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  • Author or Editor: Juha Janhunen x
  • Historical and Comparative Linguistics & Linguistic Typology x
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In: Copies versus Cognates in Bound Morphology
The International Journal of Eurasian Linguistics (JEAL) aims at providing a professional forum for original contributions on the modern and ancient languages of Eurasia, with a focus on Central Eurasia, a region also known as Inner Asia, extending from Anatolia and eastern Europe in the west to northern China, Mongolia, Manchuria, Korea, and Japan in the east, and from the Iranian Plateau and Tibet in the south to Siberia and the Arctic Ocean in the north. The journal contains articles, reports, and book reviews. Preference is given to papers dealing with the languages of the region in a broad comparative panchronic scope, and with a philological, areal, or typological approach.

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In: International Journal of Eurasian Linguistics

Abstract

The paper discusses the controversy that has arisen concerning the origin and nature of vowel harmony in Mongolian, as well as in a number of other Eurasian languages. In contrast to the conventional understanding according to which Proto-Mongolic had a palatal-velar harmony of the same type as is attested in the Turkic and Uralic languages, it has been claimed recently that the harmony was actually of the tongue root type, involving, in particular, tongue root retraction in the pronunciation of certain vowels. However, while tongue root harmony is indeed prevalent in many modern Mongolic languages, including standard Mongolian, there are several arguments that can be made in support of the conventional reconstruction. There are serious reasons to assume that Mongolic has undergone a process of vowel rotation, which has turned the originally palatal-velar harmony to tongue root harmony. In this process the originally horizontally organized harmonic pairs have become verticalized. A typical result of the verticalization has been the rapid reduction of the original vowel paradigm as well as the development of new palatal vowels to complement the losses.

In: International Journal of Eurasian Linguistics