Show Less
Restricted access

Lexico-Phonological Comparative Analysis of Selected Dialects of the Meru-Tharaka Group


Fridah Kanana Erastus

This study is an investigation into the comparative phonology and lexicon of six barely-known Bantu varieties spoken in Kenya. These varieties (Imenti, Igoji, Tharaka, Mwimbi, Muthambi and Chuka) belong to the so-called Meru group. The study develops a new classification of these six dialects. Therefore, a dialectological approach is used, which includes the analysis of wordlists and lists of short phrases elicited in the field. From the data, isoglosses and similarities concerning morpho-phonological processes are drawn. The results show in which respects the dialects differ from each other. Thus, the present work contributes to comparative Bantu linguistics.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

Chapter 4: Description of Dialects


Chapter 4: Description of Dialects


The discussion in this chapter will be limited to the description of the dialects. However, in a few instances, necessary examples will be drawn from other dialects to explain certain linguistic differences. Moreover, there are dialects that have sub-dialects (also called lects) and in such cases it becomes necessary to note some of the features that characterise the sub-dialects.

A systematic description of the morpho-phonological processes in each dialect will enable us to attempt a more scientific differentiation of the dialects. Generally dialect clusters share certain morpho-phonological processes that are unique to them as a cluster and distinguish between themselves by the presence or absence of certain phonological or morphological features.

A general observation can be made about the dialects; phonologically they are very closely related. All the dialects except Chuka have a similar consonant and vowel system. Chuka varies slightly in the consonant system; this group does not have a palatal fricative /ʝ/ and a voiceless bilabial stop /p/. However, the vowel system is identical with the one of the other dialect clusters. All the dialects have a seven vowel system which includes long and short vowels. There are phonemic and phonetic long vowels. The phonemic long vowels occur stem-medially or -finally and phonetic long vowels mostly occur stem-initially. Phonetic long vowels are conditioned, among others, by the morphological characteristics of the word, such as morpheme or syllable boundaries. In addition, the morpho-phonological processes...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.