Hiatus resolution and /mu/ prefix reduction in iKalanga

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 37, issue 2, 2017 , pages: 173–186
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2017.1378269
Author(s): Maxwell KadengeDepartment of Linguistics, School of Literature, Language and Media, South Africa, Andy Monthusi ChebanneFrench Department, Faculty of Humanities, Botswana


This article examines two aspects of iKalanga phonology: hiatus resolution and /mu/ prefix reduction. Within Prosodic Words, hiatus is repaired through one of four ways: glide formation, secondary articulation, elision, and glide epenthesis. Coalescence occurs across Prosodic Word boundaries in grammaticalised and encliticised forms. /mu/ prefix reduction, which threatens to create complex onsets (NCs), is repaired through resyllabifying the remaining nasal as a separate syllable. It is not blocked by monosyllabic stems and the resultant syllabic nasal does not trigger postnasal hardening, is moraic and is homorganic to the immediately following consonant. These repair strategies, which are quite regular and typical of Bantu languages in general, ensure that the CV syllable structure of iKalanga is maintained. We argue that a single constraint hierarchy is responsible for these seemingly disjointed repair strategies. This paper provides new data that has not been discussed in previous studies, and it is the first study to present a detailed and consolidated formal analysis of repair strategies in iKalanga using Optimality Theory.

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