Volume 11, Issue 6 (2021)                   LRR 2021, 11(6): 351-381 | Back to browse issues page

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ahmadkhani M, vasegh E. A Study of Vowel and Vowel-consonant Harmony in Persian in the Framework of Optimality Theory. LRR 2021; 11 (6) :351-381
URL: http://lrr.modares.ac.ir/article-14-22216-en.html
1- Associate Prof. of Department of Linguistics, Payame Noor University, Tehran, Iran , ahmadkhani@pnu.ac.ir
2- PhD. Candidate in Linguistics, Payame Noor University
Abstract:   (2303 Views)
Vowel harmony like assimilation is a very common process which is seen in most languages of the world. This process is studied by most phonological theories such as generative phonology, auto segmental phonology and optimality theory and is considered as a criterion for evaluating the adequacy of these phonological theories to account. This article deals with the vowel and vowel consonant harmony in Persian. Vowel harmony and vowel consonant harmony studies the features such as height, front/backless, roundness, and advanced tongue root and retracted tongue root. The research method of this article is content analysis and the data are collected by purposive sampling. Theoretical framework of this research is Optimality Theory. In Persian languages features of vowels such as frontness/backness, height and roundness involved in vowel and vowel consonant harmony are studied. Also some features of consonants such as anteriority or posteriority or their place of articulation changed in harmonies are studied.  In this article some faithfulness and marked constraints for accounting vowel and vowel- consonant harmony in Persian such as license, agreement and identity are introduced. Finally it was shown that strong positions in Persian account harmony in this language
1. Introduction
In some languages there are specific constraints ruling on vowel features which appear in special linguistic area which is called harmony, thereby vowels in intended areas harmonize in some feature. (Roca &Johnson,2005:149). In other words, vowel harmony is a kind of assimilation in which vowels in a specific phonological, morphological or syntactic assimilate in one or some features. The aim of this research is describing types of vowel harmony and vowel consonant harmony in the framework of optimality in Persian. The main question of this research is that whether there is vowel or vowel consonant harmony in Persian and if so, what features are involved in it? The research method of this article is content analysis and the framework is optimality theory. Data of this research are 705 words collected by counting all cases from the Moin 6 volumes dictionary. The data for optimality theory analysis are collected by purpose. Data analysis shows that in front vowels by reducing the height the frequency of vowel harmony among vowels increases. Also, in back vowels the most frequent harmony belongs to /a/ and frequency of vowel harmony among two other vowels, /o/ and /u/ are the same. In back vowels by reducing the height frequency of vowel harmony increases. In Persian and specially in colloquial variety vowel harmony is seen in simple and two part morphemes. Followings are main types of harmony in Persian: a: simple harmony in one feature. In this harmony only one feature is involved. Back harmony: [ʔerteʔɑš] →[ʔertɑʔɑš].  Height harmony: sebi´l      →     sibi´l. Roundness harmony:      be+xor  →     bo´xor. b. harmony in multiple features. In this type some vowel fetures are involved. In   be+gu  →   bu´gu   /e/ alternates with /u/./e/ because of heightness and backness of /u/ become [ +high,+back].In epenthesis vowel harmony in Bushehri dialect definite suffix has three alternations: /-oku/, /-eku/ and /-ku/, from which the first two end in consonant and the last one end in vowel. (Ahmadzade Borazjani,2010). In vowel consonant harmony features of vowel harmonize with consonant: in bi-ya alternation of /i/ and /e/   is because of harmony between height and since /y/ has the feature [-back,+high], /e/ becomes high and changes to /i/.
Tableau 1. constraints of /bæha’r /
Input: /bæhar´/ AGREE(back) Lic(back)-σæ IDENT- IO(back)
a. bæhar´ *!    
a. bæhar´     *
c.bæhær´   *! *
Tableau 1 represents constraints, candidate a doesn't violates license constraint and the reason is that /a/ has stress. This candidate violates Agree constraint because of difference of the vowels. Also, this candidate because of the lack of changing the vowels from input to output violates the identity constraint. Candidate b observes the license constraint because of the stress of the second vowel. Also, this candidate observes the Agree constraint because of sameness of vowels. However, the third constraint because of the difference in input and output in the first vowel is violated. Candidate c violates the license constraint because of the lack of stress in back vowels. Also, this candidate violates the identity because of the difference of the vowel in input and output. Agree constraint because of the identity of the vowels is not violated. So, the candidate b is optimal.
Tableau2. Constraints of /keli´d/
Input: /keli´d/ AGREE(high) Lic(high)-σæ IDENT- IO(high)
a.keleʹd   *! *
b.Ckili´d     *
c.kileʹd * *! **
In tableau 2 candidate a violates a because of lack of height of stressed vowel. This candidate observes Agree constraint because of identity of vowels. Also, this candidate violates identity constrain because of changing the second vowel. Candidate b violates identity constraint because of the lack of height stressed vowel. Candidate c violates license constraint because of the lack of height of stressed vowel. Also, this candidate violates the Agree constraint because of the difference in vowels. Identity constraint is violated twice because of the difference in vowels in input and output. So, constraint b is optimal.
Tableau3. Constraints of /be-xor/
Input: /be-xor/ AGREE(back) Lic (+round)- σ´ IDENT(round)
a. be-xor *    
b. Cbo-xor     *
 In tableau 3 candidate a violates Agree constraint in backness. Candidate b violates only roundedness constraint which is in lower rank. So, candidate b is optimal.
In Persian there are three types of vowel harmony including harmony in height, harmony in back vowels and harmony in roundedness. Harmony of height of vowels applies on middle vowels and this causes to raising and become a high vowel. The goal of vowel harmony of backness or height of vowels in Persian is reducing the resetting articulatory organs and this is the result of faithfulness of strong position. It seems that in Persian in simple word stress is phonological element which causes harmony. In these words, feature spreading from strong position, stress position to weak phonological position, stress less position. However, in complex words root acts as strong position.
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Article Type: مقالات علمی پژوهشی | Subject: Phonology and avatology
Published: 2021/01/29

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