a1 University of Iowa
According to Hooper (1976: 5), the theory of natural generative phonology places the strongest possible constraints on abstractness in phonological descriptions. She claims that ‘the major advantage of natural generative theory over previous theories is that it gives a realistic representation of linguistic competence by constraining the theory to allow only a small subset of the grammars allowed by the unconstrained theory’ (xi). She claims further that the subset of grammars which are consistent with the constraints of natural generative phonology (NGP) accurately represent a speaker's knowledge of his language. This paper considers how vowel harmony rules in languages such as Turkish and Hungarian would be formulated in NGP. It is argued that the analyses required by NGP for these and similar vowel harmony languages do not represent the internalized knowledge of speakers of these languages and, therefore, that such vowel harmony systems provide strong evidence against NGP.
(Received March 12 1979)
 I have benefited from discussions of the issues raised in this paper with L. Barratt, D. Finer, G. Iverson, M. Pino, M. Reider, and W. Wood. I am also grateful to J. Hooper and B. Rudes for their very helpful, if not sympathetic, comments on an earlier draft. This work was supported, in part, by a summer Developmental Grant from the University of Iowa. A short version of this paper was presented at the IXth International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Copenhagen, August, 1979, under the title ‘Vowel harmony in natural generative phonology’.