The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 10/16 - Miklós Törkenczy (Eötvös Loránd University)

Speaker: Miklós Törkenczy (Eötvös Loránd University)

Title: Hungarian vowel harmony: beyond the standard data set.

Time: Wednesday, October 16th, 5pm – 6:30pm

Location: 32-D831


Vowel harmony (especially backness harmony) is clearly the best known and most analysed aspect of Hungarian phonology. Nevertheless, even current analyses often rely on a data set that only affords a simplified view and is sometimes misleading. In the talk I will focus on variation and vowel neutrality in backness harmony and discuss phenomena that fall outside the “standard” data set typically used. I will concentrate primarily on the relationship between morphology and harmony and will show that morphology interacts with backness harmony in a way that is far richer than the usual canonical view according to which morphological complexity does not matter within the domain of harmony. If time permits I also want to briefly discuss the results of some experiments we did that extend and partially question experimental results on variation in Hungarian harmony recently published in the literature by Hayes et. al 2006, 2009. Throughout the talk my intention is to highlight problems that any analysis has to tackle in order to give a realistic account of Hungarian backness harmony.