Grammaticalization in Somali and the development of morphological tone

Nina Hagen Kaldhol, Sverre Stausland Johnsen


We demonstrate how grammaticalization may cause the restructuring of prosodic systems, leading to the development of new prosodic types. Illustrated with data from Northern Somali and related varieties, we show how a restricted tone system has developed into one of morphological tone through grammatical­ization of independent words to bound forms. Diachronic change has weakened the “accentual” properties of the High tone in Somali, and the tone patterns are synchronically best analyzed as properties of morphological constructions rather than of prosodic domains.


Somali; grammaticalization; univerbation; morphological tone; prosodic typology

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