Language Variation and Change Workshop

January 17, 2020 | 3:30PM
Rosenwald 301

Cross-word nasal harmony in Ebrié 

Hannah Sande, Georgetown University


I present data collected with three speakers of Ebrié (Kwa) in Côte d'Ivoire in Summer 2019 showing a cross-word nasal harmony process that affects both consonants and vowels: [àká ɓà lé ɓá], 'Aka will not come'; [à̃ mà̃ né̃ má̃], 'She will not come'. I demonstrate that 1) only certain morphemes containing nasal features can trigger cross-word harmony, and 2) nasal spreading can be blocked by phonological obstacles as well as syntactic or prosodic ones. I also present a series of unanswered questions regarding the Ebrié data. Lexical models of phonology evaluate words or sub-word units, with only exceptionless 'post-lexical' phonology applying after words have been concatenated. Such models struggle to account for phrasal phonology, or phonological alternations that cross word boundaries, in particular when such phenomena are sensitive to the identity of morphemes present. There have been many phrasal tone processes of this type reported (see Sande et al. 2019 for an overview and analysis), though very few cross-word segmental processes are attested. Word-based models cannot account for the Ebrié type of morpheme-specific cross-word phonology, so I propose that a prosodic or phase-based spell-out approach be adopted instead.


Week 3 (24 Jan): Robert Lewis, UChicago
Week 5 (7 Feb): Constantine Nakassis, UChicago
Week 6 (14 Feb): Jonathan Rosa, Stanford (joint meeting with Semiotics: Culture in Context)
Week 7 (21 Feb): Elena Bashir, UChicago
Week 8 (28 Feb): Tracy Conner, UC Santa Barbara
Week 9 (6 Mar): Betsy Pillion, UChicago