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Abstract

Abstract

This paper analyzes the origins and evolution of the Wolof (Atlantic: Senegal) consonant mutation and noun class marking systems. I attribute Wolof mutation to the earlier presence of CV(C)- class prefixes on nouns, the (usually final) consonants of which fused with the following root-initial consonant to yield the modern mutation alternations. I reconstruct these original class prefixes using newly-proposed internal and comparative evidence, drawing on early documentary sources dating from the late 17th century. An understanding of the history of Wolof mutation allows for a better account of the synchronic system, in which mutation is triggered by specific noun classes rather than sporadically marking deverbal derivation. This study contributes to the broader understanding of how consonant mutation systems emerge and evolve, and of phonological considerations in noun class assignment.

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/content/journals/10.1075/dia.18046.mer
2021-01-05
2021-01-23
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