Vol. 29 No. 3 (2021): Issue 3/2021

Phonological wordhood issues in Guro (South Mande)

Natalia Kuznetsova
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore

Published 01/13/2022


  • Guro,
  • foot,
  • wordhood,
  • prosodic hierarchy,
  • tonal morphology

How to Cite

Kuznetsova, N. (2022). Phonological wordhood issues in Guro (South Mande). L’Analisi Linguistica E Letteraria, 29(3). Retrieved from https://www.analisilinguisticaeletteraria.eu/index.php/ojs/article/view/452


Guro, a richly tonal language of Côte d’Ivoir, presents some challenges for the Match Theory (a recent development of the theories of Prosodic Hierarchy) which implies a strict correspondence between prosodic and morphosyntactic units starting from the lexical level. Guro exhibits a ‘featural’ foot, which is not based on metrical stress. However, this is only an emerging prosodic domain: the language is characterised by ongoing intensive ‘footisation’ and monosyllabification processes which constantly change the shapes of morphosyntactic units. The degree of footisation depends on the degree of idiomaticity of a particular morphosyntactic construction, along a continuum from morpheme combinations to free phrases, i.e. essentially on a semantic parameter. There is also another prosodic domain relevant at the lexical level: the domain of morphonological tonal change. As shown by example of di- and trisyllabic nouns, the two prosodic domains tend to be aligned with each other and with the morphosyntactic word, but this is not a strict rule.


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