Nominal inflection in the Safané dialect of Dafing: Ternary quantity contrasts and morphologically conditioned phonology

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Abstract / Description of output

The complex relationship between phonological processes and the morphological domains in which they apply has been of persistent interest to linguists (e.g. Kiparsky 1985 2010; McCarthy & Prince 1995; Inkelas & Zoll 2007; Inkelas 2014). The present study addresses one pertinent issue related to morphophonology by examining nominal inflection in the Safané Dialect of Dafing (an East Manding language of Burkina Faso). The existence of overlong vowels and a derived ternary vowel length distinction are central to the inflectional paradigm. They are described and quantified in an elicitation. The inflectional paradigm is also compared to that of other Manding languages, with attention paid to how related languages conform to putative constraints on syllable structure. Of theoretical interest is how morphological categories, even internal to a given inflectional paradigm, engender different phonological operations and restrictions on syllable content. Morphologically dependent phonological processes exist in a diverse set of languages and domains (e.g. Inkelas & Zoll 2007), but the role that markedness plays, and the representation of morphologically dependent phonology within the framework of Optimality Theory (Prince & Smolensky 1993) remain a topic of debate, with the two leading approaches being the indexed constraint approach (e.g. McCarthy & Prince 1995; Pater 2000) and the cophonological approach (e.g. Orgun 2000; Anttila 2000 2002). The current study addresses the Dafing data in terms of these two theories of representation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-124
JournalJournal of West African Languages
Volume45
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 Jun 2018

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Mande
  • morphology
  • nominals

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