Balancing social determinism vs. sound change
Roslyn Burns
September 2023

This paper investigates the relationship between social and phonetic motivations for language change in Fang (Bantoid).While previous research has proposed that innovations in Fang arose due to social need and lack phoneticmotivation (Mve et al. 2019; Good, Di Carlo & Tschonghongei 2020), I propose that there is a phoneticmotivation and the social situation, at best, was a pathway for the innovation to gain wider adoption in the population. I provide comparative and language-internal evidence that the Fang innovations are driven by two interconnected processes, palatalization and spirantization, triggered by high vowels. These processes have been obscured synchronically in part due to the phonemicmerger of *i > ə in some parts of the paradigm, thus making the alternations look phonetically unmotivated.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007593
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Journal of Historical Linguistics
keywords: diachrony, phonology, labialvelar, palatalization, sound change, africa, bantu, bantoid, phonology
Downloaded:107 times


[ edit this article | back to article list ]