Theoretical Issues in Dagbani Phonology-Morphology Interface: A Cross-Dialectal Investigation


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




This project investigates theoretical issues at the phonology-morphology interface, focusing on reduplication, lenition, vowel harmony, and tone in all dialects of Dagbani, a Gur language of Ghana. Research on the phonology-morphology interface is necessary to understand both domains of linguistics and for motivating linguistic theories. For instance, processes of sound weakening are phonological. However, in Dagbani, they take place within the morphological domain. Conversely, reduplication, a morphological processe, is often masked by phonological processes like vowel harmony; it cannot be analysed without recourse to the phonology. Preliminary evidence also shows that certain morphological processes that occurred historically have triggered tonal patterns unique to some Dagbani dialects. Previous research may not have discovered these patterns because of undue focus on one dialect of Dagbani or the inadequate research into the morphophonology. This project intends to fill both gaps.