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Title:Constraint Interaction and Ranking in Vocalic Hiatus Contexts in Three Bantu Languages
Authors:Collen Sabao
Length:197 pp
Abstract:This thesis argues for context and vowel-feature conditioned repair of hiatal configuration in selected Bantu languages. Bantu languages by and large phonologically and/or phonetically repair vowel hiatus configurations arising from both phonological and morphophonological concatenations. This research makes a comparative cross-linguistic analysis of the repair strategies of vocalic hiatus configurations in three Bantu languages (Chichewa, Chitumbuka and Ndebele). The phonologies of these Bantu languages seem to largely favour an analysis that does not permit the surface realisation of clusters of segments of the form VV (vowel-vowel clusters). Observing such an analysis, which this research argues to be largely ONSET motivated/triggered and the featural properties of the phonological structures of the languages under study, their reactions to such disprefered vowel clusters and their phonotactics are here examined within the framework of Optimality Theory (OT) Prince and Smolensky (1991, 1993), McCarthy and Prince (1999), Archangeli (1997) and Kager (1999). Repair strategies for such configurations such as glide formation, consonantal and/or glide insertions, final vowel deletion and coalescence are discussed. The analysis adopted here implicates that the resolution of these disprefered configurations arises from incompatibilities in the features of the vowels straddling a word boundary. It argues that these repair strategies are largely motivated by language internal constraint ranking systems which in Bantu languages seem to largely prefer the preservation of [-] features over [+] features i.e. the ranking [-F']>>[+F'] .
Area/Keywords:Phonology, Vowel Hiatus, Ndebele, Chichewa, Chitimbuka, Elision, Epenthesis, Glide Formation
Article:Version 1