Sound Mutations

The morphophonology of Chaha

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This monograph, which evolved from the first linguistic dissertation to be written on Chaha (an Ethiopian Semitic language), is also the first book to deal exclusively with the phonology and morphology of the language. It is an exhaustive description and analysis, by a native speaker, of the sound patterns of this often misdescribed language and deserves to be the standard reference on the phonology of Chaha. The book presents a vast amount of new data and it unearths some fascinating new generalizations about double linking, geminate devoicing, nasalization of liquid consonants, phonotactic constraints within morphemes, and palatalization and labialization triggered by decomposition of a single back high round vowel. <br />The book also challenges the categorization of Semitic subject affixes into prefix and suffix sets, instead proposing a novel classification in which all prefixes and some suffixes form a set that excludes the remaining suffixes. The generalizations and analyses are significant not only for the study of Chaha and Semitic languages, but also for phonological theory in general.

Subjects: Afro-Asiatic languages; Historical linguistics; Morphology; Phonology

  • Affiliations: 1: MIT, Cabridge, MA

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