Contact details


Integrative Learning Center

650 N. Pleasant St.
Amherst, MA 01003-1100
United States



Joe Pater has been a member of the Department of Linguistics since 2000. He joined us after completing a Ph.D. at McGill in 1997, followed by a post-doc in Linguistics and Psychology at the University of British Columbia and a position at the University of Alberta. He has held European fellowships supporting research visits in Utrecht and in Paris, and his work is currently being supported by the second of a pair of NSF grants jointly held with John McCarthy.

Professor Pater specializes in phonology and language acquisition. His current research focuses on the use of weighted constraints for the modeling of phonology and its learning. He teaches courses in phonology at the undergraduate and graduate levels, including a general education course on the “Sounds of Englishes”, and supervises research by undergraduate and graduate students on phonology, phonological acquisition, experimental phonology, and computational phonology. 

Professor Pater co-directs the Initiative in Cognitive Science ( with Lisa Sanders of Psychology and Brain Sciences, which beings together faculty and students from across the university who study cognition in a wide range of disciplines.


McCarthy, John and Joe Pater. Forthcoming. Harmonic Grammar and Harmonic Serialism. Equinox Press.

Pater, Joe. 2014. Canadian Raising with Language-Specific Weighted Constraints. Language 90. 230-240.

Moreton, Elliott and Joe Pater. 2012. Structure and substance in artificial-phonology learning. Part 1: Structure, Part II: Substance. Language and Linguistics Compass 6 (11): 686–701 and 702–718.

Kager, René and Joe Pater. 2012. Phonotactics as phonology: Knowledge of a complex restriction in Dutch. Phonology 29, 81-111.

Pater, Joe, Robert Staubs, Karen Jesney and Brian Smith. 2012. Learning probabilities over underlying representations. In the Proceedings of the Twelfth Meeting of the ACL-SIGMORPHON: Computational Research in Phonetics, Phonology, and Morphology. 62-71.

Coetzee, Andries and Joe Pater. 2011. The place of variation in phonological theory. In John Goldsmith, Jason Riggle, and Alan Yu (eds.), The Handbook of Phonological Theory (2nd ed.). Blackwell. 401-431.

Potts, Christopher, Joe Pater, Karen Jesney, Rajesh Bhatt and Michael Becker. 2010. Harmonic Grammar with Linear Programming: From linear systems to linguistic typology. Phonology 27: 77-117.

Pater, Joe. 2009. Weighted Constraints in Generative Linguistics. Cognitive Science 33: 999-1035.