Examination of syllable structure in the Hmongic language, Hmu, leads us to posit two rules with the following properties: (1) vowel assimilation to a following consonant, (2) vowel assimilation to a preceding consonant and (3) assimilation with respect to the feature [high] . In general, our analysis leads us to conclude that the SPE feature [high] is useful for describing the functions of both vowels and consonants in the process of Hmu diphthongization. There are, however, several unanswered questions about [high], especially in its interaction with [round] and [back].
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