galla. 2024. Estimating transmission noise on networks from stationary local order. arXiv preprint arXiv:2405.12023. [show/hide abstract]

Kauhanen, Henri,, Deepthi Gopal, Tobias Galla & Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero. 2021. Geospatial distributions reflect temperatures of linguistic features. Science Advances 7(1): eabe6540. [show/hide abstract] [press coverage] [follow-up project]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2020. The initiation and incrementation of sound change: community-oriented momentum-sensitive learning. In James Kirby, Lauren Hall-Lew & Patrick Honeybone (eds), Individuals, communities, and sound change. Special collection in Glossa 5(1): 121. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2018. In defence of underlying representations: Latin rhotacism, French liaison, Romanian palatalization. Probus 30(2): 171-214. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2018. Stratal Phonology. In S.J. Hannahs & Anna R. K. Bosch (eds), The Routledge handbook of phonological theory, 100-134. Abingdon: Routledge. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2016. We do not need structuralist morphemes, but we do need constituent structure. In Daniel Siddiqi & Heidi Harley (eds), Morphological metatheory, 387-429. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo & Ana R. Luís. 2016. A view of the morphome debate. In Ana R. Luís & Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero (eds), The morphome debate, 309-340. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [show/hide abstract]

Luís, Ana R. & Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero (eds). 2016. The morphome debate. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [show/hide description]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2015. Amphichronic explanation and the life cycle of phonological processes. In Patrick Honeybone & Joseph C. Salmons (eds), The Oxford handbook of historical phonology, 374-399. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2013. The Spanish lexicon stores stems with theme vowels, not roots with inflectional class features. Probus 25(1). 3-103. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo & Graeme Trousdale. 2012. Cycles and continua: on unidirectionality and gradualness in language change. In Terttu Nevalainen & Elizabeth Closs Traugott (eds), The Oxford handbook of the history of English, 691-720. New York: Oxford University Press. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2012. The architecture of grammar and the division of labour in exponence. In Jochen Trommer (ed.), The morphology and phonology of exponence (Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics 41), 8-83. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2012. When a knowledge of history is a dangerous thing. In David Denison, Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero, Christopher B. McCully & Emma Moore, with the assistance of Ayumi Miura (eds), Analysing older English (Studies in English Language), 187-193. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

David Denison, Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero, Christopher B. McCully & Emma Moore, with the assistance of Ayumi Miura (eds). 2012. Analysing older English (Studies in English Language). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [show/hide description]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo & John Payne. 2011. There are no special clitics. In Alexandra Galani, Glyn Hicks & George Tsoulas (eds), Morphology and its interfaces (Linguistik Aktuell 178), 57–96. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2011. Cyclicity. In Marc van Oostendorp, Colin Ewen, Elizabeth Hume & Keren Rice (eds), The Blackwell companion to phonology, vol. 4, 2019-2048. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2007. Spanish pseudoplurals: phonological cues in the acquisition of a syntax-morphology mismatch. In Matthew Baerman, Greville Corbett, Dunstan Brown & Andrew Hippisley (eds), Deponency and morphological mismatches (Proceedings of the British Academy 145), 231-269. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2007. Diachronic phonology. In Paul de Lacy (ed.), The Cambridge handbook of phonology, 497-517. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2006. Morphological structure and phonological domains in Spanish denominal derivation. In Fernando Martínez-Gil & Sonia Colina (eds), Optimality-theoretic studies in Spanish phonology, 278-311. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo & April McMahon. 2006. English phonology and morphology. In Bas Aarts & April McMahon (eds), The handbook of English linguistics, 382-410. Oxford: Blackwell.

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo & Kersti Börjars. 2006. Markedness in phonology and in syntax: the problem of grounding. In Patrick Honeybone & Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero (eds), Linguistic knowledge: perspectives from phonology and from syntax. Lingua 116(5) (special issue). 710-756. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo & Patrick Honeybone. 2006. Phonology and syntax: a shifting relationship. In Patrick Honeybone & Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero (eds), Linguistic knowledge: perspectives from phonology and from syntax. Lingua 116(5) (special issue). 543-561. [show/hide abstract]

Honeybone, Patrick & Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero (eds). 2006. Linguistic knowledge: perspectives from phonology and from syntax. Lingua 116(5) (special issue). 543-756.

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2006. Phonological change in Optimality Theory. In Keith Brown (ed.), Encyclopedia of language and linguistics, 2nd edn, vol. 9, 497-505. Oxford: Elsevier.

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2005. Review of Alliteration and sound change in early English by Donka Minkova. Diachronica 22. 438-445.

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2003. The acquisition of phonological opacity. In Jennifer Spenader, Anders Eriksson & Östen Dahl (eds), Variation within Optimality Theory: Proceedings of the Stockholm Workshop on `Variation within Optimality Theory´, 25-36. Stockholm: Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University.  [The link on the title of the paper points to an expanded version stored on the Rutgers Optimality Archive] [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo & Richard M. Hogg. 2003. The actuation problem in Optimality Theory: phonologization, rule inversion, and rule loss. In D. Eric Holt (ed.), Optimality Theory and language change (Studies in Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 56), 91-119. Dordrecht: Kluwer. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 2002. Review of Phonological knowledge: conceptual and empirical issues by Noel Burton-Roberts, Philip Carr & Gerard Docherty. Journal of Linguistics 38. 403-410.

