University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


Turkic languages are well known for syllable contact phenomena – sonority-driven processes where suffix-initial sonorants surface as obstruents in certain environments. These alternations interact with nasal harmony, a less studied phenomenon where underlying stops and nasals surface as nasals between two nasals. Nasal harmony is attested in about ten Turkic languages (Shor, various Khakas varieties, northern and southern Altay varieties, Kazakh, Qaraqalpaq, Noghay, possibly Karachay-Balkar, and Kazan and Siberian Tatar varieties), and it varies in its scope and how it interacts with syllable contact phenomena. In this paper, we provide a detailed description of nasal harmony in Kazakh, which has one of the richest nasal harmony systems, and explore an analysis within Surface Correspondence Theory.



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