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Encyclopedia > Vowel harmony

Vowel harmony (also metaphony) is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels. In historical linguistics, metaphony is a general term for a class of sound shift in which one vowel in a word is influenced by another in a process of assimilation. ... Assimilation is a regular and frequent sound change process by which a phoneme changes to match an adjacent phoneme in a word. ... The vowels of modern (Standard) Arabic and (Israeli) Hebrew from the phonological point of view. ...

Contents


Explanation

Harmony processes are "long-distance" in the sense that the assimilation involves sounds that are separated by intervening segments (usually consonant segments). In other words, harmony refers to the assimilation of sounds that are not adjacent to each other. For example, a vowel at the beginning of word can trigger assimilation in a vowel at the end of a word. The assimilation sometimes occurs across the entire word. This is represented schematically in the following diagram:

before
assimilation
  after
assimilation
VaCVbCVbC VaCVaCVaC   (Va = type-a vowel, Vb = type-b vowel, C = consonant)

In the diagram above, the Va (type-a vowel) causes the following Vb (type-b vowel) to assimilate and become the same type of vowel (and thus they become, metaphorically, "in harmony").


The vowel that causes the vowel assimilation is frequently termed the trigger while the vowels that assimilate (or harmonize) are termed targets. In most languages, the vowel triggers lie within the root of a word while the affixes added to the roots contain the targets. This may be seen in the Hungarian dative suffix: The root is the primary lexical unit of a word, which carries the most significant aspects of semantic content and cannot be reduced into smaller constituents. ... Look up affix in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Dative has several meanings. ...

Root Dative Gloss
város város-nak "city"
öröm öröm-nek "joy"

The dative suffix has two different forms -nak/-nek. The -nak form appears after the root with back vowels (a and o are both back vowels). The -nek form appears after the root with front vowels (ö and e are front vowels).


The direction of the harmony assimilation may spread in any direction, from the beginning of the word to the end or from the end to the beginning. Progressive harmony (a.k.a. left-to-right harmony) proceeds from beginning to end; regressive harmony (a.k.a. right-to-left harmony) proceeds from end to beginning. Languages that have both prefixes and suffixes often have both progressive and regressive harmony. Languages that primarily have prefixes (and no suffixes) usually have only regressive harmony — and vice versa for primarily suffixing languages. In linguistics, a prefix is a type of affix that precedes the morphemes to which it can attach. ... Suffix has meanings in linguistics, nomenclature and computer science. ...


Features of vowel harmony

Vowel harmony often involves dimensions such as

In many languages, vowels can be said to belong to particular classes, such as back vowels or rounded vowels, etc. Some languages have more than one system of harmony. For instance, Altaic languages have a rounding harmony superimposed over a backness harmony. In phonetics, vowel height refers to the position of the tongue relative to the roof of the mouth in a vowel sound. ... In phonetics, vowel backness is the position of the tongue relative to the back of the mouth in a vowel sound. ... Exolabial and endolabial [ʏ] in Swedish. ... In phonetics, retracted tongue root, abbreviated RTR or –ATR, is the retraction of the base of the tongue in the pharynx during the pronunciation of a vowel. ... In phonetics, nasalization is the production of a sound while the velum is lowered, so that air escapes partially or wholly through the nose during the production of the sound. ... A nasal consonant is produced when the velum—that fleshy part of the palate near the back—is lowered, allowing air to escape freely through the nose. ... Altaic is a proposed language family which includes 60 languages spoken by about 250 million people, mostly in and around Central Asia and Far East. ...


In some languages, not all vowels participate in the harmony processes — these vowels are termed either neutral or transparent. Intervening consonants are also often transparent. In addition to these transparent segments, many language have opaque vowels that block vowel harmony processes.


Finally, languages that do have vowel harmony sometimes have words that fail to harmonize. This is known as disharmony. Many borrowed loanwords exhibit disharmony. A loanword is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. ...


Vowel harmony & umlaut terminology

The term vowel harmony is used in two different senses, explained below.


