An Optimality Theoretic analysis of vowel harmony in Kazan Tatar

Cassidy Henry


Kazan Tatar is a Kipchak language spoken in the Republic of Tatarstan (Ethnologue). Previous literature has described a backness harmony system, with weak rounding harmony in the mid vowels (Comrie 1997, Berta 1998, Poppe 1968). This work utilizes novel data to investigate Tatar's harmony under an Optimality Theory (OT) (Prince & Smolensky 1993) framework, contributing new observations regarding the lack of rounding harmony in Tatar, contrary to previous accounts. Through investigation of Tatar's harmony system, we gain insight into the workings of the language's phonology and find crucial evidence for the gradual decay of rounding harmony in Turkic languages.


Kazan Tatar; vowel harmony; Optimality Theory; phonology; backness harmony

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Copyright (c) 2018 Cassidy Henry

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