Larry M. Hyman


Picture of Larry M. Hyman
phonological theory, language typology, African languages
Languages: African languages, especially Bantu and other Niger-Congo

Contact Information

Office: 1225 Dwinelle
Office Hours: W 1-2, F 10-11
Mailing address:
Department of LInguistics #2650
1203 Dwinelle

Personal Statement

Ph.D., Linguistics, University of California, Los Angeles, 1972. Except for a two-year leave with a Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science (U.C. Berkeley, 1973-1975), he taught at the University of Southern California from 1971 to 1988. He came to Berkeley's Department of Linguistics in 1988, which he chaired from 1991 to 2002. He has worked extensively on phonological theory and other aspects of language structure — particularly as concerns the history, typology, and description of the Niger-Congo languages of Africa, especially Bantu. He has published several books (e.g. Phonology Theory and Analysis, A Theory of Phonological Weight) and numerous theoretical articles in such journals as Language, Linguistic Inquiry, Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, Phonology, Studies in African Linguistics and Journal of African Languages and Linguistics. His current interests center around phonological theory, tone systems, and the comparative and historical study of the Bantu language family (of about 500 languages) for which he founded the Comparative Bantu On-Line Dictionary (CBOLD), with funding from the National Science Foundation and in collaboration with the Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage (CNRS/Université Lyon2). He also has had a grant from the France-Berkeley Fund and spent his 1995-96 sabbatical in the C.N.R.S. Laboratory “Dynamique du Langage” in Lyon, France.

Selected publications

 Most of my recent papers in phonology are posted in the Phonology Laboratory Annual Reports, e.g.

 "Why underlying representations?"

 "Positional prominence vs. word accent: Is there a difference?"

"Initial vowel length in Lulamogi: Cyclicity or globality?"

"Morphology, irregularity, and Bantu frication: The case of Lulamogi" (with John Merrill)

 "What (else) depends on phonology?"

"What is phonological typology?"

"Disentangling conjoint, disjoint, metatony, tone cases, augments, prosody, and focus in Bantu"

"Towards a typology of postlexical tonal neutralizations"

Some other recently published papers (or consult my full CV at the bottom of my homepage):

“Towards a canonical typology of prosodic systems". In Esther Herrera Zendejas (ed.), Tono, accento y estructuras métricas en lenguas mexicanas, 13-18. México: El Colegio de México (2015).

 “Morphological tonal assignments in conflict: Who wins?” In Enrique Palancar & Jean Léo Léonard (eds),  Tone and inflection: New facts and new perspectives, 15-39. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. (2016)

  (with John Merrill), “Morphology, irregularity and Bantu frication”. In “Actualités de Néogrammariens”, Mémoires of the Société de Linguistique de Paris, 139-157. Paris: Peeters. (2016)

 “Postlexical construction tonology: The case of Kalabari”. Studies in Language 38.649-689 (with Otelemate Harry) (2014).

 “Coda conditions on tone.” In Sabrina Benjaballah, Noam Faust, Nicola Lampitelli & Mohamed Lahrouchi (eds), The form of structure, the structure of forms: Essays in honor of Jean Lowenstamm, 103-122. Amsterdam: John Benjamins (2014)

“How autosegmental is phonology?” The Linguistic Review 31.363-400 (2014)

"How to study a tone language". Language Documentation & Conservation 8.525-562. (Special series “How to Study a Tone Language” co-edited by Steven Bird & Larry M. Hyman) (2014).

“Reconstructing the Niger-Congo verb extension paradigm: What’s cognate, copied, or renewed?” In Martine Robbeets & Walter Bisang (eds), Paradigm Change in the Transeurasian languages and beyond, 103-125. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. (2014).

