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Vowel dispersion and Kazakh labial harmony

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 June 2018

Adam G. McCollum*
University of California, San Diego


This paper uses novel data showing gradient labial harmony in Kazakh to compare Kaun's (1995) feature-based analysis with a dispersion-based analysis in a Maximum Entropy Harmonic Grammar. The paper demonstrates that the dispersion-based analysis better fits the Kazakh data than Kaun's analysis, and then extends it to account for four languages with harmony patterns different from that in Kazakh. The paper also argues that the dispersion-based account provides a better analysis of the typology of labial harmony than Kaun's feature-based analysis.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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I am particularly grateful to the Kazakh speakers who have shared so much of their time, language and culture with me. This work emerged from my master's thesis at the University of Florida, and has been greatly improved through discussions with Eric Baković, Marc Garellek, Brent Henderson, Jaye Padgett, Sharon Rose, Ratree Wayland and Caroline Wiltshire, as well as the careful comments from three anonymous reviewers and the editors. Additionally, I received many helpful comments from the audiences at the 2015 CUNY Phonology Forum, Tu+1, UC Santa Cruz's Phlunch and SCAMP 2016, where earlier versions of this work were presented. Any errors are my own.


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