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Sons africains

Abstract : This chapter is devoted to "African sounds", that is to the sounds (or features) which either do not exist, or are rare or much less frequent, outside of Africa. The set of sounds (or prosodic features) which have been selected for this study are the following: 1) bilabial trills, 2) labio-velar consonants, 3) implosives and non obstruent consonants, 4) clicks, 5) vowel harmony based on tongue-root retraction, and 6) "lax" question prosody. The geographical distribution of these sounds reveals linguistic areas, which can include languages from various phyla, such as the so-called "Sudanic Area" which extends from Senegal or Liberia to Lake Albert and the Erythreo-Ethiopian highlands. This chapter does not only present a "state of the art" survey of "African sounds" and their areal distribution; it also includes a new study of one category of these sounds: the implosive consonants. An investigation of the distribution of these consonants in all the documented languages of the Niger Delta reveals linguistic areas with natural, geographically-defined boundaries (the Niger River, in particular) which do not coincide with language family boundaries.
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Contributor : Gwénaëlle Lo Bue Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Wednesday, March 14, 2012 - 6:10:19 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 27, 2021 - 2:43:12 PM


  • HAL Id : halshs-00679139, version 1



Annie Rialland, George N. Clements. Sons africains. Faits de langues, Brill, 2011, pp.235-246. ⟨halshs-00679139⟩



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