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Non-Finno-Ugric/Turkish vowel harmony systems and the

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Wednesday, October 23, 2002, 2:57
Dirk Elzinga scripsit:

> The curious feature of Nez Perce is that the two sets of vowels don't > seem to form natural classes. In particular, the presence of /i/ in both > sets is rather perplexing. Stems which contain /i/ can trigger dominant > harmony or fail to trigger it. Compare the forms for 'paternal aunt' > with those for 'mother', which is almost idential to it in form:
Some Altaic languages have neutral vowels too, and the usual explanation is that an ordinary vocalic opposition has been fully neutralized: /i/ and /barred-i/ have collapsed, and so the vowel harmony is damaged a bit. Interestingly, I don't know any language where vowel harmony is active. It's always inherited from the original stock, and it doesn't affect loan words, and it's always somewhat damaged by sound changes. -- John Cowan "If I have seen farther than others, it is because I am surrounded by dwarves." --Murray Gell-Mann