Spring 5-1-2015

Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Fallon, Paul

Second Advisor

Rigsby, Mary

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Major or Concentration


Department or Program

English, Linguistics, and Communication


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