Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2015

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


English, Linguistics, and Communication

First Advisor

Fallon, Paul

Second Advisor

Rigsby, Mary

Major or Concentration



Consonant Harmony (CH) is a process that commonly characterizes the phonology of a child's first language acquisition. CH is the means by which non-adjacent consonants partly assimilate to one another in the primary place of articulation of features, e.g. the word dog is pronounced as gog. This paper provides a modern interpretation of the treatment of CH under successive phonological frameworks: early generative, autosegmental, connectionist, and Optimality Theory (OT). The review highlights the inter-child, intra-child, and cross-linguistic differences between child and adult CH in order to emphasize the contrasts appearing in child language. More recent accounts propose a comprehensive analysis of CH that takes into account inter-child, intra-child and cross-linguistic variation. Optimality Theory is shown to provide the most detailed analytical framework to account for CH. The study concludes by suggesting directions for further research.

Included in

Linguistics Commons