Steve Parker, PhD

Stephen Parker

Contact Info

Phone: (972) 708-7692
Office: Mahler 102D

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About Steve

Steve Parker loves phonology! The discovery of this joy started during his final semester in college when he took a linguistics course. After joining the Wycliffe Bible Translators, training for overseas work, and spending a year in Peru with SIL, Steve decided to devote himself more fully to the ministry of Bible translation. He now enjoys teaching the highly motivated students here at GIAL to analyze the sound patterns of human languages from all over the world.

In Peru, Steve had a unique opportunity: he met with the last known speakers of two dying Amazonian languages to gather data for documentation. Since the completion of this project, those languages have officially become extinct. Steve marvels to this day that he was able to be involved in this effort. He has also worked in Papua New Guinea as a phonology consultant for Bible translators as they finalized their writing systems. His teaching strongly evidences his passion and experiences as he pours his knowledge into this next generation of students.

General research interests: phonology, sonority, South American languages

Other interesting facts:

Steve’s grandmother’s grandfather’s first cousin (Frances Folsom) was the wife of President Grover Cleveland.

He is married to Mónica Fajardo, whom he met in the jungle of Peru.

He can play chess blindfolded.

Curriculum Vitae

For my complete CV, click here.


   University of Massachusetts Amherst

-Doctor of Philosophy in linguistics, 2002
-Graduate School Fellowship, school year 1997-1998
-dissertation title:  Quantifying the sonority hierarchy (supervisor John Kingston)
To download a pdf of my dissertation, click here.

   University of Texas at Arlington

-Master of Arts in linguistics, 1988

   Indiana University

-Bachelor of Arts in Spanish, 1980
-outstanding graduating student of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, 1981

Scholarships, Fellowships, and Grants

     -Graduate School Fellowship, University of Massachusetts Amherst, school year 1997-1998

     -grant # 0003947 from the National Science Foundation, fall 2000, for doctoral dissertation research titled “Quantifying the sonority hierarchy”, co-PI with John Kingston

Keynote Talk

-I was invited to present a paper at the CUNY Phonology Conference on Sonority, January 14-15, 2016. The title was “Reconsidering sonority dispersion and liquid vs. glide offsets: what do the typological facts indicate?”
To download the published version of a paper resulting from this talk, click here. (See “Selected Publications” below.)

Work Experience

      -Wycliffe Bible Translators and Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1981 – present

Selected Publications

To download my complete CV, including an exhaustive list of publications, click here.

2018. Phonetic study of /ɨ/ and /ɯ/ in Bora. Steve Parker, Jeff Mielke, and Frankie Pennington. Poster presented at Linguistic Society of America meeting, Salt Lake City, January 4, 2018. To download this poster, click here.

2018. Data for studying postpositions in Chamicuro. Dallas International Special Electronic Publications. To download this paper, click here.

2017. Sounding out Sonority. Language & Linguistics Compass 11.9:e12248.

2017. A comparison of lip positions for /ɨ/ and /ɯ/ in Bora. Steve Parker, Jeff Mielke, and Frankie Pennington. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 141, 3579 (2017). To download this poster, click here.

2016-2017. Reconsidering sonority dispersion and liquid vs. glide offsets: what do the typological facts indicate? WINAK: Revista de Estudios Interculturales 26:11-42.
To download this paper, click here.

2016. Sonority. Oxford Bibliographies in Linguistics. Ed. Mark Aronoff. New York: Oxford University Press.

2014. A bibliography of resources on sonority. GIAL Special Electronic Publications.
To download this paper, click here.

2012. The sonority controversy. Berlin: De Gruyter. [editor of volume]

2012. Souza, Isaac Costa de, and Steve Parker. Talking to pets in Arara. Anthropological Linguistics 54:313-49.

2011. Sonority. In Marc van Oostendorp, Colin J. Ewen, Elizabeth Hume, and Keren Rice, editors. The Blackwell Companion to Phonology, volume II. West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 1160-84.

2010. Ashley, Karen C., Lynette Disch, David C. Ford, Erin MacSaveny, Steve Parker, Carla Unseth, Angela M. Williams, Rachel Wong, and Brendon Yoder. How many constraints are there? A preliminary inventory of OT phonological constraints. Occasional Papers in Applied Linguistics No. 9. Dallas: Dallas International University. Also posted on Rutgers Optimality Archive, no. 1079.
To download this paper, click here.
To download the accompanying constraint catalogue itself as an Excel spreadsheet, click here.

2009. The transparency and density of phonological rule interactions. Linguistic Typology 13:197-265.

2009. Phonological argumentation: essays on evidence and motivation. Advances in Optimality Theory. London: Equinox Publishing. [editor of volume – a festschrift for John McCarthy]

2008. Sound level protrusions as physical correlates of sonority. Journal of Phonetics 36:55-90.

2006. A cross-linguistic corpus of forms meaning ‘yes’. Linguistic Discovery 4:1-34.

2005. Raymond, Mary, and Steve Parker. Initial and medial geminate trills in Arop-Lokep. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 35:99-111.

2004. Parker, Steve, and Mónica Parker. Optimality theory and ethical decision making. In J. Albert Bickford, ed. Work Papers of the Summer Institute of Linguistics, University of North Dakota Session 48:1-11.
To download this paper, click here.

2002. Quantifying the sonority hierarchy. PhD dissertation. University of Massachusetts Amherst. Reproduced and distributed by GLSA (Graduate Linguistics Students’ Association). Also posted on GIAL Special Electronic Publications.
To download a pdf of my dissertation, click here.

2001. Non-optimal onsets in Chamicuro: an inventory maximised in coda position. Phonology 18:361-86.

2001. The acoustic qualities of Bora vowels. Phonetica 58:179-95.

1999. On the behavior of definite articles in Chamicuro. Language 75:552-62.

1999. A sketch of Iñapari phonology. International Journal of American Linguistics 65:1-39.

1999. Brandão Lopes, Aurise, and Steve Parker. Aspects of Yuhup phonology. International Journal of American Linguistics 65:324-42.

1996. Parker, Steve, and David Weber. 1996. Glottalized and aspirated stops in Cuzco Quechua. International Journal of American Linguistics 62:70-85.

1995. Chamicuro laterals: a case for Radical Underspecification. Lingua 97:195-210.

1994. Laryngeal codas in Chamicuro. International Journal of American Linguistics 60:261-71.

1994. Coda epenthesis in Huariapano. International Journal of American Linguistics 60:95-119.

1989. The sonority grid in Chamicuro phonology. Linguistic Analysis 19:3-58.