Lowering harmony in Bantu

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In this article I propose an analysis of lowering harmony in the Bantu languages Kikuyu and Kimatumbi. This analysis is carried out within a model called Radical cv Phonology (RcvP). Following Dependency Phonology, RcvP uses unary elements as primitives and dependency relations between elements when they occur combined in one phoneme. Following proposals in Government Phonology, my account for harmony postulates that harmony involves a licensing relation. A novel aspect of my approach is that harmonic alternations are represented in terms of elements that are variably present. A variable element is phonetically interpreted only if it is licensed by a non-variable element in an adjacent syllable.


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