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Vowel elision and reduction in Bambara

Abstract : The goal of this study is to test instrumentally the hypothesis that Bambara dissyllabic feet are distributed into three types. The results of the study can be summarised as follows: — reduction and elision of a short V1 in disyllabic feet is phonetic, rather than phonological, and can be explained by phonotactics. Therefore, disyllabic feet with a short first vowel form just one type; — V1 length, although phonologically relevant, displays some instability between speakers; — in a disyllabic foot (at least when its boundaries coincide with word boundaries), length characteristics are in complementary distribution: if the first vowel is short, the second is long, and if the first vowel is long, the second is short. This phenomenon can be defined as "foot isochrony"; — if the first vowel of a disyllabic foot is short, the duration of the second vowel depends on the position of the foot within the word: word-finally it is long, otherwise, it is short; — the difference between disyllabic feet types in Bambara can be exhaustively described by means of the length of the first vowel; there seems to be no need to postulate the existence of stress.
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Contributor : Valentin Vydrin <>
Submitted on : Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 2:23:54 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, February 9, 2021 - 8:24:01 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-02983191, version 1



Valentin Vydrin. Vowel elision and reduction in Bambara. Italian Journal of Linguistics / Rivista di linguistica, Pacini Editore S.p.A, 2020, 32 (1), pp.103-124. ⟨halshs-02983191⟩



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