In the first sense, vowel harmony refers to any type of vowel harmony: that is, both progressive and regressive vowel harmony. When used in this sense, the term vowel harmony is synonymous with the term metaphony. In historical linguistics, metaphony is a general term for a class of sound shift in which one vowel in a word is influenced by another in a process of assimilation. ...


In the second sense, vowel harmony refers only to progressive vowel harmony (beginning-to-end). For regressive harmony, the term umlaut is used. In this sense, metaphony is the general term while vowel harmony and umlaut are both sub-types of metaphony. (Note that the term umlaut is also used in a different sense to refer to a type of vowel gradation.) In linguistics the term Umlaut is used in a variety of closely related ways, some narrower, some broader. ... In linguistics, the process of ablaut (from German ab- off + Laut sound) is a vowel change accompanying a change in grammatic function. ...


Vowel harmony, archiphonemes, and underspecification

See Neutralization, archiphoneme, underspecification for an explanation of archiphoneme and neutralization with an example of a Tuvan archiphoneme involved in vowel harmony. In human language, a phoneme is a set of phones (speech sounds or sign elements) that are cognitively equivalent. ... Tuvan (Tuvan: Тыва дыл (Tyva dyl)), also known as Tuvinian, Tyvan, or Tuvin, is one of the Turkic languages. ...


Examples in selected languages

Vowel harmony appears in almost all Uralic and Altaic languages. Some have speculated that the vowel harmony of the northwestern Finno-Ugric languages influenced the phonological phenomenon of umlaut that most of the living Germanic languages display. Geographical distribution of Samoyedic, Finnic, Ugric and Yukaghir languages  Yukaghir  Samoyedic  Ugric  Finnic The Uralic languages form a language family of about 30 languages spoken by approximately 20 million people. ... Altaic is a proposed language family which includes 60 languages spoken by about 250 million people, mostly in and around Central Asia and Far East. ... Approximate geographical distribution of areas where indigenous Finno-Ugric languages are spoken. ... The Germanic languages form one of the branches of the Indo-European (IE) language family. ...


Uralic languages

Finnish

A Venn diagram of the Finnish vowel harmony system.The front vowels are in blue, neutral in green and back in yellow
A Venn diagram of the Finnish vowel harmony system.The front vowels are in blue, neutral in green and back in yellow
Front ä ö y
Neutral e i
Back a o u

In the Finnish language, there are three classes of vowels -- front, back, and neutral, where each front vowel has a back vowel pairing. Grammatical endings such as case and derivational endings — but not enclitics — have only archiphonemic vowels, which are realized as either A, U, O or Ä, Y, Ö, but never both, inside a single word. From vowel harmony it follows that the initial syllable of each single (non-compound) word controls the frontness or backness of the entire word. Non-initially, the neutral vowels are transparent to and unaffected by vowel harmony. In the initial syllable: Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Venn diagrams are illustrations used in the branch of mathematics known as set theory. ... Finnish ( ) is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland (92%) and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. ...

  1. a back vowel causes all non-initial syllables to realize with back (or neutral) vowels, e.g. pos+ahta+(t)aposahtaa
  2. a front vowel causes all non-initial syllables to realize with front (or neutral) vowels, e.g. räj+ahta+(t)aräjähtää.
  3. a neutral vowel acts like a front vowel, but does not control the frontness or backness of the word: if there are back vowels in non-initial syllables, the word acts like it began with back vowels, even if they come from derivational endings, e.g. sih+ahta+(ta)sihahtaa cf. sih+ise+(t)asihistä

For example:

  • kaura begins with back vowel → kauralla
  • kuori begins with back vowel → kuorella
  • sieni begins without back vowels → sienellä (not *sienella)
  • käyrä begins without back vowels → käyrällä
  • tuote begins with back vowels → tuotteeseensa
  • kerä begins with a neutral vowel → kerällä
  • kera begins with a neutral vowel, but has a noninitial back vowel → keralla

Some dialects that have a sound change opening diphthong codas also permit archiphonemic vowels in the initial syllable. For example, standard 'ie' is reflected as 'ia' or 'iä', controlled by noninitial syllables, in the Tampere dialect, e.g. tiätie but miakkamiekka.


