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The phonology and morphology of the Nuer verb.

Reid, Tatiana (2019) The phonology and morphology of the Nuer verb. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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This thesis presents a descriptive study of the phonetics, phonology and morphology of Nuer. It contributes to the study of the language by dealing with the phenomena that has little or no previous description. I provide a descriptive account of the phonological processes in Nuer covering the full range of the segmental and suprasegmental categories in the language. I present the first descriptive account of tone in disyllabic verbs, postulate three tonemes /H, M, L/ and describe one sandhi process that turns the second subsequent H tone into L. In addition, I provide a description of floating suprasegmental features. Because the phonological parameters are also employed to encode morphology, I further distinguish the processes that are morphologically motivated. These are termed ‘stem alternations’. The major alternations are the changes in vowel and voice quality. I propose to analyse them in terms of morphologically motivated system of vowel grades. I also deal with stem alternations in tone, vowel length and stem-final consonant. Verb categories that I consider in this thesis are transitive bases and their various derivations. I show that verb derivation distinguishes verbal number and valence increase and decrease. I present a number of verb categories that have not been previously described for Nuer, some of which are typologically rare. Such is the marked verbal number category which can derive either a multiplicative verb or a punctual verb, depending on the inherent semantics of the lexeme. Another category is the associated motion verb. I show that this category alone has an additional verbal number contrast that I describe as ‘neutral’. I argue that in order to understand the morphophonological alternations in Nuer verb paradigms we must draw a distinction between the processes that occur in inflection and in derivation. I conclude that the morphophonological alternations are regular and largely predictable provided we view them as changes of semi-independent parameters (e.g. vowel length, vowel grade, tone, stem-final consonant).

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors :
Reid, Tatiana
Date : 31 October 2019
Funders : Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
DOI : 10.15126/thesis.00852901
Contributors :
Depositing User : Tatiana Reid
Date Deposited : 04 Nov 2019 10:29
Last Modified : 04 Nov 2019 10:30

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