A systemized explanation for vowel phoneme change in the inadmissible phonological structure /VV/ in Zulu
Keywords:vowel changes in the inadmissible phonological structure /VV/ in Zulu, vowel coalescence, vowel deletion, semi-vowel insertion, vowel juxtaposing, vowel hiatus in Zulu
This article offers a systematic and comprehensive account of vowel changes that take place in the inadmissible phonological sequence /VV/ within a word in Zulu. Instead of discussing vowel changes in terms of vowel coalescence, vowel elision and glide insertion (as is conventionally done) this approach discusses the vowel changes with regard to the position of the two juxtaposed vowel phonemes on the vowel chart. The resultant form is predictable in terms of five basic combinatory possibilities, namely that the first vowel is a higher vowel than the second; the first vowel is a lower vowel than the second; the first vowel is a front vowel while the second is a back vowel; the first vowel is a back vowel while the second is a front vowel or the two vowels in the inadmissible sequence /VV/ are identical vowels. This article furthermore demonstrates that palatalisation is triggered by a semi-vowel generated by the inadmissible phonological structure /VV/ in the case of diminutives and locatives derived from nouns containing a bilabial or alveolar consonant in the final syllable.
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