Re: Question about vowel harmono
|From:||dirk elzinga <dirk.elzinga@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, May 3, 2001, 13:28|
On Wed, 2 May 2001, Patrick Dunn wrote:
> Are there any other languages that use vowel harmony?
Many languages of Africa have vowel harmony based on the
relative advancement or retraction of the tongue root. Nez Perce
also has this kind of harmony, as does Chukchi. In Nez Perce,
the harmonic sets are:
i i u
If a word contains a morpheme with a vowel belonging to
"dominant" set, all of the vowels of that word will be from this
set; otherwise, all vowels of a word belong to the recessive
set. Notice that /i/ belongs to both sets; there are morphemes
containing dominant /i/ which trigger harmony. Here is a near
minimal pair illustrating how this works:
ci:c 'paternal aunt'
ci:ca? 'paternal aunt-vocative'
na?ci:c 'my paternal aunt'
n&?i:c 'my mother'
The stem 'paternal aunt' is a harmony-controlling stem, shown by
the dominant /a/ of the affixes. The stem 'mother' on the other
hand, is not, as shown by the recessive /&/ of the affixes.
I think it's a nifty system.
Dirk Elzinga email@example.com
"The strong craving for a simple formula
has been the undoing of linguists." - Edward Sapir