A Non-cumulative Pattern in Vowel Harmony: a Frequency-Based Account

Péter Rebrus, Miklós Törkenczy


Variation in Hungarian front/back suffix harmony is conditioned by the number and
height of the neutral vowels intervening between the last back vowel of the stem and
the harmonising suffix (the “Count Effect” and the “Height Effect,” respectively).
This paper examines whether the Height Effect applies cumulatively in an environment
where the Count Effect also applies. We find that the unexpected non-cumulative
behaviour in an environment can be explained in an analogical model that crucially
refers to the frequency of forms and present a quantified model that predicts the
measured harmonic behaviour on the basis of the harmonic behaviour, the similarity
and the frequency of the analogically related stem classes.


vowel harmony; variation; frequency; Hungarian; analogy

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3765/amp.v3i0.3692

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