Deriving bounded tone with layered feet in Harmonic Serialism: The case of Saghala

Abstract

This paper proposes an approach to bounded tone shift and spread as found in Bantu languages. Its core intuition is that the bounding domain is delimited by foot structure. The approach uses layered foot representations to capture ternary phenomena, following Martinez-Paricio & Kager (2015). A set of licensing and structural constraints regulate tone-foot interactions. Harmonic Serialism is adopted as the grammatical framework, to allow for an account of opaque patterns (Prince & Smolensky 1993/2004; McCarthy 2010a).

The present approach improves on previous accounts in two ways. Firstly, the size of the tonal bounding domain follows from independently motivated foot representations, rather than being stipulated in the constraint set. Secondly, the approach obviates the need for markedness constraints that refer to underlying structure, because all relevant lexical information is reflected in foot structures.

The approach is demonstrated on Saghala (Patin 2009). Saghala shows both shift and spread in a trisyllabic domain. There are six tone patterns, dependent on the contact or near-contact of tones, and the position of word boundaries. An analysis is presented that accounts for all patterns. The success of the analysis shows that the foot-based approach is equipped to deal with a variety of bounded tone phenomena.

Keywords

Harmonic Serialism, layered feet, foot structure, tone, Bantu, prosodic typology

How to Cite

Breteler, J., (2017) “Deriving bounded tone with layered feet in Harmonic Serialism: The case of Saghala”, Glossa: a journal of general linguistics 2(1): 57. doi: https://doi.org/10.5334/gjgl.89

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Authors

Jeroen Breteler (University of Amsterdam, Spuistraat 134, 1012VB Amsterdam)

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