Morphophonemic processes of Igikuria
Maroa, Rebecca G
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This study investigates the morphophonemic processes that are evident Igikuria. It uses a synchronic approach in analyzing Igikuria phonemes and eventually lays down phonetic inventory for all the phonemes. The intention of the study was to explore the sound changes in Igikuria phonemes and to investigate the environment. under which such changes occur. It also aimed at investing aspects of Igikuria phonology and morphology relevant to the discussions on sound changes. The research also aimed at exploring the sound adjustments that affect borrowed vocabulary and appreciate how the adjustments relate with Igikuria morphophonology. The study hypothesized that consonant changes that occur in Igikuria are caused by other consonants. Further, vowel changes that occur in Igikuria are caused by other vowels; more so, the study hypothesized that Igikuria morphophonemic processes can be represented using the rule formalisms of Natural Generative Phonology which reveals motivation without overgeneralization. The study also hypothesized that loanwords in Igikuria undergo morphophonemic adjustments in consonants and vowels to commensurate with the native Igikuria vocabulary. This is a segmental study which focuses on analyzing Igikuria sound segments. It has limited itself to Igikuria as used in Kenya although much of the language is spoken in Tanzania. The study has used Natural Generative Phonology (NGP) Theory. A lot of literature was reviewed during the research. Much of it was to do with morphology, phonology and phonological theories as well as a few books in and on Igikuria. This research was largely library based. Most of the data was drawn using what is known as naturalistic observation technique and purposive sampling. Introspection was also used. The results were tested using native speakers of Igikuria. The study also engages in comprehensive exploration and analysis of both consonants and vowel processes. It shows the environment under which the various changes occur. The study further posits both general and formal rules that govern each process. These rules enable the understanding of both surface realizations and underlying forms of various items. It has been demonstrated that each change is governed by a certain rule; be it morphological, phonological or via rules. The consonant processes that are discussed include weakening and strengthening of consonants, palatilization and consonant deletion. The vowel processes studied are: coalescence, vowel harmony, glides formation and deletion. It is noted that loanwords borrowed by Igikuria from different languages are nativised but, never the less; some structures alien to Igikuria are brought into the language through the borrowing. Nativisation is achieved through processes like substitution, insertion and deletion of both consonants and vowels. After nativisation in most words, the native Igikuria phonological processes mentioned above become applicable to the various items so nativised. This study of Igikuria morphophonemics lays phonemic inventory and matrices and posits rules for the various processes. It may help in understanding of the loanwords. It sets a paradigm and provides a comparative scale for other Bantu languages.