Vowel epenthesis and consonant deletion in loanwords : a study of Akan
In this thesis, I discuss loanword adaptation in Akan. I show that in Akan loanword adaptation, two major phonological processes such as vowel epenthesis and consonant deletion apply. While vowel epenthesis occurs in word-initial clusters, word-medial clusters and word-final obstruents/clusters, consonant deletion applies to only word-final clusters. The sonority level of the target consonants determines which one deletes. In an OT account, I show that the same set of markedness constraints account for all these repair strategies, but additional constraints are needed as each of the strategies occurs at different strata in the grammar. I also show that generally it is always the high vowels that act as the epenthetic vowels contrary to the cases in other loanword grammars such as in Sesotho, Shona, etc. where mid and low vowels can also spread. I also show that it is usually the high back/round i.e. labial, and not the high front i.e. coronal vowel that is favoured as the epenthetic in Akan loanwords, though the latter is very active in the native phonology. In OT terms, this is accounted for by higher ranking of the marked coronal feature above the labial feature. The findings from the analysis of the Akan loanword dataset are compared with existing ones made in loanword grammars in Sesotho (Rose & Demuth, 2006) and Shona (Uffmann, 2001, 2004, 2006). I show that though differences exist between these languages, they have more in common than they differ in in terms of how they adapt foreign words. Their differences are accounted for in OT to result from language-specific rankings of markedness constraints on the favoured place features and epenthesis strategies in each of these three languages. Sesotho calls for additional constraints on directionality on its spreading pattern.
ForlagUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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