Initial prominence and progressive vowel harmony in Tutrugbu


  • Adam G. McCollum Rutgers University
  • James Essegbey University of Florida



vowel harmony, directionality, prominence, typology, Kwa


One of the key elements of constraint-based formalisms is their ability to derive a variety of effects from the interaction of general constraints. As for vowel harmony, one persistent question within Optimality Theory is how to encode directionality – directly through directional harmony-driving constraints, or indirectly through asymmetric prominence patterns. This paper presents a typologically unusual case of progressive harmony triggered by prefixes in Tutrugbu. We compare analyzing harmony as purely progressive in a direct sense with an indirect analysis that motivates harmony from initial-syllable prominence. Based on both language-internal and typological evidence, we argue that the prominence-based analysis is superior. We generalize to suggest that progressive harmony should always be reducible to independent factors, and as a result, formalized indirectly through prominence.




How to Cite

McCollum, Adam G., and James Essegbey. 2020. “Initial Prominence and Progressive Vowel Harmony in Tutrugbu”. Phonological Data and Analysis 2 (3):1–37.