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Homorganic NC sequences in Kibena: Pre-nasalized consonants, consonant clusters, or something else?

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  • Linguistics
  • Language
  • Bantu
  • Phonology
  • Pre-Nasalization
  • Linguistics
  • Musicology
  • Physics


In Bantu linguistics, one topic of great debate concerns the segmental status of homorganic NC sequences. Traditionally, on the basis of durational properties, the phonological behavior of such segments, and native speaker syllabification, such sequences are considered to be prenasalized consonants. More recently Downing (2005) has taken the opposite position, arguing instead that NC sequences in Bantu languages should be treated as clusters. In this paper I present an analysis of NC sequences in Kibena, a Bantu language spoken in southern Tanzania. I consider acoustic duration, syllable structure, distribution, and native speaker intuitions about syllabification and conclude that these sequences are best treated as single segments in Kibena, rather than as a series of two distinct segments.

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