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.

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Keywords Harmony, Strict locality, Transparency, Votic
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Journal Natural Language and Linguistic Theory
Blumenfeld, L, & Toivonen, I. (2016). A featural paradox in Votic harmony. Natural Language and Linguistic Theory, 34(4), 1167–1180. doi:10.1007/s11049-016-9329-9