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ERIC Number: EJ858647
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0388-0001
Tone and Syntax in Rutooro, a Toneless Bantu Language of Western Uganda
Kaji, Shigeki
Language Sciences, v31 n2-3 p239-247 Mar-May 2009
This paper explores the interaction of tone and syntax in Rutooro, a Bantu language of Western Uganda. Rutooro has lost its lexical tone but retains a phrasally defined high pitch that appears on the penultimate syllable--the default position in Bantu. This high pitch can work grammatically and in fact distinguishes between the noun phrase vs. clause structure, and between the definiteness vs. indefiniteness of the noun phrase. In Rutooro the word weight plays a role in the phonological phrasing. Disyllabic qualifying adjectives form a group with the preceding head noun and hence one high tone appears in the phrase while longer adjectives are set off from the noun and both the noun and the adjective receive their own high tone. Also, definite nouns that combine with a qualifying adjective, which usually has an augment, also form a separate phrase even if the adjective is disyllabic. This suggests that a qualifying adjective forms a tighter grouping with indefinite nouns than with definite nouns. Although some Bantu languages, such as Chichewa, assign a high tone to the penultimate syllable for grammatical reasons, it is rare to find languages like Rutooro, which lack lexical tone but get tone to play grammatical functions.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Uganda