--- In [log in to unmask], Kit La Touche <kit@S...> wrote:
> 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, veritosproject@g... 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?

Don't forget ATR (advanced tongue root) vs. lack of same.

Close vs. Open, Front vs. Back, Round vs. Unround, ATR vs. notATR, 
Nasal vs. notNasal, are essentially all the features there are to 
vowels; the Close vs. Open usually has at least three, frequently at 
least four, and sometimes more than four values; Front vs. Back 
frequently has at least three, and sometimes has more than three 
values; and Round vs. Unround sometimes has more than two values in 
conlangs, although I am not personally aware of any natlang in which it 
has more than two values.  I am not aware of any natlangs or conlangs 
in which ATR vs. nonATR can have more than two values; and I don't 
think anyone has even proposed that Nasal vs. notNasal can be given a 
third value.

Some nat.languages harmonize two features rather than just one. 
E.g. front/back & round/unround, or close/open & round/unround, or even 
front/back & close/open.
 I can't imagine harmonizing three, since that would essentially leave 
little variety left to the vowel.

Also some nat.languages have _dis_similation of the vowels at 
particular boundaries within the word.


There is such a thing as "consonant harmony" for some natlangs.  It 
isn't as common a thing as vowel-harmony.  There are obviously a lot 
more features to consonants than there are to vowels.

"place of articulation" harmony would be harmonizing a whole bunch of 
features.  "manner of articulation" harmony would also be harmonizing a 
whole bunch of features, disjoint from the "place" ones.  "Voiced vs. 
mute" harmony would be harmonizing just one feature.

Typically just some kinds of consonants would get harmonized; for 
instance, it might be that 
1. either all fricatives in a word must be voiced or all fricatives in 
the word must be mute;
2. either all stops/plosives in a word must be aspirated, or all 
stops/plosives in the word must be affricates, or all stops/plosives in 
the word must be unaspirated and not affricates.

Or something like that.

"consonant harmony" if it occurs is likely to apply just to syllable 
onsets or just to codas; or, even, just to onsets of stressed syllables 
or just to codas of stressed syllables.

Sorry I don't have any references for any of the above.  "I think I 
read it somewhere" is the best I can do on short notice -- I usually 
Google around for a day or two and eventually find what I'm looking for.

If any of the above is wrong, would someone correct it?  Examples and 
references would be nice.

Tom H.C. MI