UCL Working Papers in Linguistics 9 (1997)
Monovalency and the status of
Cases of ATR harmony are numerous and widely documented in the literature, whereas
in which RTR is harmonically active (e.g. Wolof) have received a good deal less attention. A
description based on the bivalent feature [+/-ATR] is capable of representing both harmony
but fails to encode naturally the clear difference in typological markedness separating the two.
the other hand, an Element Theory approach -- employing melodic headship as the basis of
root distinctions -- is unable to provide an adequate account of RTR harmony without
compromising privativeness. In response, I propose a tier geometry analysis (Backley 1995)
succeeds in capturing the alternation facts of both ATR and RTR harmony systems, together
the markedness characteristics of each.