Research Article

V2 elision in root-suffix hiatus contexts in Malawian CiTonga (Bantu N.15)

DOI: 10.2989/16073614.2021.1939077
Author(s): Winfred Mkochi, Malawi


The elision of V2 in root-suffix hiatus contexts has previously been alluded to as the need to preserve V1 when it belongs to a prominent position (a phenomenon known as positional faithfulness) such as a root or a content word. This article suggests a new factor: certain prosodic domains impose their own pattern of vowel elision in hiatus contexts. The prosodic stem in CiTonga, a southern Bantu language spoken in Malawi, for instance, requires that hiatus within it be resolved through elision of V2, and not V1. V2 elision in clitic-clitic contexts also suggests that clitics in this language are most likely parsed by the prosodic stem, thereby creating a right-edge misalignment between a morphological stem and a prosodic stem. The parsing of clitics by the prosodic stem in CiTonga is unlike other languages (e.g. Zezuru, a dialect or variant of the Shona language) where clitics are parsed by the prosodic word.

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