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Title:Cyclic Optimization of Floating L Tones in Kikuyu
Authors:Siri Gjersoe
Abstract:This study discusses the cyclic derivation of downstep in Kikuyu (Bantu, E51). Kikuyu attests floating L tones of lexical and phrasal nature which are domain-sensitive. Their proposed domain is the p(honological)-phrase and downstep appears preferably at the right edge of a p-phrase. Interestingly, the positioning of downstep is also determined by surrounding tones as the sequence H!L is banned. The puzzling part is that the phrasal floating L tone moves away from its underlying position towards its preferred realization site of a p-phrase edge and this happens even in contexts where the floating L tone can not be realized in this position due to markedness reasons. It can therefore end up triggering downstep in a p-phrase medial position which deviates from its underlying position. This pattern poses a serious challenge to standard monostratal parallel Optimality Theory and argues for a serial derivation. The proposal here is a Stratal OT analysis with two strata above the word level.
Type:Paper/tech report
Area/Keywords:Syntax-phonology interface, Tone, Downstep, Stratal OT, High Tone Spreading
Article:Version 2
Version 1