Vowel harmony is a grammaticalized feature of phonotactics, thus it may not work as expected from pure phonology, as evidenced by tuotteeseensa (not *tuotteeseensä). Even if phonologically front vowels precede the suffix -nsa, grammatically it is preceded by a back vowel-controlled word. As shown in the examples, neutral vowels make the system unsymmetrical, as they are front vowels phonologically, but leave the front/back control to any grammatical front or back vowels. There is little or no change in the actual vowel quality of the neutral vowels.


As a consequence, Finnish speakers often have problems with pronouncing foreign words which do not obey vowel harmony. For example, olympia is pronounced olumpia. The position of some loans is unstandardized (e.g. chattailla/chättäillä ) or ill-standardized (e.g. polymeeri, autoritäärinen, which violate vowel harmony). Where a foreign word violates vowel harmony by not using front vowels because it begins with a neutral vowel, then last syllable counts. For example, Wikipediassa — the initial syllable -pe- of the second word would require the final vowel to be , but because it isn't, the process degrammaticalizes, becoming pure phonotactics. Finnish ( ) is the language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland (92%) and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. ...


With respect to vowel harmony, compound words can be considered separate words. For example, syyskuu ("autumn month" i.e. September) has both u and y, but it consists of two words syys and kuu, and declines syys·kuu·ta (not *syyskuutä). The same goes for enclitics, e.g. taaksepäin "backwards" consists of the word taakse "to back" and -päin "-wards". If fusion takes place, the vowel is harmonized by some speakers, e.g. tälläinen pro tällainentämän lainen. Look up September in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Hungarian

Hungarian language
Alphabet, including ő ű and
cs dz dzs gy ly ny sz ty zs
Phonetics and phonology
Vowel harmony
Grammar, including
noun phrases and verbs
T-V distinction
Regulatory body
Tongue-twisters
English words from Hungarian
Old Hungarian script (runes)
edit

The Hungarian language is a Finno-Ugric language spoken in Hungary and in the adjacent states of Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Austria, and Slovenia (all are countries to which Hungary had to cede territories after World War I). ... The Hungarian alphabet is an extension of the Roman alphabet. ... The double acute accent ( ˝ ) is a diacritic mark of the latin script used primarily in written Hungarian. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... Linguistics & Pronunciation Dz is the seventh letter of the Hungarian alphabet. ... // Linguistics & Pronunciation Dzs is the eighth letter, and only trigraph, of the Hungarian alphabet. ... Linguistics & Pronunciation Gy is the thirtheenth letter of the Hungarian alphabet. ... Linguistics & Pronunciation Ly is the twentieth letter of the Hungarian alphabet. ... Linguistics & Pronunciation Ny is the twenty-third letter of the Hungarian alphabet. ... Linguistics & Pronunciation Sz is the thirty-second letter of the Hungarian alphabet. ... Linguistics & Pronunciation Ty is the thirty-fourth letter of the Hungarian alphabet. ... Wikipedia does not have an article with this exact name. ... This article deals with the phonology and the phonetics of the Hungarian language. ... Vowel harmony (also metaphony) is a type of long-distance assimilatory phonological process involving vowels. ... Hungarian grammar is the study of the rules governing the use of the Hungarian language, a Finno-Ugric language spoken in Hungary and in adjacent areas of Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Austria, and Slovenia (all territories lost after World War I). ... This page is about noun phrases in Hungarian grammar. ... This page is about verbs in Hungarian grammar. ... In sociolinguistics, a T-V distinction describes the situation wherein a language, unlike current English, has pronouns that distinguish varying levels of politeness, social distance, courtesy, familiarity, or insult toward the addressee. ... The Magyar Tudományos Akadémia Nyelvtudományi Intézete, that is, Research Institute for Linguistics of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, was founded in 1949. ... This is a list of English words of Hungarian origin: biro  From Bíró. ... Hungarian Runes ((Székely) rovásírás in Hungarian; also called rovás) is a type of runic writing system used by the Magyars (mostly by Székely Magyars) prior to AD 1000. ...

