Evidence for prosodic correspondence in the vowel alternations of Tgdaya Seediq


  • Jennifer Kuo University of California, Los Angeles




vowel alternations, vowels, statistical learning, Seediq, prosodic correspondence


This paper brings new evidence for PROSODIC CORRESPONDENCE, where prosodic units (e.g. main-stressed nuclei and prominent syllables) of morphologically related forms are compared. Since prosodic correspondence was formalized in Crosswhite’s (1998) analysis of Chamorro, it has received almost no empirical discussion. I argue that Tgdaya Seediq (Austronesian, Atayalic) has vowel alternations that should be analyzed using prosodic correspondence. In Seediq, unsuffixed and suffixed forms tend to share the same stressed syllable nucleus. This VOWEL MATCHING pattern cannot be explained as surface harmony, but it can be explained as the result of a constraint enforcing vowel identity of main-stressed nuclei in morphologically related forms. Unlike the categorical alternations analyzed by Crosswhite (1998), Seediq vowel matching is gradient and only emerges on a statistical level. Nevertheless, prosodic correspondence appears to be active in the synchronic grammar of Seediq; in a production experiment, speakers applied vowel matching to novel forms and even over-generalized it to environments not predicted by lexical statistics. Vowel matching is modeled in Maximum Entropy Harmonic Grammar (Goldwater & Johnson 2003), a stochastic variant of OT. I use prosodic correspondence to enforce vowel matching, and Zuraw’s (2000, 2010) dual listing approach to capture the discrepancy between lexical and experimental results.

Stressed vowel frequencies of stem and affixed forms




How to Cite

Kuo, Jennifer. 2023. “Evidence for Prosodic Correspondence in the Vowel Alternations of Tgdaya Seediq”. Phonological Data and Analysis 5 (3):1–31. https://doi.org/10.3765/pda.v5art3.77.