Edited by Juan-Andrés Villena-Ponsoda, Francisco Díaz Montesinos, Antonio Manuel Ávila-Muñoz and Matilde Vida-Castro
[Studies in Language Variation 22] 2019
► pp. 133–144
In this study we test the claim that Vowel Harmony (VH) is universally motivated in child speech and facilitates phonological development in non-harmonic languages (Cohen 2012). We analyse a corpus of Greek L1 developmental data from two children raised in a dialectal environment on the island of Crete and exposed to Standard and dialectal Greek, two varieties with a non-harmonic grammar. The data support the claim that not only does VH seem to be universal in nature but it may also affect the order of vowel acquisition. VH is phonologically conditioned in Greek dialectal child speech and determined by prosodic and positional prominence effects, i.e. stress, directionality and sonority. These effects are evident in the distinct developmental paths adopted by different children (inter-language) or in the speech of one child (intra-language).