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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.
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Chapter 8: Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation


Chapter 8: Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

8.1 Summary and Conclusion

The general objective of this study was to describe and analyse the phonological systems of the Meru-Tharaka group (which is represented as E.53 Mɛrọ and E.54 Şaraka by Guthrie) and establish the degree of lexical correspondences with a view to classifying the dialects on the similarities and differences exhibited. The assumption at the onset of the study was that the dialects are separated from each other in a principled way by a system of sounds, morpho-phonological processes and rules. The second assumption was that dialect clusters also exhibit features that alienate them not only in the morpho-phonological rules and processes but also in the vocabulary. This chapter is, therefore, intended to give a summary of the features that isolate the dialect clusters as well as the features that make them mutually intelligible or closely related. We will also recapitulate Möhlig’s and Wamberia’s findings in cases of divergence with our results. That is, the changes that have occurred in the dialects from the time these studies were carried out will be highlighted.

8.1.1 Areas of Convergence

In chapter 4, a detailed description of the six dialects of this study was presented. The phoneme inventories of the dialects, the morpho-phonological processes affecting consonants and vowels when they are juxtaposed in words, as well as various phonological rules were discussed and exemplified. From this elaborate discussion, clear-cut differences that isolate dialect clusters and...

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