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Title:Post-High Tone Shift in Venda Nominals
Authors:William Thomas Reynolds
Abstract:Post-High Tone Shift in Venda Nominals

Bill Reynolds

This paper examines a shift in the tonal pattern of Venda nominals when

they are immediately preceded by a high tone. Previous accounts of

this phenomenon under a rule-based, autosegmental approach have been

problematic: The Obligatory Contour Principle appears to motivate

different effects at different levels. Many of the rules required to

explain the process are language specific and stipulative. Problems

arise from the disparate treatment of low and high tones and from

assumptions such as extratonality. Certain asymmetries in the

inventory of tonal melodies remain unexplained. And questions remain

as to whether the tone-bearing unit in Venda is the syllable or the

mora. This paper attempts to address exactly such problems within the

context of an Optimality Theoretic approach. It also provides evidence

for distinct constraint rankings at the lexical and postlexical levels.

Finally, the problem of accounting for downstep within an Optimality

framework is looked into for the first time.

Note: An earlier version of this paper appeared in The South African

Journal of Linguistics, Supplement 31 (1996), pp. 55-85, under the

title "Tone in Venda Revisited: An Optimality Perspective."
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1