The main focus of my research is on theoretical phonology, and the demarcation of phonology as a component of grammar relative to morphology and phonetics. Much of my research revolves around harmony systems, in particular consonant harmony, and the more general issue of long-distance (non-adjacent) interactions in phonology.
A central topic of interest is the interplay of diachronic and synchronic factors in shaping language structure, and thus the study of processes of phonologization (the emergence of systematic sound patterns from phonetic effects) and morphologization (the extension and/or reanalysis of sound patterns through analogical change).
I am also interested in various issues related to morphological paradigms and their manifestation: inflection classes, allomorphy, syncretism patterns and paradigm gaps.
Some languages I have worked on include Icelandic (my native language), Faroese (its closest relative), North Sámi (a.k.a. Saami; Finno-Ugric), Turkish, Tsilhqot’in (a.k.a. Chilcotin; Dene/Athapaskan) and Yowlumne (a.k.a. Yawelmani; Yokutsan).
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (to appear) The role of consonants in vowel harmony. Oxford Handbook of Vowel Harmony, ed. by Nancy Ritter and Harry van der Hulst. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur and Richard Wiese (to appear) Umlaut in the Germanic languages. Oxford Handbook of Vowel Harmony, ed. by Nancy Ritter and Harry van der Hulst. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Benediktsdóttir, Anna Lísa, Þóra Másdóttir and Gunnar Ólafur Hansson (2021) Hljóðferli í tali tveggja til átta ára barna [Phonological processes in the speech of Icelandic children aged 2–8 years]. Íslenskt mál og almenn málfræði 41–42: 9–41.
McMullin, Kevin and Gunnar Ólafur Hansson (2019) Inductive learning of locality relations in segmental phonology. Laboratory Phonology: Journal of the Association for Laboratory Phonology 10(1): 14, pp. 1–53. DOI: https://doi.org/10.5334/labphon.150
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur, Ashley Farris-Trimble, Kevin McMullin and Douglas Pulleyblank, eds. (2016) Proceedings of the 2015 Annual Meeting on Phonology. Washington, DC: Linguistic Society of America.
McMullin, Kevin and Gunnar Ólafur Hansson (2015) Long-distance phonotactics as Tier-based Strictly 2-Local languages. Proceedings of the 2014 Annual Meeting on Phonology, ed. by Adam Albright and Michelle Fullwood. Washington, DC: Linguistic Society of America.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2015) Phonology. Oxford Handbook of Inflection, ed. by Matthew Baerman, pp. 161–195. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bernhardt, Barbara May, Þóra Másdóttir, Joseph Paul Stemberger, Lisa Leonhardt and Gunnar Ólafur Hansson (2015) Fricative acquisition in English- and Icelandic-speaking preschoolers with protracted phonological development. Clinical Languages and Phonetics 29(8–10): 642–665.
McMullin, Kevin and Gunnar Ólafur Hansson (2014) Locality in long-distance phonotactics: evidence for modular learning. Proceedings of NELS 44, ed. by Leland Kusmer and Jyoti Iyer, Vol. 2, pp. 1–14. Amherst, MA: GLSA Publications, University of Massachusetts.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur, and Allie Entwistle (2013) Consonant stricture harmony in Yabem: manner assimilation at a distance. Actes du Congrès de l’ACL 2013 / 2013 CLA Conference Proceedings, ed. by S. Luo. Association canadienne de linguistique / Canadian Linguistic Association. [http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~cla-acl/actes2013]
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur and Patrick J. Moore (2011) The phonetics of transparency in Kaska vowel harmony. Working Papers in Athabaskan Languages 2010 [Proceedings of the 2010 Athabascan/Dene Languages Conference], Eugene, Oregon, June 25–27, 2010, ed. by S. Tuttle and O. Lovick. Fairbanks, AK: Alaska Native Language Center.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2010) Long-distance voicing assimilation in Berber: spreading and/or agreement? Actes du Congrès de l’ACL 2010 / 2010 CLA Conference Proceedings, ed. by M. Heijl. Association canadienne de linguistique / Canadian Linguistic Association. [http://homes.chass.utoronto.ca/~cla-acl/actes2010]
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2010) Consonant Harmony: Long-Distance Interaction in Phonology. (University of California Publications in Linguistics, 145.) Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. [Available on-line (free) at eScholarship.org.]
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2008) Diachronic explanations of sound patterns. Language & Linguistics Compass 2(5): 859–893. [Reprinted (2011), with updated citations, in The Handbook of Phonological Theory, 2nd edition, ed. by John A. Goldsmith, Jason Riggle and Alan C. L. Yu, pp. 319– 347. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.]
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2008) Effects of contrast recoverability on the typology of harmony systems. Contrast in Phonology: Theory, Perception, Acquisition, ed. by P. Avery, B. E. Dresher and K. Rice, pp. 115–141. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2007) On the evolution of consonant harmony: the case of secondary articulation agreement. Phonology 24(1): 77-120.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2007) Blocking effects in agreement by correspondence. Linguistic Inquiry 38(2): 395-409.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2007) Productive syncretism in Saami inflectional morphology. Saami Linguistics, ed. by I. Toivonen and D. Nelson, pp. 91–135. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2005) Latent segments in Yowlumne: an epiphenomenon of template satisfaction? WSCLA X: Proceedings of the 10th Workshop on Structure and Constituency in the Languages of the Americas, ed. by S. Armoskaite and J. Thompson, pp. 109–122. (UBC Working Papers in Linguistics 17.) Vancouver: Department of Linguistics, University of British Columbia.
Gessner, Suzanne, and Gunnar Ólafur Hansson (2005) Anti-homophony effects in Dakelh (Carrier) valence morphology. BLS 30: Proceedings of the 30th Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, ed. by M. Ettlinger, N. Fleischer and M. Park-Doob, pp. 93–104. Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Linguistics Society.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2005) Long-distance voicing agreement: an evolutionary perspective. BLS 30: Proceedings of the 30th Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistics Society, ed. by M. Ettlinger, N. Fleischer and M. Park-Doob, pp. 130–141. Berkeley, CA: Berkeley Linguistics Society.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2004) Tone and voicing agreement in Yabem. WCCFL 23: Proceedings of the 23rd West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics, ed. by V. Chand, A. Kelleher, A. Rodríguez and B. Schmeiser, pp. 318–331. Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Press.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2003) Laryngeal licensing and laryngeal neutralization in Faroese and Icelandic. Nordic Journal of Linguistics 26(1): 45–79.
Inkelas, Sharon, Gunnar Ólafur Hansson, Aylin Küntay and C. Orhan Orgun (2001) Labial attraction in Turkish: an empirical perspective. Turkic Languages 5: 169–197.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2001) Remains of a submerged continent: preaspiration in the languages of Northwest Europe. Historical Linguistics 1999, ed. by Laurel J. Brinton, pp. 157–173. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (1999) ‘When in doubt…’: intraparadigmatic dependencies and gaps in Icelandic. Proceedings of NELS 29, ed. by P. Tamanji, M. Hirotani and N. Hall, pp. 105–119. Amherst, MA: GLSA Publications, University of Massachusetts.