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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17474

Title: Contrast and Similarity in Consonant Harmony Processes
Authors: Mackenzie, Sara
Advisor: Dresher, B. Elan
Department: Linguistics
Keywords: phonology
similarity
contrast
consonant harmony
Issue Date: 16-Jul-2009
Abstract: This thesis deals with the nature and definition of phonological similarity and shows that, when similarity plays a role in the motivation of phonological processes, it is evaluated over abstract, phonological features and not purely phonetic properties. Empirical evidence for this position is drawn from the domain of consonant harmony. Typological studies of consonant harmony (Hansson 2001, Rose and Walker 2004) have argued that segments which interact in consonant harmony processes must be highly similar to one another. This thesis provides analyses of a range of consonant harmony processes and demonstrates that, in each case, the notion of similarity needed in order to determine participating segments is evaluated over contrastive feature specifications. Contrastive specifications are established according to language-specific feature hierarchies (Jackobson and Halle 1956, Dresher 2003, forthcoming) with some features taking scope over others. Languages analyzed in some detail include Bumo Izon, Kalabari Ijo, Hausa, Dholuo, Anywa, Tzutujil and Aymara. Two definitions of similarity are proposed in order to account for two sets of cases. In one set of consonant harmony processes, interacting segments are similar in the sense that they constitute the natural class of segments contrastively specified in the harmonic feature. In another set of cases, participating segments must be similar according to the following definition; they must differ in only a single marked and contrastive feature specification.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17474
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Linguistics - Doctoral theses

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