Monotonicity and the limits of disharmony

Péter Rebrus, Miklós Törkenczy


The attested front/back harmony systems are monotonic in the sense that
the harmony function that assigns the values front and back to suffixes in
given harmonic stem contexts is subject to a constraint that only permits
contiguous patterns of values on a universally fixed scale of harmonic
contexts (ranging from the prototypical back harmony context [...B]_ to
the prototypical front one [...F]_ ). We argue that monotonicity also
constrains variation (harmony patterns involving the harmonic value
front/back) and show that in Hungarian the harmonic properties of a stem
(front, back, variable front/back) are inherited by the forms derived from
the stem by inflection or derivation. This paradigm uniformity effect
(Harmonic Uniformity) results in subpatterns of front/back harmony which
also conform to monotonicity. We demonstrate this using frequency data
from a corpus study.


Hungarian; Vowel Harmony; Neutral Vowels; Transparency; Anti-Harmony; Variation; Paradigm Uniformity; Monotonicity

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