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Title:ATR Harmony in Karimojong: Justification for a Stratal Optimality Theory
Authors:Diane Lesley-Neuman
Abstract:A study of ATR harmony patterns indicates that a serial derivation model best accounts for the surface forms of Karimojong verbs. Five affix types in verbal complexes in the language may undergo harmony, trigger it or remain neutral, resulting in three separate harmony domains: bidirectional root-controlled harmony, [-ATR] suffix-controlled harmony, and [+ATR] suffix-controlled harmony. ATR specification may also be determined by adjacency effects. The [-ATR] suffix-controlled process is proposed in part to emanate from the phonologization of tongue retraction required to pronounce the itive suffix [-Ar]. The continuation of consonant voicing produces a [+ATR] feature that will block even dominant [-ATR] processes. Ease of perception and a desire to conserve vowel height information are proposed to be responsible for an [ATR] dissimilation rule affecting stem-final mid and high back vowels. The presence of neutral vowels in active affixes is accounted for by a system of a headmarking and feature percolation within a hierarchical prosodic word (PW) structure that channels the ATR specification to recipient vowels. The feature specification of the dominant prosodic word node and the domains of consonant generated features explain the outcome of the intersection of harmonic domains. This system explains surface forms under two major theoretical frameworks: rule-based theory and Optimality Theory.

Three morphophonological levels that can be identified by the application or absence of ATR harmony: a first level where bidirectional root-controlled harmony and [-ATR] suffix controlled harmony apply, a second level dominated by [+ATR] suffix control, and a third level without ATR harmony processes. These levels are proposed to reflect three separate periods in the history of the language. The incorporation of a given affix is tied to its behavior under ATR harmony rules, which assigns its level of affixation.

Transitional phases of incorporation demonstrate diachronic evolution in the language. Pronominal prefixes are largely neutral, but those found in high-frequency narrative forms alternate under dominant suffix-controlled harmony processes and are indicative change in progress. Tense/Aspect/Mood (TAM) markers also show both neutral and phonologically active behaviors. Frequentive suffixes with differing behaviors provide evidence for the genesis and evolution of reduplicated derivational suffixes, a sub-process in the evolution in the agreement system, indicated by patterns of differentiation, uniformity, and loss in TAM marker paradigms.

By accounting for surface forms within multiple theoretical frameworks, combining synchronic and diachronic explanation, accommodating the AGREE constraint family to account for harmony domains within P-structure and proposing the DOMAIN C constraint family to account for the effects of consonant-generated features, this thesis makes a contribution to the proposals of universals in the field of phonology and forms part of the Amphichronic Program (Kiparsky, 2004, 2006, 2007). The extent to which the proposed constraints and constraint families constitute universals should be the subject of further research.
Type:Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords:Historical Linguistics, Phonology
Article:Version 1