Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 34, Issue 4, pp 1167–1180

A featural paradox in Votic harmony


DOI: 10.1007/s11049-016-9329-9

Cite this article as:
Blumenfeld, L. & Toivonen, I. Nat Lang Linguist Theory (2016) 34: 1167. doi:10.1007/s11049-016-9329-9


In this paper we present a novel argument against strict locality in vowel harmony: a vowel’s feature may have a double identity, active in one process and neutral in another. Such is the behavior of [back] in Votic [i]. It is invisible to harmony, while simultaneously triggering an assimilation process. We argue that no feature-sharing account of this phenomenon is plausible, including the relatively powerful extension of Span Theory that permits vowels in a harmonic span to remain unassociated (and unharmonized) with the span’s head. We offer instead an account based on the Agreement-By-Correspondence approach to long-distance assimilation.


Harmony Transparency Strict locality Votic 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada

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