Journal of West African Languages

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Tonal Variation in the Perfect Verb Stem of some Akan Diale Tonal Variation in the Perfect Verb Stem of some Akan Dialects


This paper offers a constraint-based account of surface tone variation in perfect (affirmative and negative) verb stems in the Akuapem, Asante, and Fante dialects of Akan. The paper argues that once we know the underlying tones of verb roots, surface tone difference in perfect verb stems in these dialects – i.e. surface tones of verb roots and their affixes – are all predictable from dialect-specific tone constraint hierarchy. This paper identifies dialect-specific ranking of the constraints: Polar, *σ̀1, *σ̀2, and RT[Tone] as responsible for variation in perfect verb stem surface tones in the three dialects. Polar and RT[Tone] are morpheme-based constraints, with *σ̀1 and *σ̀2 as syllable-based constraints. They reflect the need to respect both phonological and morphological well-formedness in perfect verb-stem surface-tone construction in the Akan language – which is the need to minimize the unmarked tone and to derive a high tone in a perfect verb stem simultaneously.

Created 2020-Dec-11
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Created by Hasiyatu Abubakari
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