Conference: MFM 28 (2021)

Starting around Thursday 27th May 2021, running over a few days

Probably not held in Manchester, England, but still there in spirit.

We intend to wait until nearer the time of the conference to decide exactly how it will be held.

Right now, we know that the 28mfm will go ahead in late May 2021.

Currently it looks like it will be online, but we will confirm the arrangements, including the format for presentations, closer to the date. We expect to allow for online presentations no matter what happens. The format that the conference takes will determine exactly how long it lasts, and over which days it runs, although we intend to keep to the traditional dates of ‘just before the last weekend in May’.

Organised through a collaboration of phonologists at the University of Edinburgh, the University of Manchester and elsewhere.

For information about the mfm and its history and background, see the mfm homepage.

Conference website:


We are delighted to announce the revised and reconstituted plans for our Twenty-Eighth Manchester Phonology Meeting (28mfm). The mfm is the UK’s annual phonology conference, with an international set of organisers. The meeting has become a key conference for phonologists from all over the world, where anyone who declares themselves to be interested in phonology can submit an abstract on anything phonological in any phonological framework. In an informal atmosphere, we discuss a broad range of topics, including the phonological description of languages, issues in phonological theory, aspects of phonological acquisition and implications of phonological change. The mfm has been held in Manchester in late May every year since 1993, although it had to be cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

We are now determined to hold some kind of mfm in 2021, although we are not yet entirely sure how it will be organised. We are watching the success of vaccination around the world, what is possible in terms of international travel, and what constraints there are on social distancing in buildings in Manchester. (Currently we could fit 16 people into the largest meeting room that we would use in Manchester. This is obviously a non-starter.) We are also considering what universities will finance this year in terms of conference travel (we know that many institutions have cancelled travel budgets). The mfm has long been a truly international meeting, with participation from all inhabited continents. We want to run a conference that is open to the world still, so we currently expect that it will need to be online. However, if it looks like lots of people will be able to meet in Manchester in May, then we will explore that possibility. We will confirm the plans for the conference when we announce the programme (likely in early March).

Special sessions

There will be no Special Session this year in the conventional mfm sense. We have decided not to have invited speakers at all at the 28mfm, given that it will in all likelihood need to be online (we don’t think it would work for people to have to watch an online session over several hours, which is what would happen if we simply put a Special Session online). The mfm organisers are keen to organise some special events during the conference, including opportunities for people to chat with each other informally, and we will advertise these when the programme is announced.

The special session entitled ‘Second Language Phonology and Phonological Theory’ (featuring Ellen Broselow, Charles Chang  and Ellen Simon), which had been planned for the 28mfm, has been postponed (with the agreement of all involved) till the 29mfm, in 2022, when we hope/expect to be able to hold it in-person.

The Fringe Workshop which had been planned for the 28mfm on ‘Moraic vs. X-Slot Syllabification: the Debate’ (organised by Björn Köhnlein and Shanti Ulfsbjorninn) has also been postponed till 2022.

Call for papers

There is no obligatory conference theme for the 28mfm – abstracts can be submitted on anything phonological. If you submitted an abstract for the 28mfm when it was intended to take place in May 2020, you may submit the same abstract now (but you may also submit something entirely different).

  • Abstracts should be uploaded to the 28mfm’s page on the the Linguist List’s EasyAbstracts site by or on 1st February 2021. The precise deadline, as implemented by EasyAbstracts, is as follows: 11.59pm US Eastern Standard Time on 1st February.
  • The website for uploading abstracts is here:
  • Please submit your abstract in pdf format (if necessary, we can accept Word or txt files, but please send pdf if possible).
  • Abstracts should be no longer than one side of A4 (or ‘American letter’), with 2.5cm or one inch margins, single-spaced, with a font size no smaller than 12, and with normal character spacing. All examples and references in the abstract should be included on the one single page, but it is enough, when referring to previous work, to cite “Author (Date)” in the body of the abstract – you do not need to give the full reference at the end of the abstract. Please DO NOT submit an abstract if it goes over one page for any reason – it will be rejected. Remember also that, if your abstract is accepted, you will need to submit a version with your name and email address at the top, and this will still need to only take up one page – please bear this in mind and leave space for this when finalising your abstract.
  • Your abstract should be anonymous. You will be asked to submit a version with your name and affiliation on it if your abstract is selected for presentation. Please make sure that you do not use your name in the filename for your abstract, and please erase any details which might identify you in the file that you submit.
  • If you need to use a phonetic/phonological font in your abstract, please either embed it in a pdf file, or use the Doulos SIL font, which can be downloaded for free from this site:
  • We are watching the success of vaccination around the world, what is possible in terms of international travel, and what constraints there are on social distancing in buildings in Manchester before we decide exactly what format the conference will have, and this will determine the type of presentations that we will adopt. Currently it looks like the conference will be online, but we will confirm the plans for the conference when we announce the programme (likely in early March). There is only one category for abstract submission. Once it has been decided how the conference will run, and abstracts have been reviewed, we will allocate abstracts to the presentation-types that we adopt. You will, of course, be given the chance to withdraw your abstract if you are not able to present in the format that is offered to you.
  • No-one may submit more than one single-authored abstract, as this allows more people to take part in the conference. You may submit one single-authored abstract and one jointly-authored abstract (or two jointly-authored abstracts), but it is unlikely that anyone will be offered two opportunities to speak.

All abstracts will be reviewed anonymously by four members of the organising committee and advisory board. You can read about the abstract selection process here. If you cannot send your abstract in the way set out above, for whatever reason, please email and we’ll arrange another way of abstract submission. 

Organising Committee

The first named is the convenor and main organiser – if you have any queries about the conference, feel free to get in touch (

 Patrick Honeybone (University of Edinburgh)
 Ricardo Bermúdez-Otero (University of Manchester)
 Patrycja Strycharczuk (University of Manchester)