Cross-word morphologically conditioned scalar tone shift in Guébie


This paper presents data bearing on two key issues in morphophonological theory: 1) the domain of phonological evaluation, and 2) the item- versus process-morphology debate. I present data from Guébie (Kru) [Côte d’Ivoire] showing that imperfective aspect is exponed by a scalar shift in surface tone, which can affect either the tone of the inflected verb, or the subject noun phrase. There are four tone heights in Guébie, and the first syllable of a verb can underlyingly be associated with any of the four tones. In imperfective contexts only, that initial verb tone lowers one step on the four-tone scale. If the tone of the verb is already low, the final tone of the subject raises one step instead. This paper demonstrates that in order to account for the cross-word tonal effects of the imperfective morpheme, phonological evaluation must scope over more than one word at a time; specifically, it must scope over a syntactic phase. Additionally, I show that with phonological constraint rankings sensitive to morphosyntactic construction, no abstract phonological underlying form of the imperfective morpheme is necessary.

Hannah Sande
Publication date: 
June 28, 2018
Publication type: 
Recent Publication
Sande, H. (2018). Cross-word morphologically conditioned scalar tone shift in Guébie. Morphology, 28(3), 253-295.