Canalis, Stefano (2008) Stress, Consonants and Features in the Representastion of Vowel Harmony. [Ph.D. thesis]
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The goal of this dissertation is describing and explaining several phenomena of vowel harmony, in Italian dialects and in Turkish alike; the issues discussed include interactions between vowel harmony and consonants, the role of metrical structure and syllables in vowel harmony, the phonological features to use to account for the phenomena described, and underspecification. The phonological features adopted are also used to put forth a new representation of metaphony and of pretonic harmonies in Italian dialects .
The varieties under discussion are the dialect of Piverone (TO) (a variety of Piedmontese where vowel height in word final vowels depends the height of the stressed vowel); several varieties of central Italy, especially those spoken in Umbertide (PG), Servigliano (AP) and in Garfagnana. In such areas, in proparoxytones the post-tinic vowels are a copy of the word
final vowel. In some areas harmony occurs only if there is an intervening liquid consonant between the last and penultimate vowel. Also consonant harmony in Standard Turkish is discussed: some consonants are palatalized or velarized depending on the features of their tautosyllabic vowel, sometimes also harmonizing suffix vowels. As for metaphony, several dialects are examined. Pretonic harmonies are in Friulano and in Servigliano.
The use of privative phonological features and the possibility of head-dependent among the features of a segment offer an explanation of the asymmetric behaviour of Piveronese harmony. In proparoxytones the reason for the transparency of the penultimate vowel is attributed to the metrically weak status of that context (as reduction, sincope and dalla vowel duration show). An analogous metrical representation is adopted for post-tonic harmony in the dialects of central Italy.
Metaphony is interpreted as a vowel neutralization, still thanks to the use of privative features.
Turkish consonant harmony is explained assuming the syllable as its domain; consonants which apparently trigger harmony in suffixes are assigned to a syllable with an empty nucleus, (motivated by epenthesis and vowel shortening), which determines the feature of the consonant.
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