Is there a way to write the following phonology rule using features?

The /u/ becomes [ɯ] word-finally when preceded with an unrounded vowel with 1 or more intervening consonants. .

  • Write it in regular expressions and add the features as alternations. At least you can debug the rules that way.
    – jlawler
    Feb 23, 2020 at 0:18

1 Answer 1


The standard statement of that rule would be:

[+syllabic,+hi,+round] → [–syllabic]/ [+syllabic,–round] [-syllabic]₁__ #

There are other imaginable expressions that have the same effect, depending on (1) what other vowels there are in the language and (2) what you mean by "consonant". Also, this is in SPE theory, whereas when you get into autosegmental rule statements, there is no standard.

Or, if you want the result to be a back unrounded vowel [ɯ], modify the above to

...→ [–round]...

You could also state the rule as

[+syllabic,+hi,+round] → [αround]/ [+syllabic,αround] [-syllabic]₁__ #

which achieves the same thing, insofar as it does not change anything after a [+round] vowel.

  • @user28035 You need to gain some reputation; once you have a bit you'll be able to upvote and downvote!
    – Draconis
    Feb 23, 2020 at 1:26

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