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Nasal harmony in Ikwere, a language with no phonemic nasal consonants

Abstract : This paper presents a descriptive study of nasals and nasal harmony in Ikwere, an Igboid language of Nigeria. In the variety studied here, nasality is surface-contrastive in vowels but not in consonants. Nasality has the status of a morpheme-level feature which is either present or absent in each morpheme (root or affix). If present, it is predictably distributed across nonobstruent sounds by a system of nasal harmony which operates within the domain of the simple word, spreading nasality bidirectionally until blocked by an obstruent. The class of nasalizing sounds includes the nonexplosive stops ˆ and ?ˆ, confirming results of an earlier study showing these sounds to be nonobstruents (Clements & Osu 2002). The analysis brings to light some of the basic typological parameters that characterize nasal harmony in Ikwere, as well as an idiosyncratic restriction to the "phonological root", a domain which excludes initial syllables in noun roots that are homophonous with prefixes in other words. The paper concludes with a summary and discussion of implications for the feature analysis and typology of stops.
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Submitted on : Thursday, October 18, 2007 - 6:35:16 PM
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  • HAL Id : halshs-00180362, version 1



G.N. Clements, Sylvester Osu. Nasal harmony in Ikwere, a language with no phonemic nasal consonants. Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, De Gruyter, 2005, 26 (2), pp.165-200. ⟨halshs-00180362⟩



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