Progressive Vowel Harmony in Gomoa


  • Kwasi Adomako University of Education, Winneba/ University of Ghana, Legon
  • John Odoom University of Education, Winneba


Progressive vowel harmony, ATR vowels, Akan, Autosegmental Phonology, Regressive harmony


Previous studies on Akan ATR vowel harmony, including Berry (1957), Stewart (1967), Schachter & Fromkin (1968), Dolphyne (1988) have centered on the concepts of regressive (anticipatory) directionality. Very little empirical evidence have been provided for the existence and robustness of progressive ATR vowel harmony in Akan. This paper, therefore, discusses progressive ATR vowel harmony in Gomoa, a sub-dialect of Fante, one of the major dialects of Akan (Kwa, Niger-Congo). In the previous studies of the Akan vowel harmony phenomenon, it has been established that the [+ATR] in the stem/root word moves leftward to harmonize with the [-ATR] vowel either within a morpheme or across morpheme boundary [VH= (-ATR)prefix + (+ATR]stem = [(+ATR, +ATR)] and cannot spreads to harmonize with the    [-ATR] suffix morpheme [VH= (-ATR)prefix + (+ATR]stem + (-ATR)suffix= [(+ATR +ATR-ATR)]. In the present study, we demonstrate that the [+ATR] in the stem/root word triggers rightward to harmonize with the [-ATR] vowel in the suffix or a following vowel in the same domain [VH=  (-ATR)prefix + (+ATR]stem + (-ATR)suffix= [(+ATR, +ATR, +ATR)]. Gomoa extensively displays progressive vowel harmony in stem words, verb suffixes, and nominal suffixes. We discuss this phenomenon within the framework of Autosegmental phonology (Goldsmith, 1976) after to show the evidence for the rightward direction of spreading.

Author Biography

Kwasi Adomako, University of Education, Winneba/ University of Ghana, Legon

Department of Akan-Nzema Education



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Progressive Vowel Harmony in Gomoa




How to Cite

Adomako, K., & Odoom, J. (2021). Progressive Vowel Harmony in Gomoa. Ghana Journal of Linguistics, 10(2), 58–83. Retrieved from