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Vowel harmony in Manchu: a critical overview

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 November 2008

Josh Ard
Affiliation:
University of Michigan

Abstract

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.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1984

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References

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