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Nez Perce Vowels and Proto-Sahaptian Vowel Harmony
Bruce Rigsby and Michael Silverstein
Vol. 45, No. 1 (Mar., 1969), pp. 45-59
Published by: Linguistic Society of America
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/411752
Page Count: 15
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Vowel harmony in Sahaptian languages is an automatic assimilation of phonemes of a 'recessive' set to those of a 'dominant' one in the same sequence. It is describable with phonetic features of phonological segments, as opposed to class markings on whole morphemes. In fact, in the Sahaptin dialects, explaining palatalization of front velars requires setting up a preceding phonetic rule of vowel harmony, and different late rules of vowel merging. Historically, we can view the vowel harmony as a phonetic process arising in the dialects by parallel (but not identical) restructuring from a Proto-Sahaptian system of morphological ablaut.
Language © 1969 Linguistic Society of America