“Penultimate lengthening in Bantu”. In Balthasar Bickel, Lenore A. Grenoble, David A. Peterson & Alan Timberlake (eds), Language typology and historical contingency: In honor of Johanna Nichols, 309-330. Benjamins. (2013)

“Issues in the phonology-morphology interface in African languages.” Proceedings of 43rd Annual Conference of African Linguistics, Tulane University, New Orleans, 16-25. Cascadilla Proceedings Project. (2013)

“Markedness, faithfulness, and the typology of two-height tone systems”. In Proceedings from the Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto (MOT) Phonology Workshop 2011: Phonology in the 21st Century: In Honour of Glyne Piggott. McGill Working Papers in Linguistics 22(1), 1-13.  (2012)

“In defense of prosodic typology: A response to Beckman & Venditti”. Linguistic Typology 16.341-385.  (2012)

“Post-verbal subject in the Nzadi relative clause.” Journal of African Languages & Linguistics 33.97-117. (2012)

“Do tones have features?” In John Goldsmith, Elisabeth Hume & Leo Wetzels (eds), Tones and features, 50-80. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.  (2011)

 "The Macro-Sudan Belt and Niger-Congo Reconstruction". In Language Dynamics and Linguistic Change 1.1-47. (2011).

Hyman, Larry M. 1988. “The phonology of final glottal stops”. In Proceedings of W.E.C.O.L. 1988, 113-130. California State University, Fresno.

 “Universals in phonology”. The Linguistic Review 25.83-137 (2008).

“Tone: Is it different?” Submitted to The Handbook of Phonological Theory, 2nd Edition (John Goldsmith, Jason Riggle & Alan Yu, eds), 197-239 (2011)

“Are there really no syllables in Gokana? Or: What’s so great about being universal?” Phonology 21.55-85 (2011).

“How (not) to do phonological typology: the case of pitch-accent”. Language Sciences 31.213-238. (2009)

“Directional asymmetries in the morphology and phonology of words, with special reference to Bantu.” Linguistics 46.309-349 (2008).

"Affixation by place of articulation: the strange case of Tiene”. In Michael Cysouw & Jan Wohlgemuth (eds), Rara & Rarissima. Collecting and interpreting unusual  characteristics of human languages, 145-184. Berlin/New York: Mouton de Gruyter.

"Is there a right-to-left bias in vowel harmony?” Was to appear in defunct collection: John R. Rennison, Friedrich Neubarth & Markus A. Pochtrager (eds), Phonologica 2002 (working title). Berlin: Mouton.

"Focus marking in Aghem: Syntax or semantics?” In Ines Fiedler & Anne Schwartz, The expression of information structure: A documentation of its diversity across Africa, 95-116. Amsterdam: John Benjamins (2010).

 “Focus in Aghem”. In Malte Zimmermann & Caroline Féry (eds), Information structure: theoretical, typological, and experimental perspectives, 206-233. Oxford University Press (with Maria Polinsky). (2009)

"Kuki-Thaadow: an African tone system in Southeast Asia.” In Franck Floricic (ed.), Essais de typologie et de linguistique générale, 31-51.  Lyon, France: Les Presses de l’Ecole Normale Supérieure (2010).

"Universals of tone rules: 30 years later”. In Tomas Riad & Carlos Gussenhoven (eds), Tones and tunes: Studies in word and sentence prosody, 1-34. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 2007.

John P. Daly & L. M. Hyman. "On the representation of tone in Peñoles Mixtec." International Journal of American Linguistics 73.165-208, 2007.

"Where’s phonology in typology?” Linguistic Typology 11.265-271, 2007.

"Niger-Congo verb extensions: Overview and discussion”. In Doris L. Payne and Jaime Peña (eds), Selected Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference on African Linguistics, 149-163. Sommerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project, 2007.

"Elicitation as experimental phonology: Thlantlang Lai tonology”. In Maria-Josep Solé, Pam Beddor & Manjari Ohala (eds), Experimental Approaches to Phonology in Honor of John J. Ohala, 7-24. Oxford University Press, 2007.

“Word-prosodic typology”. Phonology 23.225-257, 2006.

“Why describe African languages?” In A. Akinlabi & O. Adesola (eds.) Proceedings of the 4th World Congress of African Linguistics, New Brunswick 2003, 21-42. Cologne: Ruediger Köppe Verlag, 2005.

"The word in Luganda.” In F.K. Erhard Voeltz (ed.), Studies in African linguistic typology, 171-193. John Benjamins (with Francis Katamba), 2005.


Kuki-Thaadow Segmental Phonology

Kuki-Thaadow Tone

Kuki-Thaadow Nouns and Noun Phrase

Kuki-Thaadow Verb Structure

Leggbo Noun Structure

Leggbo Verb Structure

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