Nominal classes and phonological agreement in Fròʔò (Tagbana)
Yranahan Traoré, Caroline Féry
February 2018
 

Besides total vowel harmony and nasal harmony, Fròʔò, a Gur language spoken in Côte d’Ivoire, has a pervasive consonantal agreement in its nominal domain: the morphologically ‘dependent morphemes’ (in terms of concord, Corbett 1991) or ‘associate morphemes’ (Hockett 1958), of nominal heads, agree in their articulator and [±continuant] features, a special case of alliterative concord, because the head noun is playing no role in the alliteration. Besides the consonantal agreement features, these free associate morphemes have their own vocalic features and their own [±voice] feature. The paper starts with a review of nominal classes in Fròʔò and the morphological structure of simple nouns. It is proposed that Fròʔò has a partly non-concatenative morphology and that a standard Distributed Morphology analysis cannot fully account for the phonology of the resulting morphemes. In the second part, the role of phonology is investigated. It is proposed that well-formed morphemes are the result of partial or deficient phonological specifications in need of repair. The phonological approach is couched in an optimality-theoretic framework (see Saba Kirchner 2010 and Bye & Svenonius 2012 among others for similar proposals). Part of the final specification of these morphemes are due to phonological repairs elicited by markedness and faithfulness constraints, and the filling in of features due to vowel and nasal harmony, as well as consonant epenthesis.
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Reference: lingbuzz/003863
(please use that when you cite this article)
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keywords: nominal classes, alliterative concord, tagbana, morphology, phonology
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