Vowel types
open middle closed
Back ("low") a á o ó u ú
Front
("high")
unrounded
(neutral)
  e é i í
rounded   ö ő ü ű

Hungarian, like its distant relative Finnish, has the same system of front, back, and intermediate (neutral) vowels. The basic rule is that words with front ("high") vowels get front vowel suffixes (kézbe in the hand), back ("low") vowel words back suffixes (karba in the arm).


The only essential difference in classification between Hungarian and Finnish is that Hungarian does not observe the difference between Finnish 'ä' [æ] and 'e' [e] — the Hungarian neutral vowel 'e' [æ] is the same as the Finnish front vowel 'ä'.


Behaviour of neutral vowels

Intermediate or neutral vowels are usually counted as front ones, since they are formed that way, the difference being that neutral vowels can occur along with back vowels in Hungarian word bases (eg. répa carrot, kocsi car). The basic rule is that words with neutral and back vowels usually take back suffixes (eg. répá|ban in a carrot, kocsi|ban in a car).


The suffix rules for words with both kinds of suffixes are the following:

  • The last syllable counts: sofőr|höz, nüansz|szal, generál|ás, október|ben
    • A regular exception is i/í and é (but not usually e): they are transparent for the rule, so only the other sounds will be taken into consideration, e.g. papír|hoz, kuplé|hoz, marék|hoz, konflis|hoz
  • Some words can take either front or back suffixes: farmer|ban or farmer|ben

Suffixes in multiple forms

While most grammatical suffixes in Hungarian come in either one form (eg. -kor) or two forms (front and back, eg. -ban/-ben), some suffixes have an additional form for rounded vowels (such as ö, ő, ü and ű), e.g. hoz/-hez/-höz. An example on basic numerals:

-kor
(at, for time)
-ban/-ben
(in)
-hoz/-hez/-höz
(to)
Back hat (6)
nyolc (8)
három (3)
hatkor
nyolckor
háromkor
egykor
négykor
kilenckor
ötkor
kettőkor
hatban
nyolcban
háromban
hathoz
nyolchoz
háromhoz
Front unrounded
(neutral)
egy (1)
négy (4)
kilenc (9)
egyben
négyben
kilencben
ötben
kettőben
egyhez
négyhez
kilenchez
rounded öt (5)
kettő (2)
öthöz
kettőhöz

Altaic languages

Mongolian

Feminine (front) e ö ü
Masculine (back) a o u
Neutral i

Mongolian is similar. Front vowels in Mongolian are considered feminine, while back vowels are considered masculine.


Tatar

Front ä e i ö ü
Back a ı í o u é

Tatar has no neutral vowels. The vowel é is found only in loanwords. Another vowels also could be found in loanwords, but they are seen as Back vowels. Tatar language also has a rounding harmony, but it isn't represented in writing. O and ö could be written only in the first syllable, but vowels they mark could be pronounced in place where ı and e are written.
The Tatar language (Tatar tele, Tatarça, Татар теле, Татарча) is a Turkic language belonging to the Altaic branch of the Ural-Altaic family of languages. ... A loanword is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. ...


Kazakh

Kazakh's system of vowel harmony is primarily a front/back system, but there is also a system of rounding harmony that is not represented by the orthography, which strongly resembles the system in Kyrgyz. Kazakh, also Kazak, Khazakh, Qazaq, Kosach, and Kaisak (Қазақ тілі in Cyrillic, Qazaq tilî in the Latin alphabet, and قازاق تءىلءي in the Arabic alphabet) is a Western Turkic language closely related to Nogai and Karakalpak. ...


Kyrgyz

Kyrgyz's system of vowel harmony is primarily a front/back system, but there is also a system of rounding harmony. Kyrgyz or Kirghiz (Кыргыз тили) is a Northwestern Turkic language, and, together with Russian, an official language of Kyrgyzstan. ...


Turkish

Front Back
Unrounded Rounded Unrounded Rounded
High i ü ı u
Low e ö a o

Turkish has a 2-dimensional vowel harmony system, where vowels are characterised by two features: [±front] and [±rounded].


Front/back harmony

Turkish has two classes of vowels -- front and back. Vowel harmony states that words may not contain both front and back vowels. Therefore, most grammatical suffixes come in front and back forms, e.g. Türkiyede "in Turkey" but kapıda "at the door".


