PTA (Phonological Theory Agora, more on http://pta.cnrs.fr) is a French-led network promoting exchange on phonology for phonology’s sake. It aims to be a platform for debate on theoretical issues and organizes yearly venues where phonologists can meet to discuss recent advances as well as issues in phonological theory.
In order to promote discussion, rather than professoral declamation, the conference format is standup-style: speakers make a claim and provide supporting arguments (10 min.), which are then discussed by the floor (20 min.). Before this session, the theme is introduced by a tutorial that reports relevant facs and views. Another key ingredient of PTA discussion is a workshop where analyses couched in different theories of the same data set published with the call are proposed and discussed.
PTA has been running for 4 years and the final meeting will be in Nice on March 15th-16th.
The topic of the Nice event is
« The Balance Between Universals and Variation in Grammar »
In the morning there will be a tutorial by Bridget Samuels (University of Southern California) and Paul de Lacy (Rutgers University) on « Emergent markedness, universal features, or the reverse? » followed by discussion and selected presentations on the same topic. Presentations will be short (5-10 minutes), and discussion after those relatively long (25-20 minutes). Potential speakers are invited to only (a) make a claim, and (b) give some key arguments for it.