LINGUIST List 16.1149
Mon Apr 11 2005
Diss: Phonology: Nevins: 'Conditions on (Dis)Harmony...'
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Conditions on (Dis)Harmony
Message 1: Conditions on (Dis)Harmony
From: Andrew Nevins <nevinsfas.harvard.edu>
Subject: Conditions on (Dis)Harmony
Institution: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Program: Department of Linguistics and Philosophy
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2004
Author: Andrew I Nevins
Dissertation Title: Conditions on (Dis)Harmony
Subject Language(s): Embu (EBU)
Gaelic, Scots (GLS)
This thesis explores the formal principles and parameters that model the
space of attested, unattested, and microvarying patterns of vowel and
consonant harmony. The proposal begins with a target-centric theory, in
which harmony is the result of a Search, initiated by a segment 'in need'.
Chapter 1 offers comparison with autosegmental, spreading-based models,
arguing that the present model provides an explanatory account of locality
effects in 'non-constituent' copying in Turkish, Barra Gaelic, and
Woleaian. It is proposed that harmony and dissimilation are conducted by
the same mechanism - because both display intervener-based locality, and
parametric bounds on the domain of search - and that they differ formally
only in their structural change. Interveners, excluded from the relativized
search domain, may stand between target and source, but search inviolably
halts at the closest element within the domain.
Chapter 2 proposes that the visibility conditions on interveners can be
predicted by properties of contrastiveness within the inventory.
Nonetheless, within closely-related languages, microparametrization of
value-relativization may lead to dramatic differences in surface harmony
patterns. Exemplification comes from three case studies: Standard Yoruba
and Ife Yoruba; Sibe and Sanjiazi Manchu; and Kyrghyz, Karaim, and Turkish.
Chapter 3 demonstrates that the typology of possible harmony systems has an
additional (parametric) determinant: relative sonority. An implicational
generalization is proposed: no language has a transparent unpaired vowel of
high sonority at the same time it has an opaque unpaired vowel of lower
sonority. Exemplification through Hungarian, Wolof, Finnish, and Written
Manchu unites seemingly distinct cases of sonority-based harmony asymmetries.
Chapter 4 turns to microvariation within the (dis)harmony system of a
single language, examining transparency variation in Hungarian front
vowels, and distance-based variation in Hungarian neutral vowel sequences,
and in the dissimilative voicing of Embu prefixes. The proposal is that
variation results from structural ambiguity within analytic possibilities
in the hypothesis space developed in Chapters 1-3. When a configuration
encountered early in the learning sequence is compatible with multiple
(dis)harmony policies (i.e. parametric settings of harmony grammars), the
speaker may choose among these, resulting in variation on those
later-learned forms for which the policies diverge in their output.
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