A study of the supra-segmental features of ki-ndia dialect of Gikuyu language
This study is an investigation of Ki-Ndia suprasegmental features. The features under investigation are vowel harmony, nasalization and tone. These features posed a problem to Generative Phonologists because of their ability to spread to other segments within their domain. In an attempt to solve the problem, Goldsmith (1976) proposed the Autosegmental Phonological Theory (APT) to handle features larger than the segment which are called suprasegmental features in Autosegmental Phonology. In this study, Ki-Ndia suprasegmental features are analyzed within APT’s framework. The data used in the study comprise nouns and verbs derived from the Ki-Ndia lexicon. It was collected through participant-observation method, native speaker informants and native speaker intuition method. In the study, Ki-Ndia segmental phonology and word classification are first highlighted. This is done to show the phonemic inventory and the syllable structure on which Ki-Ndia lexicon is founded. Subsequently, Ki-Ndia nouns and verbs are analyzed for vowel harmony, nasalization and tone within APT’s framework. The analysis culminates in a chapter that shows how the three features relate to each other in the dialect. Generally, the results of the analysis reveal partial and complete vowel harmonies, progressive and regressive nasal assimilation processes and register tone patterns with traces of contour tones. Specifically, these results indicate the nature of vowel harmony, the nature of nasalization and the form of tone found in the dialect.