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Aspects of IsiXhosa phrasal phonology
Jokweni, Mbulelo Wilson
Doctoral Committee Chair(s)
Kisseberth, Charles W.
Department of Study
Degree Granting Institution
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
This thesis examines the prosodic phenomena of IsiXhosa by employing features of both the Theory of the Prosodic Hierarchy and the Theory of Domains. Taken as a given that the application of phonological processes is determined by well-defined linguistic units, it is argued here that post-lexical phonological processes such as Penultimate Vowel Lengthening, Word-Final H Deletion, and Left Branch Delinking and Right Branch Delinking Alternation are each bounded by (prosodic) domains of varying size, and that none of these processes can be adequately explained without making reference to a particular domain which serves as its environment of application.
It is further argued that Penultimate Vowel Lengthening is a domain-limit rule which provides evidence for the existence of the Phonological Phrase, its domain of application. The Phonological Phrase, on the other hand, is shown to be conditioned by syntactic and pragmatic properties. Extensive evidence confirming the role syntactic structure plays in shaping the Phonological Phrase comes from phrases which exhibit dislocated and coordinated constituents.
The domain for Word-Final H Deletion, the Word-Final H Deletion Domain, is constructed by domain-structure assignment rules. This is a domain-based approach and its involvement here is motivated by the fact that none of the strictly layered prosodic phrases (Prosodic Word, Phonological Phrase, Intonational Phrase) appears to be an appropriate environment for the application of Word-Final H Deletion. The D-structure assignment rules partition some subparts of the Phonological Phrase if not the whole Phonological Phrase, into a domain for the application of Word-Final H Deletion.
It is further argued, with supporting evidence from the penultimate falling tone, that the general Left Branch Delinking rule does not apply on the penultimate syllable when the word is at the right edge of an Intonational Phrase; hence its alternation with Right Branch Delinking. The former delinks the left branch of a doubly linked H at the right edge of a Phonological Phrase and the latter delinks the right branch at the right edge of an Intonational Phrase.
Finally, the deletion of a word-final vowel is shown to result in resyllabification, Depressor Shift and H Tone Protection across word boundaries, except that the latter condition is sensitive to the Phonological Phrase and the Intonational Phrase boundaries.