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Journal of African Languages and Linguistics

Ed. by Ameka, Felix K. / Amha, Azeb

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1613-3811
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Volume 34, Issue 1 (May 2013)

Issues

Dagbani tongue-root harmony: triggers, targets and blockers

Fusheini Hudu
Published Online: 2013-05-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jall-2013-0002

Abstract

This paper describes advanced tongue-root [ATR] harmony in Dagbani, a Gur language of Ghana, focusing on three distinct segments: triggers, targets, and blockers of [+ATR] harmony. Dagbani has a bidirectional [ATR] harmony, with [+ATR] as the dominant value. A root [i] triggers a left-to-right harmony targeting vowels in suffixes and clitics while the mid vowels [e, o] trigger a right-to-left direction of harmony targeting root vowels. There are two restrictions on harmony. First, a height similarity condition restricts harmony to a trigger and target that are both [+high] or [−high]. Second, a class of opaque consonants [l, ɾ, s] block the spread of [+ATR] between /i/ and an eligible vowel target. However, the opacity is unidirectional as the coronals do not block a right-to-left harmony. The paper addresses the controversy on whether such opacity effects exist in harmony patterns and discusses other issues of general theoretical interest in harmony patterns, such as parasitic harmony and the position of low vowels in [ATR] harmony.

Keywords: Dagbani; ATR harmony; bidirectionality; consonant opacity

About the article

Linguistics Department, University of Ghana


Published Online: 2013-05-08

Published in Print: 2013-05-10


Citation Information: Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 1613-3811, ISSN (Print) 0167-6164, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jall-2013-0002.

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©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

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[1]
W. G. Bennett
South African Journal of African Languages, 2014, Volume 34, Number 2, Page 115

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