Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-59b7f5684b-gsnzm Total loading time: 0.441 Render date: 2022-10-01T15:46:29.270Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "displayNetworkTab": true, "displayNetworkMapGraph": true, "useSa": true } hasContentIssue true

Vowel harmony in Manchu: a critical overview

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2008

Josh Ard
University of Michigan


The history of generative accounts of vowel harmony in Classical Manchu is discouraging. The early treatments (Vago, 1973; Odden, 1978; Finer, 1979) assumed the wrong type of vowel harmony (front vs. back rather than relative height harmony). Hayata (1980) proposed the correct type, but was unable to justify it adequately within the generative framework. These shortcomings are due to deficiencies in the practice of generative phonologists. To demonstrate the correct type of vowel harmony in Classical Manchu requires considerations of (1) the actual surface representation and/or (2) facts in related dialects and languages. Neither type of evidence is frequently used in the practice of generative phonologists, although the former is almost always valued in theory. An implication is that attempts to improve phonology must weigh practice as well as theory.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1984

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)



Adam, L. (1873). Grammaire de la langue mandchou. Paris: Maisonneuve.Google Scholar
Ard, J. (1979). A closer look at Manchu phonology. Unpublished paper given at the annual meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Los Angeles, CA.Google Scholar
Ard, J. (1981). A sketch of vowel harmony in the Tungus languages. In Comric, B. (ed.), Studies in the languages of the USSR. Edmonton: Linguistic Research.Google Scholar
Avrorin, V. A. (1976). Vokalizm i ego garmonija v man'čžurskom pis'mennom jazyke. In Turcologica. K semidesiatiletiju akademika A.N. Kononova. Leningrad: Nauka. 1319.Google Scholar
Avrorin, V. A. & Lebedeva, E. P. (1968). Oročskij jazyk. In Skorik (1968). 191209.Google Scholar
Baitchura, U. (1980). The sound structure of the Turkic languages in connection with that of the Fenno-Ugric ones. CAJ 24 117.Google Scholar
Bertagaev, T. A. (1968). Burjatskij jazyk. In Skorik (1968). 1333.Google Scholar
Budenz, J. (1886). A mandsu nyelv alaktana rövid vázlatban. NyK 20. 307319, 380400.Google Scholar
Catford, J. C. (1977). Mountain of tongues: the languages of the Caucasus. Annual Review of Anthropology 6. 283314.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Chomsky, N. & Halle, M. (1968). The sound pattern of English. New York: Harper and Row.Google Scholar
Cincius, V. (1949). Sravnitel'naja grammatika tunguso-man'čžurskix jazykov. Leningrad: Učedgiz.Google Scholar
Comrie, B. (1981). The languages of the Soviet Union. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Finer, D. (1979). Abstractness: the evidence from Manchu. Unpublished paper presented at the Minnesota Regional Conference on Linguistics.Google Scholar
Fischer-Jørgensen, E. (1975). Trends in phonological theory. Copenhagen: Akademisk Forlag.Google Scholar
Gabelentz, H. C. von der (1832). Eléments de la grammaire mandchoue. Altenbourg: Comptoire de la Littérature.Google Scholar
Haenisch, E. (1961). Mandschu-Grammatik. Leipzig: VEB Enzyklopädie.Google Scholar
Hammarberg, R. (1976). The metaphysics of coarticulation. JPhon 4. 353363.Google Scholar
Harlez, D. de (1884). Manuel de la langue mandchoue. Paris: Maisonneuve.Google Scholar
Hattori, S. & Yamamoto, K. (1956). Mansyûgo-kôgo no on'in no taikê to kôzż T. (1975). A note on vowel harmony in Middle Korean. GK 68. 104118.Google Scholar
Hayata, T. (1979). Orok noun morphophonology. Asian and African Linguistics 8. ILCAA Tokyo Gaikokugo Daigaku.Google Scholar
Hayata, T. (1980). Non-abstract vowel harmony in Mandchu. GK 77. 5979.Google Scholar
Jacobson, L. C. (1978). DhoLuo vowel harmony. UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics 43.Google Scholar
Kalużyński, S. (1973). Sibiński dialekt jçzyka mandzurskiego. PrzO 4 (88). 337345.Google Scholar
Kalużyński, S. (1977). Die Sprache des mandschurischen Stammes Sibe aus der Gegend von Kuldscha. Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.Google Scholar
Kim, C. W. (1978). ‘Diagonal’ vowel harmony? Some implications for historical phonology. In Fisiak, J. (ed.), Recent developments in historical phonology. The Hague: Mouton. 231235.Google Scholar
Kiparsky, P. (1968). How abstract is phonology? Bloomington: Indiana University Linguistics Club. (Also in Fujimura, O. (ed.), Three dimensions of linguistic theory. Tokyo: TEC, 1973.)Google Scholar
Lie, H. (1972). Die Mandschu-Sprachkunde in Korea. The Hague: Mouton.Google Scholar
Ligeti, L. (1972). A propos de l'écriture mandchoue. AOH 2. 235301.Google Scholar
Lindau, M. (1975). Features for vowels. UCLA Working Papers in Phonetics 30.Google Scholar
Linell, P. (1982). The concept of phonological form and the activities of speech production and speech perception. JPhon 10. 3772.Google Scholar
Melles, C. H. (1975) Un vocabulaire du mandchou préclassique: le Tongki fuqa aqô xergen-i bitxe. AOH 29. 335380.Google Scholar
Menges, K. H. (1971). Zu einigen Charakteristika des gesprochenen Manžu. CAJ 15. 2854.Google Scholar
Norman, J. (1971). A sketch of Sibe morphology. CAJ 18. 159174.Google Scholar
Novikova, K. A. (1960). Očerki dialektov évenskogo jazyka. Moscow-Leningrad.Google Scholar
Odden, D. (1978). Abstract vowel harmony in Manchu. LAn 4. 149165.Google Scholar
Paškov, B. K. (1963). Mančžurskij jazyk. Moscow: Izd. vostočnoj literatury.Google Scholar
Sanžeev, G. D. (1953). Sravnitel'naja grammarika mongol'skix jazykov, Vol. I. Moscow: Nauka.Google Scholar
Schmidt, P. (1932). Chinesische Elemente in Mandschu. Asia Minor 7.Google Scholar
Skorik, P. (ed.) (1968). Jazyki narodov SSSR, Vol. 5. Leningrad: Nauka.Google Scholar
Sunik, O. P. (1968). Tunguso-man'čžurskie jazyki (vvedenie). In Skorik, (1968). 5367.Google Scholar
Ultan, R. (1973). Some reflections on vowel harmony. Working Papers in Language Universals 12.Google Scholar
Vago, R. M. (1973). Abstract vowel harmony systems in Uralic and Altaic. Lg 49. 579605.Google Scholar
Welmers, W. (1973). African language structures. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Zwicky, A. M. (1975). The strategy of generative phonology. In Dressler, W. U. & Mareš, F. V. (eds.) Phonologica 1972. Munich: Wilhelm Fink Verlag. 151168.Google Scholar
Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Vowel harmony in Manchu: a critical overview
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Vowel harmony in Manchu: a critical overview
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Vowel harmony in Manchu: a critical overview
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *