On the non-polarity of Kipsigis across-the-board polarity
Armel Jolin
May 2023

In Kipsigis (Southern Nilotic, Nilo-Saharan), nominative case realization is exclusively signalled via tonal alternations. In nominal modifiers, this results in a pattern whereby H(igh)-toned syllables in the nominative correspond to L(ow)-toned syllables in the oblique (OBL), and nominative L-toned syllables have H-toned OBL counterparts. This has led Kouneli and Nie (2021) to argue that the Kipsigis pattern instantiates a unique type of morphophonological polarity with respect to tone, which is better handled by item-and-process approaches to the morphology-phonology interface. In this article I reply to these two claims. First, I show that the characterization of the Kipsigis pattern as polar is incorrect once a broader set of facts is considered. Second, I demonstrate that item-and-arrangement approaches are still superior to item-and-process ones in accounting for this pattern, since it is possible to analyze it in a purely concatenative way and without resorting to morpheme-specific phonology.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007318
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: NELS 53 proceedings
keywords: kipsigis, grammatical tone, morphophonological polarity, phonology
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