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Phrase-level Prosodic Smothering in Makonde

  • Author(s): Rolle, Nicholas
  • Hyman, Larry M.
  • et al.

This paper focuses on the issue of ‘prosodic idiosyncrasies’ as it arises in the Bantu language Makonde [kde]. Recently, Bennett, Harizanov, & Henderson (2018) proposed ‘prosodic smothering’, whereby prosodic requirements of an outer morpheme override (i.e. ‘smother’) prosodic properties of inner morphemes. We extend their analysis to phrase-level phonology in Makonde. Previous description has established that whether a nominal modifier forms a single phonological phrase φ with the noun is an idiosyncratic property, e.g. a [NOUN ADJECTIVE] phrase maps to 2 phonological phrases φ(N) φ(ADJ) while a [NOUN DEMONSTRATIVE] phrase forms a single phonological phrase φ(N DEM). Prosodic smothering is seen in [NOUN ADJ DEM] sequences which form a single φ(N ADJ DEM) phonological phrase, where the ADJ has been ‘entrapped’ and its prosody ‘smothered’. We highlight three contributions which Makonde makes to understanding smothering: (i) smothering targets the lexical head, (ii) smothering is both inward-oriented (a morphological relation) and leftward-oriented (a linear relation), and (iii) a limited amount of outward smothering is parasitic on the presence of inward smothering. From the smothering facts in Makonde, we conclude that prosody is established at two stages: first, prosodic idiosyncrasies apply at spell-out (i.e. the mapping from syntax to phonology), followed by default prosodification which is established within the phonological module itself.

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