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A Theoretical Analysis of Feature Classes on Vowel Harmony and Cooccurrence Restrictions in Mongolian
The main topic in this project aims to provide an analysis of Feature Classes Theory (Padgett 1995, 2002, 2008 etc.)on vowel harmony and consonant-cluster co-occurrence restrictions in Mongolian, and these phenomena would be analyzed in the framework of the Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993/2007, Kager 1999 etc.) to show the phonological processes. In Mongolian the vowels in a prosodic word would be identical in the features such as [back] and [round]. The high vowels of the stems and the suffixes must be all front/back and round. However the nonhigh vowels need not do that. In the Feature Classes theory, [back] and [round] are supposed to be in the [Color] class. Some of them would be allowed to disobey the rules or the constraints. Moreover, there would be one vowel inserting between consonants to break the ungrammatical consonant clusters, such as the sequence of stops. The vowel epenthesis is the remedial strategy as for the consonant-cluster co-occurrence restrictions. Nevertheless, if one of the sequence of stops is pharyngeal, the sequence is allowed, and the epenthesis would not happen. In the framework of Optimality Theory, there would violations if all vowels in a prosodic word do not link to some features. Some combinations of consonants would be violate the high-ranked constraints. Finally, the candidate with the minimal violations is the optimal candidate. Here it is proposed that the analyses from the Feature Class theory and in the Optimality theory would show the processes of vowel harmony and phonological cooccurrence restrictions.
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