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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Copyright (c) 2016 Péter Rebrus, Miklós Törkenczy

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