Thu21Nov20194:00 pmFaculteitszaal (Blandijnberg 2, 1st floor)
Lengson Ngwasi: The non-reflexive functions of the reflexive prefix -i- in the Tanzanian Bantu languages Hehe, Nilamba and Nyaturu
Tue10Dec20191:00 pmCamelot Room (Blandijnberg 2, 3rd floor)
DiaLing-BantUGent: Double Lecture by Lorenzo Maselli (Pisa) and Hilde Gunnink (Ghent)Show content
Lorenzo Maselli (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa): "The importance of integrated articulatory and acoustic analysis for consonant identification: Some preliminary data from Ethiosemitic and Jukunoid".
While it is generally believed that the first step towards the phonological description of a language is the study of minimal pairs and allophonic variation, it is also true that the exact identification of what sounds we deal with in natural languages requires some level of acoustic analysis. There is a variety of spectral phenomena which serve as reliable cues to the phonetic properties of sounds, but a lot of important distinctions are left untouched. A fairly well-known example is that of voicing in English: while VOT is a generally reliable cue for stops, low frequency energy (the so-called “voicing bar”) is a less clear marker for fricatives, although the opposition is arguably just as salient throughout the phonology (Abramson & Whalen 2017). I will take into account some less common from African languages as cases in point. Amharic ejectives are traditionally considered “weak” (i.e. less acoustically salient than, for example, Tigrinya ones; cf. Kingston 1985), but preliminary data from L2 acquisition points in the direction of some categorical restructuring in the absence of clearer articulatory evidence. Likewise, while there is a long-standing notion that functional load plays little phonological role (King 1967), it was recently claimed that “peripheral phonemes” seem to behave in a fairly different way than more common ones (Babel 2017). Even salient oppositions may require different phonological treatment on the basis of, e.g., morphological variation, as is the case for Italian /m/ vs /n/. The exact determination of what sounds take part in an alternation could benefit from more detailed production analysis. An example will be drawn from Win Lau, a poorly described Jukunoid language of Nigeria, where [+back] spread can yield an as yet phonetically undescribed uvular or epiglottal consonant before back vowels. From this angle, closer interaction between articulatory, perceptual and acoustic evidence seems to be desirable, even for field research.
Abramson, A. S., Whalen, D. H. (2017) “Voice Onset Time (VOT) at 50: Theoretical and Practical Issues in Measuring Voicing Distinctions”, Journal of Phonetics 63, 75–86
Babel, A. M. (2017) “Aspirates and ejectives in Quechua-influenced Spanish”, Spanish in Context 14, n. 2, 159-185
King, R. D. (1967) “Functional load and sound change”, Language 43, n. 4, 831-842
Kingston, J. (1985) “The Phonetics and Phonology of the Timing of Oral and Glottal Events”, PhD dissertation, Berkeley: University of California, Berkeley
Hilde Gunnink (UGent): "Contact between Bantu and Khoisan languages in southern Africa: morphological borrowing in Yeyi".
Abstract: In southern Africa, there has been long-standing language contact between between Khoisan languages, some of which have been spoken since time immemorial, and Bantu languages, who arrived in the region in the last two millenia. The Bantu language that has been influenced most extensively by Khoisan contact is Yeyi, spoken in northwestern Botswana and northeastern Namibia. This Bantu language has acquired a large number of clicks, crosslinguistically highly uncommon phonemes that only occur natively in Khoisan languages and are therefore a clear indicator of language contact. In this paper, I investigate the extent of Khoisan influence in the morphology of Yeyi, showing that Yeyi has acquired certain bound affixes from neighbouring Khoisan languages. Such morphological borrowing is relatively uncommon in languages, and suggests that contact between Yeyi and Khoisan must have been fairly intensive, and, unlike many other Bantu-Khoisan contact situation in the subcontinent, may have involved a certain degree of proficiency in Khoisan languages on the part of the Yeyi speech community. As such the contact-induced changes attested in Yeyi can be used to shed light on the contact situation in which they arose, and provide a clearer picture of Bantu-Khoisan interactions.