Rounding harmony

In addition, there is a secondary rule that i and ı tend to become ü and u respectively after rounded vowels, so certain suffixes have additional forms. This gives constructions such as Türkiyedir "it is Turkey", kapıdır "it is the door", but gündür "it is day", paltodur "it is the coat".


Exceptions

Compound words are considered separate words with respect to vowel harmony: vowels do not have to harmonize between members of the compound (thus forms like bu|gün "today" are permissible). In addition, vowel harmony does not apply for loanwords and some invariant suffixes (such as -iyor); there are also a few native Turkish words that do not follow the rule (such as anne "mother"). In such words suffixes harmonize with the final vowel; thus İstanbuldur "it is İstanbul". A loanword is a word directly taken into one language from another with little or no translation. ...


Yokuts

Vowel harmony is present in all Yokutsan languages and dialects. For instance, Yawelmani has 4 vowels (which additionally may be either long or short). These can be grouped as in the table below. Pre-contact distribution of Yokutsan languages Yokutsan (also Yokuts) is an endangered language family spoken in the interior of southern California in and around the San Joaquin valley by the Yokut tribe. ... Yawelmani (also Yowlumni) is an extinct variety of the Valley Yokuts language (of the Yokutsan family) formerly spoken in southern California by the Yawelmani people. ... In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived duration of a vowel sound. ...

  unrounded rounded
high i u
non-high a ɔ

In vowels in suffixes must harmonize with either /u/ or its non-/u/ counterparts or with /ɔ/ or non-/ɔ/ counterparts. For example, the vowel in the aorist suffix appears as /u/ when it follows a /u/ in the root, but when it follows all other vowels it appears as /i/. Similarly, the vowel in the nondirective gerundial suffix appears as /ɔ/ when it follows a /ɔ/ in the root; otherwise it appears as /a/. Aorist (from Greek αοριστος, indefinite) is a term used in certain Indo-European languages to refer to a particular grammatical tense and/or aspect. ...

-hun/-hin   (aorist suffix)
muṭhun [muʈhun] 'swear (aorist)'
giy̓hin [ɡij’hin] 'touch (aorist)'
gophin [ɡɔphin] 'take of infant (aorist)'
xathin [xathin] 'eat (aorist)'
-tow/-taw   (nondirective gerundial suffix)
goptow [ɡɔptɔw] 'take care of infant (nondir. ger.)'
giy̓taw [ɡij’taw] 'touch (nondir. ger.)'
muṭtaw [muʈtaw] 'swear (nondir. ger.)'
xattaw [xatːaw] 'eat (nondir. ger.)'

In addition to the harmony found in suffixes, there is a harmony restriction on word stems where in stems with more than one syllable all vowels are required to be of the same lip rounding and tongue height dimensions. For example, a stem must contain all high rounded vowels or all low rounded vowels, etc. This restriction is further complicated by (i) long high vowels being lowered and (ii) an epenthetic vowel [i] which does not harmonize with stem vowels. In linguistics, an epenthetic vowel breaks up a consonant cluster that is not permitted by the phonotactics of a language. ...


Korean

Korean Vowel Harmony
Positive (양성모음 陽性母音) ㅏ (a) ㅑ (ya) ㅗ (o) ㅛ (yo)
ㅐ (ae) ㅘ (wa) ㅚ (oe) ㅙ (wae)
Negative (음성모음 陰性母音) ㅓ (eo) ㅕ (yeo) ㅜ (u) ㅠ (yu)
ㅔ (e) ㅝ (wo) ㅟ (wi) ㅞ (we)
Neutral (중성모음 中性母音) ㅡ (eu) ㅣ (i) ㅢ (ui)

There are three classes of vowels in Korean: positive, negative, and neutral. These categories loosely follow the front(positive) and mid (negative) vowels. Traditionally, Korean had strong vowel harmony; however, this rule is no longer observed strictly in modern Korean. In modern Korean, it is only applied in certain cases such as onomatopoeia, adjectives, adverbs, conjugation, and interjections. The vowel -(ŭ) is considered a partially neutral and a partially negative vowel. There are other traces of vowel harmony in modern Korean: many native Korean words tend to follow vowel harmony such as 사람 (saram), which means person, and 부엌 (Bueok), which means kitchen. Look up onomatopoeia in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... An adjective is a part of speech which modifies a noun, usually making its meaning more specific. ... An adverb is a part of speech that normally serves to modify verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, clauses, and sentences. ... In linguistics, conjugation is the creation of derived forms of a verb from its principal parts by inflection (regular alteration according to rules of grammar). ... It has been suggested that Discourse particle be merged into this article or section. ...


