Moraic mismatches in Somali phonology

coda consonants reconsidered

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DOI:

https://doi.org/10.15460/auue.2022.95.1.240

Keywords:

moraic phonology, tonology, gemination, Cushitic, Somali

Abstract

This paper reconsiders the moraic status of coda consonants in Somali. It is argued that Somali joins a growing list of languages presenting a challenge to the Moraic Uniqueness Hypothesis. Several phenomena are explored that suggest that Somali exhibits moraic mismatches whereby moras associated with segments of different types contribute to, or “count” differently for particular phonological processes. Evidence in support of this proposal is drawn from the literature on tonology and poetic metrics, but also from word shape and minimality requirements, and from the distribution of syllable shapes of different types in Somali words. It is argued that an approach to Somali phonology that permits reference to moras associated with different segment types offers a unified and more transparent account of the language’s segmental and tonal phenomena. Notably, such an approach precludes the assumption of “early” coda consonant moraicity followed by a global dissociation of consonantal moras by rule before high tone assignment, as argued for in earlier work. The findings presented here illustrate that standing points of view on the role of the mora in Somali phonology must be reconfigured.

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Further information

Received

2021-11-05

Accepted

2022-04-07

Published

2022-12-31

How to Cite

Green, C. (2022). Moraic mismatches in Somali phonology: coda consonants reconsidered. Afrika Und Übersee, 95(1), 49–75. https://doi.org/10.15460/auue.2022.95.1.240

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Section

General articles