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in natlangs, it's based on some feature - frontness, usually, rarely  
height, occasionally roundedness, somewhat rarely nasality, though  
that one has some more complex features.
kit

On Nov 21, 2005, at 1:18 PM, [log in to unmask] wrote:

> Watch my gmail reply-to.
>
> Is vowel harmony always based on different shapes of vowels (e.g.
> front/back vowels), or is it sometimes arbitrary?