5
VOWEL HARMONY

Vowel harmony systems occur in a wide range of Armenian dialects, from Marash in Turkey to Maragha in Iran to Shamaxi in Azerbaijan. These harmonic systems constrain specifications for the feature [back] (and occasionally [round] as well) within two phonological domains: roots and words. A third, local, type of harmony applies to epenthetic vowels. The dialects in (1a) show root harmony, according to which roots can possess no more than one contrastive specification for [back]. This harmony type is examined in 5.2. In group (1b), the same restriction on contrastive [back] specifications applies to the entire word; this harmony type is discussed in 5.3. Epenthetic harmony, which always involves both [back] and [round], occurs in the dialects in (1c). This type of harmony, which differs from the other harmony types in being strictly local, is considered separately in 5.4.

(1) Harmony domains
a. Root
Karabagh
Marash
b. Word
Agulis
Aresh
Karchevan
Maragha
Meghri
Shamaxi
Tigranakert
Xoy
c. Epenthetic
Marash
Karchevan
Shamaxi
Maragha

All dialects with epenthetic or word harmony also have root harmony; for example, there are no cases where affixes harmonize to the nearest root vowel but the roots themselves do not obey harmony. However, dialects can have root harmony without word or epenthetic harmony; for example, Marash has root and epenthetic harmony, but affixes do not harmonize.

-151-

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The Phonology of Armenian
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Contents ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Survey of Armenian Phonology 7
  • 2 - Theoretical Background 35
  • 3 - Syllabification 61
  • 4 - Stress Assignment and Metrical Structure 132
  • 5 - Vowel Harmony 151
  • 6 - Consonant-Vowel Interactions 174
  • 7 - Laryngeal Features and Consonant Shifts 211
  • 8 - Prosodic Phenomena 242
  • References 264
  • Index 273
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