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Title:Aspects of Tone and Voice in Phuthi
Authors:Simon Donnelly
Comment:The doctorate was filed in 2007. The ROA version is lightly edited, reducing typos and other minor errors.
Abstract:This dissertation seeks to explore the architecture of tonal structures in a formal phonological analysis of the tone patterns found in Phuthi, a Bantu language. The focus of the work is the phonological presence of high tone (H) in Phuthi, the interaction of this H with potentially polysyllabic tonal 'depression domains', triggered (often, but not always) by phonologically breathy voiced segments that condition low tone within the lexical phonology. Both theoretical and empirical claims are made. Within a general Optimality Theory framework, the Phuthi data requires a distinction between the planning and execution of a H tone within a tonal domain, modeled here with distinct PARSE and EXPRESS constraints in the tone grammar, as there are frequently found to be very significant mismatches between H tone domains--established by lexical tone placement--and domains of tonal depression (consonant-triggered, or morphologically imposed). The morphology that chiefly instantiates these tone phenomena is the wide range of extremely productive verb paradigms present in the language (though productive noun paradigms are explored too).

A strong case is made for the presence of tonal low (L) domains, which can be nested--even multiply--within a single H domain. In such instances, the single H tone is argued not to fission into two separate tone domains, nor in any way to instantiate violation of locality.

Phuthi does instantiate, however, a wide range of L- and H-domain edge conflicts. When these conflicts coincide with a tone domain-head (a notion developed in the work), the language attempts to force tone shift, a phenomenon widely commented on for Nguni languages. Phuthi displays a number of unprecedented variations on tone shift and tone block, arising from a cline of tone-depression interactions not observed in other languages. Phuthi is shown to be a language that prohibits or severely restricts the coincidence of H and L tone domains over the same interval. And yet the grammar seems often to conspire with the lexicon to assign both H and L features to syllabic nuclei in head positions of phonological domains. The simultaneous assignment of H and L tones introduces a feature conflict that is resolved in a striking variety of ways across verbal and nominal paradigms. Optimal Domains Theory (ODT) is argued to be a theoretical framework capable of sufficiently expressing this range of voice and tone data, in contrast to any type of optimal constraint model that lacks the augmented domains architecture. (Ch. 1 introduces the language, including a short history and profile of its speech community, and an indication of language-contact effects; Ch. 2 presents a significant part of the phonology (segmental and prosodic) and the morphology; Ch. 3 outlines the ODT theoretical model; Ch. 4 and 5 present single H and multiple H-tone phenomena in lexical paradigms; Ch. 6 examines H patterns in grammatical (i.e. inflectional melodic) paradigms; Ch. 7 examines the interplay of breathy voice, depression and H tone; Ch. 8 concludes. Five appendices are provided, including a Swadesh list, a lengthy verb paradigm data set, and a limited English-Phuthi Phuthi-English lexicon.)
Area/Keywords:Phonology, Morphology
Article:Version 1