Proponents of Korean as an Altaic language use the existence of vowel harmony in Korean to support their argument. Altaic is a putative language family which would include 60 languages spoken by about 250 million people, mostly in and around central Asia. ...


Japanese

Modern Japanese lacks vowel harmony, but it is evident that such a process must have existed at one time. Linguists point to the word "funabashi" (ship's bridge), which is a compound of "fune" (ship) and "hashi" (bridge). Linguists theorize that the transformation of "e" to "a" is due to a vestigial system of vowel harmony (the voicing of "h" as "b" is due to rendaku). Some linguists present this phenomenon as evidence that Japanese is an Altaic language. Rendaku (連濁, lit. ...


Other languages

Vowel harmony occurs in many other languages, such as

Akan languages edition of Wikipedia Akan languages are those languages belonging to the Kwa language family spoken in Ghana and the Côte dIvoire: Agona Ahafo Akuapem Akyem (Akyem Bosome) Anyi Asen Asante (Ashanti) Attié Baule Brong Chakosi Dankyira Fante (Fanti, Mfantse) Guang Kwahu Twi Also, Akan is itself... Map showing the approximate distribution of Bantu (dull yellow) vs. ... Lingala is one of the Bantu languages spoken throughout the northwestern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo-Kinshasa) and a large part of the Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), as well as to some degree in Angola and the Central African Republic. ... The Coeur dAlene are a First Nations/Native American people who lived in villages along the Coeur dAlene, St. ... The Coosan (also Coos or Kusan) language family consists of two languages spoken along the southern Oregon coast: Hanis Miluk (a. ... Dusun is the name of a tribe or ethnic and linguistic group in the Malaysian state of Sabah. ... Pre-contact distribution of Maiduan languages Maiduan (also Maidun, Pujunan) is a small endangered language family of northeastern California. ... Nez Percé warrior on horse, 1910 The Nez Percé or Nez Perce (pronounced as in French, or ) are a tribe of Native Americans who inhabited the Pacific Northwest region of the United States at the time of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. ... The Nilotic languages are a group of Eastern Sudanic languages spoken across a wide area between southern Sudan and Tanzania by the Nilotic peoples, particularly associated with cattle-herding. ... Takelma was the language spoken by the Takelma people. ... Telugu (తెలుగు) belongs to the Dravidian language family but with ample influence from the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European family and is the official language of the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. ... Utian (also Miwok-Costanoan) is language family consisting of Miwokan languages and Costanoan languages. ... The Warlpiri language is spoken by about 3000 of the Warlpiri people in Australias Northern Territory. ...

Other types of harmony

Although vowel harmony is the most well-known harmony, not all types of harmony that occur in the world's languages involve only vowels. Other types of harmony involve consonants (and is known as consonant harmony). Rarer types of harmony are those that involve or tone or both vowels and consonants (e.g. postvelar harmony). A language is said to possess consonant harmony when it has a phonological rule requiring some types of consonants in a word to belong to the same class. ... It has been suggested that Tonal language be merged into this article or section. ...


Vowel-consonant harmony

Some languages have harmony processes that involve an interaction between vowels and consonants. For example, Chilcotin has a phonological process known as vowel flattening (i.e. post-velar harmony) where vowels must harmonize with uvular and pharyngealized consonants. Chilcotin (also Tsilhqot’in, Tzilkotin) is a Northern Athabaskan language spoken in British Columbia and Washington. ... Uvulars are consonants articulated with the back of the tongue against or near the uvula, that is, further back in the mouth than velar consonants. ... Pharyngealisation is a secondary articulation of consonants or vowels by which the pharynx is constricted during the articulation of the sound. ...


