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Eton tonology and morphosyntax: a holistic typological approach.

Abstract : This contribution shows how prosodic restrictions on the shape of verb stems have played a major role in structuring the morphosyntax and complex morphotonology of Eton, a Bantu language spoken in Cameroon. It proves to be impossible to provide an accurate description of the allomorphy of verbal suffixes and the behaviour of tonal morphemes without referring to two prosodic characteristics of stems, viz. initial prominence and a constraint specifying that stems can have maximally three (sometimes four) syllables. Moreover, it is argued, following Hyman (2004), that the same prosodic characteristics of stems are an essential ingredient of an explanation for the morphosyntactic differences between the northwestern Bantu languages (such as Eton) and the other Bantu languages, and, more generally, among the languages of the Niger-Congo phylum. All this illustrates the usefulness of a holistic approach to language description, linguistic typology and reconstruction, in which explanations for one aspect of the grammar can be found at other levels of grammatical analysis.
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Contributor : Mark van de Velde <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, September 28, 2011 - 1:52:12 PM
Last modification on : Monday, May 11, 2020 - 9:52:02 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00627350, version 1



Mark van de Velde. Eton tonology and morphosyntax: a holistic typological approach.. Epps, Patience & Alexandre Archipov. New Challenges in Typology 2, Mouton de Gruyter, pp.35-62, 2009. ⟨halshs-00627350⟩



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