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Vowel Contrast and Vowel Harmony Shift in the Mongolic Languages

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Authors
Ko, Seongyeon
Issue Date
2011
Publisher
서울대학교 언어교육원
Citation
어학연구, Vol.47 No.1, pp. 23-43
Keywords
Mongolic languagesvowel shiftvowel harmonycontrastive hierarchyAltaic
Abstract
This paper explores the synchrony and diachrony of the Mongolic vowel systems within the framework of contrastive hierarchy theory (Dresher 2009). First it establishes contrastive hierarchies for modern Mongolic varieties, based on which it attempts to reconstruct an RTR-based vowel system for Old Mongolian. Then it proposes a vowel shift hypothesis which claims that the basis of vowel harmony has shifted from an RTR contrast in Old Mongolian to a palatal contrast in the modern Kalmyk/ Oirat variety (contra Svantesson 1985). It is shown that this shift not only conforms to all the basic criteria of the comparative methods in historical
linguistics, but also corresponds to typological expectations from an Altaic perspective. The result supports the idea that RTR was the original harmonic contrast in Altaic (Vaux 2009).
ISSN
0254-4474
Language
English
URI
https://hdl.handle.net/10371/86463
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Language Education Institute (언어교육원)Language Research (어학연구)Language Research (어학연구) Volume 47 Number 1/2 (2011)
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