Nuer Phonology: the Role of Syllable Structure

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Addis Ababa Universiy


This paper deals with the phonology of Nuer. It attempts to give ~brief description of the phonology and examines t he r ole of the syllable 'lk~ structure in light of ",auto segmental approach. Chapter one gives some background information about the p.-e-ople and the ~n~ge, the r eview of literature and the theoretical models employed in the analyses. Chapter two deals with a brief description of t he phonology, describing and a nalyzing the consonant and vowel p h onemes in"A'"-l ight of underspecification theory. The underspecified feature matrices a re given with the r elevant redundancy rules for both consonants and vowels. The description gives special attention to the vowel system, because of its interesting but difficult ...- na ture. There are sixteen vowel phonemes against the twenty consonant phonemes . T he vowels b elong to two types of voice qualities: plain and breathy. It is a distinction based on the acou s tic analyses of the two sets of vowels . Besides, the t onal system is briefly described and three tone levelS-high, mid and low- are recorded. Chapter three discusses the morphophonemic processes and the role t he syllable s tructure plays. From both descriptive and theoretical point s of view, .• syllable structure is found to be an interesting aspect of Nuer phonology. It can control most of the morphophone mic processes of the language and these processes are conditioned both by the principle of licensing and the syllable t emplate of Nuer. The fourth and the last chapter gives the summary and conclusion of the thesis.



Nuer Phonology: