Hiatus Resolution and Minimality Effects in Nambya


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




This project examines hiatus resolution and minimality in Nambya.The observed repair strategies have one main goal: to achieve the languageā€™s preferred phonological structures, namely, the CV syllable structure and the disyllabic minimal word size. This study provides a formal analysis of when, how, and why one hiatus resolution strategy is chosen over others, since different morphosyntatic domains trigger different hiatus resolution strategies. The study uses the Morpheme-Based Template (MBT) theory to analyze minimality effects, and also employs Feature Geometry and Optimality Theory. It examines strategies that expand potentially monosyllabic words and block processes that threaten to reduce words to subminimal forms, and considers the minimal word condition and its interaction with the phonological, morphological, and syntactic phenomena in Nambya. This research demonstrates that in Nambya, where there is conflict between satisfying CV and minimality, minimality wins.