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Downstep in Tiriki

Paster, Mary and Kim, Yuni (2011) 'Downstep in Tiriki.' Linguistic Discovery, 9 (1). ISSN 1537-0852

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Abstract

In this paper, we present an analysis of the tone system of Tiriki, a Bantu language spoken in Kenya and previously undescribed in the linguistic literature. We focus on downstep, a complex phenomenon that arises in a number of different and interesting ways in this language. We claim that tone in Tiriki is best analyzed in a model where downstep is represented phonologically by a floating low (L) tone between two high (H) tones. This constitutes a divergence from many previous analyses of tone in Bantu languages, where there is often no phonological L tone at all, and where downstep is commonly analyzed as the phonetic interpretation of two adjacent H tones. Crucial to our analysis is the observation that downstepped H tones in Tiriki alternate not only with underlyingly specified L tones, but also with default L tones assigned to syllables that are underlyingly toneless. The data provide evidence that insertion of default tones is not, as usually assumed in the literature, universally limited to being an intrinsically late phonological rule or a matter of phonetic implementation. Rather, default tone insertion in Tiriki is a full-fledged phonological process that can and does interact with other phonological processes.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 13 Apr 2021 07:53
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2021 07:53
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/21053

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