Phonological teamwork in Kalahari Basin languages

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This paper describes the complex, multiple-trigger, cumulative assimilation processes targeting the initial vowel (V1) of bimoraic stems in Kalahari Basin languages (KBA), first described by Anthony Traill (1985) in East ǃXoon (Tuu). The focus is on two languages: East ǃXoon and Gǀui (Khoe-Kwadi). The goal is to describe these processes in as much detail as is possible from the available published and unpublished sources. Marked differences between the two languages in focus are brought to light, thus giving an idea of the so far unnoticed diversity of V1 realization in KBA languages. Finally, this paper briefly highlights important problems posed by such cumulative processes to phonological theory, many of which had already been identified by Traill (1985).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-97
Number of pages23
JournalAfricana Linguistica
StatePublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


  • Cumulative assimilation
  • Gradience
  • Multiple trigger


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