Vowel Harmony Viewed as Error-Correcting Code

Yvo Meeres, Tommi A. Pirinen
Robustness reduces the risk of information loss. At present the notion of error-correcting codes (ECCs) is used to achieve robustness in technical fields only. Viewing fault-tolerant natural systems as systems equipped with error-correcting codes permits a formal comparison of natural and technical robustness. Instancing natural language (NL), we show differences in technical and natural errorcorrecting approaches. By picking a specific grammar phenomenon which some NLs exhibit -vowel harmony
more » ... H) -we show that (1) VH can be formalized as an ECC as well as (2) VH adds to the robustness of its NL. We provide empirical as well as formal evidence on this fact. (3) Consequently, the example of VH shows that the notion of an ECC serves as a suitable formal model not only for technical but also for natural robustness.
doi:10.7275/bjvb-2n37 fatcat:vobzmtcmczhyvelpdzdcy565xa