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The morphology and phonology of the nominal domain in Tagbana


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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5 Agreeing/concording morphemes and alliterative concord


5.1 Introduction

In this chapter, the dependent morphemes are introduced that are in a concord relation with their nominal head. As was already mentioned in Chapter 4, it is the concord system that defines the nominal classes. The Fròʔò concord system is defined here on the basis of the concord that nouns trigger on other elements associated to the nominal domain, the dependent or ‘associated words’, as Hockett (1958) proposed. See Corbett’s definition of concord in (1).

(1) Class concord Corbett’s (1991:4–5)

A nominal expression that is in a relationship of syntactic dependence with the noun carries the class mark of the noun: determiner, adjective, interrogative, pronoun etc.

Concord is a relation between two elements: a controller, here always a noun (root + CM), and a target (or agreeing element) which can be an adjective, a pronoun, etc. These dependent morphemes receive their class by virtue of the concord relation they entertain with their nominal head. The nature of this relation is often described in morphological terms only. However, it is shown in this chapter that the nominal concord in Fròʔò has, besides a morphosyntactic component, also a phonological component (phonological agreement).

In the following pages, it is shown in some detail how the morphemes listed in Tab. 1 participate to concord: All nouns of a class share a number of articulatory features that are implemented on all dependent morphemes. These features are realized on the...

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