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The morphology and phonology of the nominal domain in Tagbana

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Yranahan Traoré

The book investigates the morphology and phonology of the nominal domain in Tagbana of the Senufo group of Côte d’Ivoire. The nominal domain is the locus of a phenomenon called ‘alliterative concord’, a special kind of concord expressed by consonantal alliteration. All dependent morphemes of a head noun share articulatory features, which are realized on the onset of the first syllable of each morpheme. In this way, the articulatory features signal the class of the dependent morphemes. This volume also discusses the segment inventory and the syllable structure and describes the complex noun operations in the nominal domain. Distributed Morphology and Optimal Theory form the theoretical background of the empirical facts.

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In this book, I investigate the morphology and phonology of the nominal domain in Fròʔò (Tagbana), a Senufo language of Côte d’Ivoire, which has not yet been studied in detail; see Clamens (1957) and Miehe (2012) for Tagbana. The nominal domain is the locus of a phenomenon called ‘alliterative concord’, a special kind of concord expressed by consonantal alliteration. All dependent morphemes of a head noun share articulatory features, which are realized on the onset of the first syllable. They are abstract features signalling the class of the dependent morphemes.

The first aspect elaborated on, after introducing the language in Chapter 1, is the inventory of segments in the language. The theoretical framework in the sound description is the feature geometry as proposed by Kenstowicz (1994). Feature geometry is a phonological theory which represents distinctive features as a structured hierarchy rather than a matrix or a set, and it encodes groups of features under nodes in a tree. See McCarthy (1988) and Clements (1985). A feature geometric representation of the features accounts for natural classes, and it makes predictions about possible assimilation processes in the language.

Another aspect illustrated in Chapter 3 is syllable structure. Fròʔò has three underlying syllable structures: C(C)V, C(C)V: or V, where there is no underlying coda; but, C(C)VC syllables arise through final vowel deletion and liquid metathesis. The onset can be complex, although it is limited to two positions which are restricted...

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