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Title:Tonal Variation Across Emakhuwa Dialects
Authors:Farida Cassimjee, Charles W. Kisseberth
Abstract:Tonal Variation Across Emakhuwa Dialects

Farida Cassimjee (Benedict College)


Charles W. Kisseberth (Tel Aviv University)


This paper examines several representative dialects of Emakhuwa

(Emakhuwa Central, Ikorovere, Eerati, Imitthupi, Enlai, and Esaaka)

and demonstrates how the variations in the tonal patterns of these

dialects can be understood in terms of a limited number of differences

in the ranking of a set of universal constraints that have been

proposed independently for other Bantu languages (see Cassimjee and

Kisseberth (1998), Cassimjee (1998)). The analysis, which is carried

out within the Optimal Domains Theory version of OT, provides striking

support for the OT position that variation across languages and across

dialects is a function of variation in constraint ranking. The analysis

also further motivates the constraint set developed in the previously-

mentioned works.

The basic characteristics of the different dialects can be summarized

as follows:

(i) Emakhuwa Central is entirely faithful to its underlying tonal

specifications. All and only moras that sponsor H tones in the input

are pronounced on a H tone.

(ii) In Ikorovere, the consraint No Monomoraic High Domain drives the

doubling of input H tones (subject to restrictions imposed by highly-

ranked constraints like Nonfinality).

(iii) Eerati doubles H tones to the right like Ikorovere (subject to

the same limitations), but then generally bans realization of the H

tone on nonhead elements (except when failure to realize the tone would

violate more highly ranked constraints like Plateau and No Rise).

(iv) Imitthupi is exactly like Eerati except with respect to the

gradient nature of the avoidance of non-head elements pronounced on a

H tone.

(v) Enlai is essentially like Eerati, except that it does not obey

Nonfinality and an (apparently) related constraint involving IP-penult


(vi) Esaaka is quite different from the other dialects. There is no

general doubling. The doubling that occurs is the consequence of

Plateau and No Fall.

Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1