How morphological is Hungarian vowel harmony?

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DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3765/amp.v10i0.5440

Keywords:

Hungarian, vowel harmony, variation, morphology, thematic vowels, paradigm classes, phonological indeterminacy, harmonic uniformity

Abstract

There is a significant degree of phonological indeterminacy in front/back harmony in Hungarian (HVH), which manifests itself in lexical variation and/or vacillation. Harmonic behaviour in the zone of variation strongly supports the hypothesis that harmonic classes which individual roots belong to are organized as a paradigmatic system, very similar to inflectional classes. Such lexically determined declension classes are required independently of vowel harmony to account for various other lexically conditioned alternations in Hungarian, e.g., the alternations involving linking vowels in suffixes and yod in 3rd person possessives. A further evidence for the morphologisation of HVH is a paradigm uniformity effect, Harmonic Uniformity, which reduces harmonic uncertainty by making a stem’s harmonic behaviour predictable from that of its root. Thus, HVH is determined by morphology (paradigmatic classes and paradigm uniformity) in addition to (and sometimes overriding) phonology.

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Published

2023-05-13

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Section

Supplemental Proceedings