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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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2 The sounds of Fròʔò

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2.1 Introduction

This chapter surveys the segments of Fròʔò, shedding light on the natural phonological classes and motivating the distinctive features necessary for the classification of the phonemes and allophones of this language. In Section 2.2 the consonants and the vowels of Fròʔò are introduced. Section 2.3 is a survey of the distinctive features used to make the necessary distinctions, and Section 2.4 proposes a feature-geometric analysis of the segments and their distinctive features. Section 2.5 sheds light on the main allophonic relationships. Finally, Section 2.6 briefly introduces the lexical tones of Fròʔò.

Fig. 1 shows the speech organs and the places of articulation that constitute the speech apparatus. The organs responsible for sound production can be classified in active and passive articulators. There are six active articulators: lips (labia), tongue blade (corona), tongue body (dorsum), tongue root, soft palate, and larynx (with the vocal cords). These articulators are located in the oral cavity, the nasal cavity, the pharyngeal cavity, or the larynx. The active articulators move towards the so-called passive organs, which remain in the same position during sound production. The ‘passive articulators’ are the teeth, the alveolar ridge, the hard palate, the soft palate (velum), the uvula, and the pharynx. All articulators, except for the pharynx, are used in Fròʔò.



Fig. 1: Speech organs (from: Rabiner, L. and Juang, B.H. (1993). Fundamentals of Speech Recognition. Prentice Hall.)

2.2 Phonemes of Fròʔò

Fròʔò distinguishes 22...

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