Language Variation and Change Workshop: “Vowel Harmony Loss in West Rumelian Turkish,” December 4

Andy Dombrowski (Slavic Languages and Literature and Linguistics)

“Vowel Harmony Loss in West Rumelian Turkish”

This paper provides a quantitative analysis of the breakdown of vowel harmony in the West Rumelian Turkish dialect spoken in Ohrid, Macedonia, in which harmony no longer exists as a productive process. Disharmony and variable allomorphy are shown to characterize all levels of the lexicon to a degree that cannot be explained as the cumulative result of known sound changes and the introduction of disharmonic loanwords. The related West Rumelian Turkish dialect of Gostivar, Macedonia, which has partially lost harmony but tends to generalize invariant morphemes to an extent much greater than Ohrid Turkish, is used as a point of contrast to illustrate different paths of vowel harmony breakdown. Grammatical interference from neighboring Slavic, Albanian, and Aromanian, which lack vowel harmony, is posited as a mechanism for the loss of vowel harmony.

Time: 3:30pm, December 4. Location:  Harper 103 (116 E. 59th St.)

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