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The conjoint/disjoint alternation and phonological phrasing in Bemba

Kula, NC (2016) 'The conjoint/disjoint alternation and phonological phrasing in Bemba.' In: Wal, J and Hyman, LM, (eds.) The Conjoint/Disjoint Alternation in Bantu. Trends in Linguistics. Studies and Monographs [TiLSM] . De Gruyter, 258 - 294. ISBN 9783110490831


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1. Introduction Bemba is renowned as an example of a language with an extensive conjoint-disjoint alternation following earlier work in Sharman and Meeussen (1955) and Sharman (1956). The alternation is understood as the expression of complementary pairs of verb forms in particular tenses, differentiated by their distributional properties. Thus conjoint and disjoint forms are morphologically marked to distinguish their context of occurrence. Disjoint forms are generally able to occur finally in a main clause while conjoint forms are not. Associated with these distributional properties are interpretational properties revealing information structure although, as van der Wal (this volume) points out, these are properties that vary across different Bantu languages. The goal of this paper is to present the conjoint-disjoint alternation (henceforth CJ-DJ alternation) as it manifests itself in Bemba (Northern and Copperbelt dialects) and to specifically evaluate whether the alternation is encoded by tone in Bemba. Apart from segmental morphological marking of the CJ-DJ alternation in particular tenses a significant number of other tenses show tone marking that distinguishes the context of occurrence of a verb form in the same way that the CJ-DJ alternation does. This raises the question whether such tone marking should be treated as encoding the alternation and if it is not why it's distributional properties are so similar to the CJ-DJ alternation. The paper thus elaborates on the interplay between the CJ-DJ alternation, on the one hand, and prosodic marking, on the other. It will be shown that prosodic marking differs from the CJ-DJ alternation on only a limited number of properties but which, it will be argued, are significant enough to tip the balance towards segmental marking as the central way in which the CJ-DJ alternation is encoded in Bemba. The paper is organised as follows: Section 2 provides background on Bemba tonology which is relevant for the ensuing discussion; section 3 presents the morphological segmental CJ-DJ alternation markers; section 4 looks at prosodic marking with the goal of evaluating whether tone-marking independently encodes the CJ-DJ alternation; section 5 looks at the interpretational properties of the CJ-DJ alternation and also to what extent these also coincide with prosodic marking; section 6 gives the final evaluation of prosodic marking of the CJ-DJ alternation in Bemba; section 7 offers a short discussion of phrasal phonology in nominal forms; and section 8 ends the paper with some concluding remarks.

Item Type: Book Section
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 08 Feb 2017 16:24
Last Modified: 17 Aug 2017 17:18

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