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Linguistic Inquiry

Winter 2018, Vol. 49, No. 1, Pages 1-22
(doi: 10.1162/LING_a_00264)
© 2018 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Directionality in Nkore-Kiga Sibilant Harmony: Arbitrary or Emergent?
Article PDF (855.39 KB)
Sibilant harmony in Nkore-Kiga is an interesting problem case for agreement-based theories of harmony, particularly Agreement by Correspondence. Previous work reports that anteriority agreement is controlled by the rightmost sibilant in the stem, and also that the quality of a sibilant is allophonically determined by the following vowel. In such a system, it is impossible for surface-oriented agreement constraints to derive strictly right-to-left harmony. However, we show that Nkore-Kiga does not work in quite this way: sibilants are conditioned not allophonically, but by morphology. This allows the facts of this case to be explained within existing Agreement by Correspondence proposals.