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Convergence of prosody under contact: two African case studies

Chapter in book
Authors Laura J. Downing
Published in Språkens magi: Festskrift for Ingmar Söhrman / edited by Andrea Castro & Anton Granvik, Ester Fernández Incógnito, Sara LIndblad, Andreas Romeborn & Katharina Vajta
Pages 29-40
ISBN 978-91-639-5361-3
Publisher Göteborgs universitet, Institutionen för språk och litterarturer
Place of publication Göteborg
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Pages 29-40
Language en
Keywords prosody contact linguistics Chimiini
Subject categories Bantu languages, African languages, Specific Languages, Linguistics


Research on the effect of language contact on tonal systems gives a contradictory picture of the expected outcomes. On the one hand, work like Mataras (2009) claims that tonal prosody is one of the features most likely to be borrowed under contact. In contrast, work like Salmons (1992) and Trudgill (2011) suggests that tone will be eliminated under contact, as tone is a complex systemic feaeture and contact should lead to systemic simplification. This paper presents two case studies showing that language contact can lead to complexification of the prosodic system. Contact with Kru languages has led to greater tonal complexity in South Mande languages. Contact with Somali has given Chimiini a more complex grammatical tone system.

Page Manager: Webmaster|Last update: 9/11/2012

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