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Moraic preservation and equivalence in Gújjolaay Eegimaa perfective reduplication

  • Abbie Hantgan EMAIL logo , Serge Sagna and Stuart Davis


The role of syllable weight in Gújjolaay Eegimaa, an Atlantic language spoken in south-western Senegal, is evidenced by reduplicative patterns in the perfective stem, where we witness a difference in the surface representation of verb roots with underlying voiced obstruents from those with underlying voiceless obstruents. We argue that voiced plosives are weight bearing and therefore considered as moraic when in coda position in this language. We attribute the triggering of the gemination in the reduplicative perfective with roots having final voiced plosives to compensatory lengthening in order to make up for the loss of a mora as motivated by Hayes (1989). Gemination, rather than vowel lengthening, occurs because, as stated by de Chene and Anderson (1979) compensatory lengthening of vowels only occurs in a language where vowel length is contrastive. In this paper, we show evidence to support the proposition that there are no long vowels in this variety of Eegimaa, and therefore gemination (which is a contrastive feature in the language) is the repair strategy employed to compensate for the loss of a mora. Through a description of the weight-related processes observed in perfective reduplication in Eegimaa, we will detail the moraic analysis of the various patterns and discuss general phonological implications.

Eegimaa abstract

Ñammeŋe uomal me n’elob, pan úgulenoral bavvoger babu baa waf wawu wo nulobale me mala wo. Uno me n’eggitten búoh an natebe waf, nújue uoh natetteb. Eno bi epikkor bavvoger babu, pan uoh na teb-teb. Burokk babu bo joom me n’ekkan toute, eggitten wa ukkane, ni bu balober ti boubu nahi búgulenori.

Corresponding author: Abbie Hantgan, CNRS-LLACAN, 7 rue Guy Môquet, BP 8, Villejuif, 94801, France, E-mail:

Funding source: Leverhulme Trust Research

Funding source: ESRC

  1. Funding: This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 758232). This work was also funded in part by the Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant ‘Crossroads: Investigating the Unexplored Side of Multilingualism’, ESRC & Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) (Grant number ES/P000304/1) and ESRC Future Research Leaders Grant (Grant K001922/1).


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Published Online: 2020-09-07
Published in Print: 2020-08-04

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