The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

Phonology Circle 12/9 - Danfeng Wu (MIT) & Yadav Gowda (MIT)

Speaker: Danfeng Wu (MIT) & Yadav Gowda (MIT)
Title: Focus and penultimate vowel lengthening in Zulu
Time: Monday, December 9th, 5pm – 6:30pm
Location: 32-D831

Abstract: Many Bantu languages exhibit fixed placement of focus at the Immediately-After-the-Verb (IAV) position, which has been argued to be related to this position’s prosodic prominence. Elements in this position appear at the edge of a prosodic phrase, and are subject to penultimate vowel lengthening, which we take to be a form of phrasal stress which occurs at the right edge of every prosodic phrase. We present evidence from a production study in Zulu showing that the degree of penultimate vowel lengthening at the IAV is greater than at any other prosodic phrase edge, lending phonetic support to the claim that the IAV is prosodically prominent.