n Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa - Dependency assimilatory relations within Xhosa nasal compounds of the class 9 nominal prefixes

Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-5986



The crucial outcome of the prefixation of the nasal morpheme /N/ to verb stems in the formation of deverbatives is a change in the constituent structure of a syllable to which the morpheme is added. The syllable becomes longer, yet it has to be articulated within relatively normal time, that is, as if no segment(s) have been added to it. To counteract the problem of timing, assimilatory phonological processes occur with the resultant resyllabification. This article attempts to illustrate the importance of phonetic detail in the analysis of the phonological assimilatory processes of nasal assimilation, deaspiration, affrication, assimilation to full egression, the acquisition of breathy voice and plosivation of the lateral sonorant /I/ to /d/. Although <I>nasal assimilation&lt;/I&gt; has always been described as an assimilatory process in the study of phonology, the nature of sound changes in these other processes, namely, deaspiration, affrication, assimilation to full egression and the acquisition of breathy voice, plosivation of the lateral sonorant /I/ to /d/ has not been explained adequately.

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