Harmony as a cue for the transition from fusion to agglutination

Vassilios Spyropoulos, Anthi Revithiadou, Giorgos Markopoulos


We examine a vowel assimilation process attested in a group of Asia Minor Greek dialects which superficially looks like vowel harmony. We propose, however, that vowel assimilation is actually a feature spreading process actualizing a reanalysis in the nominal inflection, which was facilitated by the language contact with Turkish. More specifically, it signals a ‘new’ stem formation, in which the theme vowel of the ending or the whole ending loses its status as a constituent and incorporates into the stem. Vowel assimilation is not attested in agglutinative inflection because in this case the ‘new’ status of the theme vowel or of the old ending as part of the stem is morphologically transparent.


actualization, Asia Minor Greek, feature-spreading, (morphological) reanalysis, vowel harmony

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