SOAS University of London

Department of Linguistics

Connor Youngberg

BA Hons (CUNY Hunter College), MA (SOAS, University of London)
  • Overview


Connor Youngberg
Connor Youngberg
Email address:
Thesis title:
Vocalic variation and coalescence in Japanese varieties
Year of Study:
Internal Supervisors

External Supervisors

John Harris (UCL)


Connor completed a BA in Italian Language and Civilization with a minor in Japanese in 2010 at CUNY Hunter College with departmental honors. He subsequently completed an MA in Linguistics at SOAS in 2010 with a focus on Japanese second language acquisition, honorification and phonology, continuing on to a PhD examining Japanese segmental phonology in 2011.

In addition to the full degrees listed above, Connor also participated in a year-long exchange at Kwansei Gakuin University, Nishinomiya, Japan with homestay in Kobe, Japan. Further research interests include apophony, phonological representation, Japanese honorifics in Standard Japanese and Owari Japanese and attitudes towards Japanese dialects.

Connor also holds the position of Student Research Assistant under Dr Candide Simard (SOAS) for the DOBES funded project ‘Discourse and prosody across language family boundaries: two corpus-based case studies on contact-induced syntactic and prosodic convergence in the encoding of information structure’.

PhD Research

I am examining vocalic coalescence and vocalic systems in Japanese varieties, focusing on the typology of vowel systems and case studies of the Akita, Niigata and Owari dialects.

Part 1 of my thesis will examine coalescence and its products in varying languages, present a typology of vocalic variation and examine historical evolution of the vowel systems in Japan. Dialect groupings and models of linguistic change are discussed and historical dating of the process is proposed.

Part 2 will examine formal aspects of vocalic coalescence and vowel development, with an analysis of surface versus derived status for the coalescence products in the Akita, Niigata and Owari dialects. We consider the process in regards to its status in the phonology and consider subsegmental representations within Element Theory. The thesis concludes with a discussion of ongoing shift to Standard Japanese and micro-level shift in vowel production, focusing on reasons for this shift, both linguistic and social.


Introduction to Phonology tutorials, BA (Term 2, 2014)

Introduction to Phonology tutorials, BA (Term, 1 and 2, 2012/2013)
Phonology tutorials, MA (Term 1, 2012/2013)
Advanced Phonology tutorials, MA (Term 2, 2012/2013)


  • To appear. Simard, C., Wegener, C. U., Lee, A., Chiu, F., & Youngberg, C. Savosavo word stress: A quantitative analysis. In Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Speech Prosody (SP2014). Dublin.
  • Youngberg, Connor. 2013. Vocalic Coalescence in Owari Japanese. SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics 2013


  • Japanese Coalescence variation and Element Theory. SOAS Research Student Conference, May 9th 2014. SOAS University of London.
  • On Coalescence in Japanese dialects and in the Wider World. London Phonology Seminar Special Session on Hiatus Resolution. May 7th, 2014.
  • Between East and West: Analyzing and Mapping Dialect Divergence in Central Japan. BAJS Advanced Postgraduate Workshop in Japanese Studies,April 25th 2014.  SOAS University of London.
  • Capturing coalescence in Owari Japanese through Element Theory. Old World Conference in Phonology, January 22nd-25th, 2014. Leiden University, Meertens Instituut Amsterdam.
  • Affrication in Japanese and Quebec French. Manchester Phonology Meeting, May 22rd-25th, 2013.
  • When did the Elements Merge (and was it too soon?) Workshop on Melodic Representation, SOAS and UCL, March 12th, 2013.


  • Member of Philogical Society
  • Member of Linguistics Association of Great Britain
  • Member of the British Association for Japanese Studies
  • Organizer of the London Phonology Seminar