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LAPSyD is a database created by Ian Maddieson in collaboration with the Laboratoire Dynamique de Langage (DDL) in Lyon.



The origin of LAPSyD is to be found in the UPSID database, described and used in Maddieson (1984) and other publications. Data originally from UPSID was considerably expanded in both the number of languages covered and the depth of information on each language for contributions to the World Atlas of Language Structures ( Maddieson 2005, 2011) with support from the US National Science Foundation (project # 0345784). Since 2006 this work has continued at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque where Ian Maddieson is Adjunct Research Professor (hence the acronym LAPSyD — Lyon-Albuquerque Phonological Systems Database). All data is verified by Maddieson before being published in LAPSyD.

The UPSID database was implemented in a manipulable form at the DDL during the 1990’s by Egidio Marsico and Christian Fressard under the name CaSSoPi (link: http://www.ddl.cnrs.fr/Equipes/Index.asp?Action=Edit&Langue=FR&Equipe=3&Page=Action&ActionNum=22 ) and comparisons carried out between current phonological systems and those reconstructed by historical linguists for proto-languages using another DDL database, BDProto (see Marsico et al 2004, Marsico 1999, Coupé et al 2009 for some reports on these projects). CaSSoPi provided some of the conceptual framework for LAPSyD.

LAPSyD itself is the product of a Franco-American partnership. It was conceived in 2009 with support from the Collegium de Lyon  (link: http://www.collegium-lyon.fr/ ), an international multidisciplinary Institute for Advanced Study focusing on social sciences, which provided a Fellowship to Ian Maddieson for a five-month working visit to Lyon. The database is programmed and hosted at the Laboratoire Dynamique de Langage (DDL) (link: http://www.ddl.cnrs.fr/presentation/index.asp?Langue=FR&Page=Objectifs ), a research laboratory funded by the CNRS and affiliated with the University of Lyon-2. The mission of the DDL is to explore the relationship between the diversity of the thousands of languages currently spoken around the world and the universal nature of the human language capacity. The programmer for the database at the DDL is Sébastien Flavier. Additional input has been provided by Egidio Marsico, François Pellegrino and Christophe Coupé.


LAPSyD was publically launched in August 2013 at the Interspeech conference in Lyon (Maddieson et al 2013).


Coupé, Christophe, Egidio Marsico, & François Pellegrino. 2009. Structural complexity of phonological systems. In Approaches to Phonological Complexity, edited by Pellegrino, François, Egidio Marsico, Ioana Chitoran & Christophe Coupé. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin: 141–170

Maddieson, Ian. 1984. Patterns of Sounds (Cambridge studies in speech science and communication). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Maddieson, Ian. 2005. Chapters with accompanying maps in World Atlas of Language Structures, edited by Martin Haspelmath, Matthew S. Dryer, David Gil, & Bernard Comrie, Oxford University Press, Oxford and New York. On-line version since 2011, http://wals.info/

Maddieson Ian, Sébastien Flavier, Egidio Marsico, Christophe Coupé & François Pellegrino. 2013. LAPSyD: Lyon-Albuquerque Phonological Systems Database. In Proceedings of Interspeech 2013, Lyon, 25-29 August 2013.

Marsico, Egidio, I. Maddieson, Christophe Coupé & François Pellegrino. 2004. Investigating the 'hidden' structure of phonological systems In Proceedings of the 30th Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society: 256-267.

Marsico, Egidio. 1999. What can a database of proto-languages tell us about the last 10,000 years of sound changes? In Proceedings of the XIVth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (San Francisco, August 1-7 1999). Edited by John J. Ohala et al. University of California, Berkeley.

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