Volume 12, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2211-6834
  • E-ISSN: 2211-6842
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The reduction of vowels is a popular topic for research, but little has been said about the effects of vowel harmony on vowel reduction. Gendrot and Adda-Decker (2006, 2007) claim that phonetic reduction is linked to the phonetic duration of the vowel so that in short syllables, the vowel converges towards a schwa-like quality. I support this claim in general, but I add the claim that reduction is blocked in vowel harmony domains. Within a harmony domain, even in vowels of short duration, the quality of the vowel retains the quality of the feature which is spreading. This paper demonstrates this with data from Kera, a Chadic language spoken in Chad. I examine fronting, rounding, and height harmony in Kera and confirm the fact that harmony (but not accidental agreement) in some way blocks the reduction. This has implications for the role of harmony and claims concerning privative features. Keywords: phonology; reduction; Kera; vowel harmony; acoustic; formants; duration; blocking; privative


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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