Surface Correspondence and Discrete Harmony Triggers


  • Rachel Walker University of Southern California



Pasiego Montañes, Vowel Harmony, Surface Correspondence, Agreement by Correspondence


Correspondence relations among segments in an output, known as surface correspondence, provide a means for enforcing (dis)agreement among segments (Hansson 2001, Rose & Walker 2004, Bennett 2013). This paper examines implications of partially overlapping harmony patterns for the formal properties of surface correspondence. A novel and unwanted typological prediction of transitive surface correspondence relations with chain-adjacent evaluation of identity is identified, dubbed the Closest Correspondent Trigger Prediction. The problem is exemplified by the interaction of two overlapping vowel harmonies in the Pasiego Montañes dialect, where a target vowel agrees with different trigger segments for different features. A revised feature-restricted evaluation of identity constraints that operate over surface correspondents is proposed, where evaluation is restricted to the subset of correspondents that share a given set of features. This move merges the previous division of labor in surface correspondence theory between constraints that promote interactions among similar segments and those that enforce identity between them. The result is a theory where surface identity constraints are the prime locus of pattern-shaping and the role for constraints that drive surface correspondence is reduced. Future directions on the status of constraints that drive surface correspondence and the treatment of locality are considered.