Chilcotin has two classes of vowels:

  • "flat" vowels [ᵊi, e, ᵊɪ, o, ɔ, ə, a]
  • non-"flat" vowels [i, ɪ, u, ʊ, æ, ɛ]

Additionally, Chilcotin has a class of pharyngealized "flat" consonants [ʦˤ, ʦʰˤ, ʦ’ˤ, sˤ, zˤ]. Whenever a consonant of this class occurs in a word, all preceding vowels must be flat vowels.

    [jətʰeɬʦˤʰosˤ] 'he's holding it (fabric)'
    [ʔapələsˤ] 'apples'
    [natʰák’ə̃sˤ] 'he'll stretch himself'

If flat consonants do not occur in a word, then all vowels will be of the non-flat class:

    [nænɛntʰǽsʊç] 'I'll comb hair'
    [tetʰǽsk’ɛn] 'I'll burn it'
    [tʰɛtɬʊç] 'he laughs'

Other languages of this region of North America (the Plateau culture area), such as St'át'imcets, have similar vowel-consonant harmonic processes. Statimcets (also Lillooet, Lilloet) is an interior Salishan language spoken in southern British Columbia, Canada around the middle Fraser and Lillooet rivers by the Statimc people. ...


See also

A language is said to possess consonant harmony when it has a phonological rule requiring some types of consonants in a word to belong to the same class. ... Altaic is a proposed language family which includes 60 languages spoken by about 250 million people, mostly in and around Central Asia and Far East. ... The Hungarian language is a Finno-Ugric language spoken in Hungary and in the adjacent states of Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine, Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Austria, and Slovenia (all are countries to which Hungary had to cede territories after World War I). ... Geographical distribution of Samoyedic, Finnic, Ugric and Yukaghir languages  Yukaghir  Samoyedic  Ugric  Finnic The Uralic languages form a language family of about 30 languages spoken by approximately 20 million people. ... The Turkic languages constitute a language family of some thirty languages, spoken across a vast area from Eastern Europe to Siberia and Western China with an estimated 140 million native speakers and tens of millions of second-language speakers. ... Turkish (Türkçe) is a Turkic language spoken natively in Turkey, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Greece and other countries of the former Ottoman Empire, as well as by several million emigrants in the European Union. ... The Korean language (, see below) is the official language of both North and South Korea. ...

External links

  • A Little Close Harmony: Sounds of a language ‘echoing’ each other

Bibliography

  • Jacobson, Leon Carl. (1978). DhoLuo vowel harmony: A phonetic investigation. Los Angeles: University of California.
  • Krämer, Martin. (2003). Vowel harmony and correspondence theory. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Li, Bing. (1996). Tungusic vowel harmony: Description and analysis. The Hague: Holland Academic Graphics.
  • Shahin, Kimary N. (2002). Postvelar harmony. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub.
  • Smith, Norval; & van der Hulst, Harry (Eds.). (1988). Features, segmental structure and harmony processes (Pts. 1 & 2). Dordrecht: Foris. ISBN 9-0676-5399-3 (pt. 1), ISBN 9-0676-5430-2 (pt. 2 ) .
  • Vago, Robert M. (Ed.). (1980). Issues in vowel harmony: Proceedings of the CUNY Linguistic Conference on Vowel Harmony, 14th May 1977. Amsterdam: J. Benjamins.
  • Vago, Robert M. (1994). Vowel harmony. In R. E. Asher (Ed.), The Encyclopedia of language and linguistics (pp. 4954-4958). Oxford: Pergamon Press.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Vowel harmony - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (2225 words)
Harmony processes are "long-distance" in the sense that the assimilation involves sounds that are separated by intervening segments (usually consonant segments).
Kazakh's system of vowel harmony is primarily a front/back system, but there is also a system of rounding harmony that is not represented by the orthography, which strongly resembles the system in Kyrgyz.
Linguists theorize that the transformation of "e" to "a" is due to a vestigial system of vowel harmony (the voicing of "h" as "b" is due to rendaku).
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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