Linguistics 251: Vowel Harmony
Department of Linguistics
I've taught two offerings of this course, one in 2010 and one in 2019. Both have been inconclusive, but perhaps vowel harmony theorists (there are now dozens of theories on the market) might find this material useful for testing out their ideas. In both seminars, I did class exercises, each "solving" some individual harmony system of a variety of types.
Spring Quarter 2019
Here, I just bundled all the lecture handouts (Word format) and exercises (Excel) into a single zipped file. You'll have to find the readings on your own.
Tuesday/Thursday 2-4 in Rolfe 3118
18 OTSoft files, each for a different vowel harmony language. We solved them all Socratically during the class; you might like to try them if you have invented a new theory of vowel harmony and want to test it out. Download zipped package.
18 sets of lecture notes -- needed to make sense of the OTSoft files. Word 2003 format. Download zipped package.
For Thurs. 4/1: please visit the password-protected page by clicking on the button below. I will give the password in class or you can ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For Tues. 4/6: Clements, George N. and Engin Sezer. 1983. Vowel and consonant disharmony in Turkish. In H. van der Hulst and Norval Smith (eds.) The structure of phonological representations, II. Dordrecht: Foris.
For Thurs. 4/8: Stefan Benus and Adamantios I. Gafos (2007) Articulatory characteristics of Hungarian ‘transparent’ vowels. Journal of Phonetics 35 (2007) 271–300
For Tues, 4/13: Rachel Walker Dani Byrd and Fidčle Mpiranya (2008), An articulatory view of Kinyarwanda coronal harmony. Phonology 25:499-535.
Case studies, typology and theory
For Thursday, 4/15: Sarah Finley (2008) Formal And Cognitive Restrictions On Vowel Harmony, Ph.D. dissertation, Johns Hopkins University. Read specifically: Chapter 2, "Pathological vowel harmony predictions."
For Tuesday, 4/20: Abigail Kaun (1995) Turkic languages, extract from The Typology of Rounding Harmony: An Optimality Theoretic Approach, UCLA Ph.D. dissertation.
For Thursday, 4/22: Mark Harvey and Brett Baker (2005) Vowel harmony, directionality, and morpheme structure constraints in Warlpiri. Lingua 115:1457-1474.
For Tuesday, 4/27: John McCarthy (2004) Headed spans and autosegmental spreading. Ms., UMass., available at the McCarthy web site.
(no class Thurs. 4/29; Bruce away)
For Tuesday 5/4: Rachel Walker (1999) Guaraní voiceless stops in oral versus nasal contexts: an acoustical study. Journal of the International Phonetic Association 29.1, 63-94.
For Thursday 5/6: Jennifer Fischer (2009) "Vowel-Height Harmony in Kuria". M.A. thesis, UCLA. To download, please visit the password-protected page by clicking on the button below. I will give the password in class or you can ask me at email@example.com.
For Tuesday 5/11: John McCarthy (2009) "Harmony in Harmonic Serialism". Ms., U. Mass. Amherst. Rutgers Optimality Archive.
(no class Thurs. 5/13, Bruce away)
For Tuesday 5/18: John McCarthy (1984) "Theoretical consequences of Montańes vowel harmony" Linguistic Inquiry 15: 291-318.
For Thursday 5/20: Catherine Ringen and Orvokki Heinamäki (1999) "Variation in Finnish vowel harmony," Natural Language and Linguistic Theory 17:303-337.
For Tuesday 5/25: Kiparsky, Paul and Karl Pajusalu (2003) Towards a typology of disharmony. The Linguistic Review 20: 217-241.
For Thursday 5/27: please visit the password-protected page by clicking on the button below. I will give the password in class or you can ask me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Psycholinguistics and experimentation
For Tuesday, 6/1: Suomi, Kari, James M. McQueen, and Anne Cutler (1997) Vowel harmony and speech segmentation in Finnish. Journal of Memory and Language 36: 422-444.
For Thursday, 6/3: Extracts (TBA) from Sarah Finley (2008) Formal And Cognitive Restrictions On Vowel Harmony, Ph.D. dissertation, Johns Hopkins University.
Ajíbóyč, Oládiípň & Douglas Pulleyblank (2008) Moba nasal harmony. Ms., University of Lagos & UBC.
Archangeli, Diana and Douglas Pulleyblank (1989) Yoruba vowel harmony. Linguistic Inquiry 20:173-217.
Bakovic', Eric (2000) Harmony, dominance, and control. Rutgers Ph.D. dissertation.
Boyce, Suzanne E. (1990) Coarticulatory organization for lip rounding in Turkish and English. JASA 88:2584-2595.
Gordon, Matthew (1999) The "neutral" vowels of Hungarian: how neutral are they? Linguistica Uralica 35:1 (1999), pp. 17-21
Sapir, J.David (1975) Big and Thin; Two Diola-Fogny Meta-Linguistic Terms. Language in Society, 4: 1-15.
Quite a bit of recent literature in phonology has addressed the problem of vowel harmony. I'd like to go through this literature and ponder the issues. The course will cover typology, formal theory, phonetics, and psycholinguistic work.
What harmony systems are out there and how can we compile this information systematically? Work of Kaun, L. Anderson.
Finding a formal phonological theory that matches the typology has proven
difficult. Particularly hard issues include the following:
How should theory deal with transparent vowels, those which are "skipped over" by harmony? The problem is made harder by the discovery (in Finnish and Hungarian) of "translucent" vowels, which only permit the harmonizing feature to skip over them in a subset of words. Work of Ringen, Hayes, Zuraw, Londe, Siptár.
How to get the appropriate kinds of directionality? Languages demonstrate stem control, dominant-feature-value control, left-to-right harmony, and right-to-left harmony; it's hard to get just these without others as well. Work of Clements, Lombardi, Bakovi?, McCarthy, Jenn Fischer.
The notorious Vowel Harmony Monsters-impossible harmony systems predicted by classical OT (e.g. majority rule, long-distance blocking). How to avoid them? Work of Lombardi, Wilson, Finley, Bakovi?.
Evidence that neutral segments are really undergoers at the allophonic level (Benus and Gafos on Hungarian, Gick et al. on Kinande, Walker et al. on Kinyarwanda). To what extent can this fact be used to simplify the phonological analysis?
4) Psycholinguistic study
Are certain vowel harmony systems preferred under UG? Sara Finley's program of artificial language experiments.
Bruce Hayes's home page