Vol 27 No 3 (2018): Nordic Journal of African Studies
Articles Linguistics

Proto-Berber Mid Vowel Harmony

Marijn van Putten
Leiden University, Netherlands
Nordic Journal of African Studies
Published March 10, 2019
  • Berber,
  • Proto-Berber,
  • Historical Linguistics,
  • Vowel Harmony,
  • Historical Phonology


The Berber nominal prefix allomorphs a-/ta- and e-/te- have been shown to be phonetically conditioned (Van Putten 2016). This paper will examine other cases of the Berber vowel e where it shows interchange with the vowel a, and will try to show that these alternations must also be seen as phonetically conditioned allophones of each other, through a process of what will be called Mid Vowel Harmony. The majority of attested cases of the vowel e in Berber can be understood as the result of this shift of *a to e. Some cases of a reconstructible *e remain, which cannot be explained as the result of Mid Vowel Harmony.