Abstract:  "The Typology of Rounding Harmony"

by Abigail Kaun, University of Southern California

In Bruce Hayes, Robert Kirchner, and Donca Steriade, eds., Phonetically Based Phonology, Cambridge University Press (2004).

The typology of rounding harmony, as determined by a typological survey of rounding harmony systems, can be closely modeled as the factorial typology of a set of formal Optimality-theoretic constraints grounded in functional principles of phonetics.  Constraints based on speech perception favored the spreading of rounding in vowels where rounding is less perceptible (lower vowels, front vowels, short vowels).  Constraints based on articulatory ease disfavor the creation of low rounded vowels, and of rounded sequences that differ in harmony.  

The psychological reality of the constraints is supported by a demonstration that constraint inactive in the native phonology can be brought into play in the adaptation of loan words into Turkish.

Return to the Phonetically-Based Phonology home page