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Title: The Domain of Noun Tone Rules in Lam Nso
Authors: Grebe, Karl H.
Keywords: African Languages
Niger-Congo Languages
Atlantic-Congo Languages
Issue Date: 1984
Publisher: The University of Calgary
Abstract: This study concerns the domain in which lexical tones interact with each other. By lexical tones are. meant the inherent tones for which morphemes are specified in the lexicon before being inserted into larger structures. The study focuses primarily on the interaction of the noun root tone with the tones of morphemes that precede or follow the root either within the word or across word boundaries. Lam Nso noun roots are monosyllabic. The most basic form of the noun consists of a root and one or two optional prefixes. The tones on these morphemes do not interact with each other as long as each tone remains in its original segmental doMain. Lexical tones only interact when a tone that does not have a segmental domain (i.e. a floating tone) enters into the segmental domain of another tone. Floating tones may originate from the underlying lexical representation where tones may be unassociated or from phonological, processes that rob a tone of its segmental domain. Within one segmental domain tones may either fuse or be compounded depending on the type of boundary the floating tone crosses to enter the domain of a segmental tone. Tone fusion occurs across formative (morpheme) boundaries while tone compounding occurs across word boundaries. Tone fusion results in two distinct tones becoming one tone while compounding adds tones sequen-tially without significant changes. Thus, by fusion low and high become mid but by compounding they form the contour, low-high. The study demonstrates that phonological boundaries play a role not only in regulating phonological processes but also in regulating tonological ones.
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