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo, David Denison, Richard M. Hogg & C. B. McCully (eds). 2000. Generative theory and corpus studies: a dialogue from 10ICEHL. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo. 1998. Prosodic optimization: the Middle English length adjustment. English Language and Linguistics 2. 169-197. [show/hide abstract]

Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo & C. B. McCully. 1997. Review of Quantity adjustment: vowel lengthening and shortening in Early Middle English by Nikolaus Ritt. Journal of Linguistics 33. 620-625.


   Selected manuscripts, handouts, and online comments




































2024. Nonuniformity in Stratal Phonology. Handout, 21st Old World Conference in Phonology (OCP21), Leipzig, 14 February 2024.

2022. Lexically restricted phonological alternation: the case for via-rules. Handout, 20th International Morphology Meeting, Budapest, 1 September 2022.   

2019. Alternation types: computation, storage, history. Brugmann Fellow course, University of Leipzig, July 2019. [show/hide abstract]

Overview    Session 1    Session 2    Session 3    Session 4    Session 5    Session 6    Session 7    [show/hide class titles]

2018. Diagnostics of the moraic trochee from Proto-Germanic to present-day English. Handout, Workshop on the Foot in the Phonological History of English, ICEHL XX, Edinburgh, 27 August 2018.

2017. Rule inversion, rule generalization, and the life cycle. Comment on ‘Rule scattering and vowel length in Northern Romance’ by Pavel Iosad (Papers in Historical Phonology 1). 27 November 2017.

2017. Against the direct lexicalization of phonetic patterns. Comment on ‘Voice-induced vowel lengthening’ by Tobias Scheer (Papers in Historical Phonology 2). 24 November 2017.

2017. The allophony of English /aɪ/ reconsidered. Handout, PhLEGMe, Indiana University, Bloomington, 19 September 2017.

2017 (with George Bailey, Maciej Baranowski, and Danielle Turton). The phonological lexicon, usage factors, and rates of change: evidence from Manchester English. Slides, ConSOLE XXV, Leipzig, 4 January 2017.

2016. Phonology and the lexicon: a tutorial. Part I: a survey of current issues. Handout, Phonological Theory Agora Meeting 3, Tours, 14 October 2016.

2016. Comment on ‘Chomsky 1957 and the past tense’. Phonolist, 28 June 2016.

2015. The Monongahela argument. Class notes for the course LELA30441 English Phonology Past and Present, University of Manchester, 26 November 2015. [show/hide description]

2015. The life cycle of High Vowel Deletion in Old English: from prosody to stratification and loss. Handout, 9th Studies in the History of the English Language Conference (SHEL-9), Vancouver, 5 June 2015.

2014. Philadelphia /aɪ/-raising without rule insertion. Handout, First Edinburgh Symposium on Historical Phonology, Edinburgh, 13 January 2014.

2013. The stem-level syndrome. Handout, UPenn Linguistics Department, Speaker Series, Philadelphia, 11 April 2013.

2013. An amphichronic approach to English syllabification. Handout, RUMMIT, Amherst, 6 April 2013.

2012 (with Helen Buckler). Word-level affixes trigger stem-level cycles: evidence from German dorsal fricatives. Handout, 20th Manchester Phonology Meeting, Manchester, 26 May 2012.

2011. Emergent cyclicity? Handout, 9èmes rencontres du Réseau Français de Phonologie, Tours, 1 July 2011.

2010. Morphologically conditioned phonetics? Not proven. Handout, On Linguistic Interfaces II, Belfast, 2 December 2010.

2009 (with Ana R. Luís). Cyclic domains and prosodic spans in the phonology of European Portuguese functional morphs. Handout, Old World Conference in Phonology 6, Edinburgh, 24 January 2009.

2008. A tutorial on lexical classes. Handout, Workshop on Theoretical Morphology 4, Großbothen, 20 June 2008.

2007. Marked phonemes vs marked allophones: segment evaluation in Stratal OT. Handout, Workshop on Segment Inventories, GLOW XXX, Tromsø, 11 April 2007.

2007. Word-final prevocalic consonants in English: representation vs derivation. Handout, Old World Conference in Phonology 4, Rhodes, 20 January 2007.

2006. Phonological domains and opacity effects: a new look at voicing and continuancy in Catalan. Handout, Workshop on Approaches to Phonological Opacity, GLOW XXIX, Barcelona, 5 April 2006.

2005. A-stem nouns in West Saxon: synchrony. Ms, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, February 2005. [Link to my project on Old English a-stem nouns]

2002. Cyclicity or sympathy? A case study. Handout, 10th Manchester Phonology Meeting, Manchester, 25 May 2002.

2001. Underlyingly nonmoraic consonants, faithfulness, and sympathy. Ms, University of Manchester, January 2001.

1999. Constraint interaction in language change: quantity in English and Germanic [Opacity and globality in phonological change]. PhD dissertation, University of Manchester & Universidad de Santiago de Compostela. [Main PDF file 11 MB, pages 133-134]

1998. Lexicon optimization: irregular vowel length changes in Middle English. Handout, X International Conference on English Historical Linguistics, Manchester, 22 August 1998.

1998. Harmonic evaluation of lexical items: evidence from Middle English. Handout, 6th Manchester Phonology Meeting, Manchester, 23 May 1998.

1997. Factorial typology and language change. Handout, Autumn Meeting of the Linguistics Association of Great Britain, Watford, 4-6 September 1997.

































































































































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