Verifying Vowel Harmony Typologies

Sara Finley
2010 Special Interest Group on Computational Morphology and Phonology Workshop  
This paper applies finite state technologies to verify the typological validity of Turbid Spreading, a theory of vowel harmony in Optimality Theory (OT) (Prince & Smolensky, 1993/2004). Previous analyses of vowel harmony in OT have been prone to typological inconsistencies, predicting grammars that do not occur in natural language (Wilson, 2003) . However, attempts to eliminate typological pathologies relying on hand-made inputs and candidate sets have been shown to be highly prone to error
more » ... son, 2005) . Using a modified version of the Contenders Algorithm (Riggle, 2004b), we verify that Turbid Spreading makes typologically valid predictions about the types of harmony processes that may appear in natural language. This modification of the Contenders Algorithm to include complex spreading interactions and intermediate representations demonstrates the utility of computational methods for verifying the typological predictions of complex phonological theories.
dblp:conf/sigmorphon/Finley10 fatcat:6xrxwykamrg4rmxbcipnvzzaj4