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Ghost Consonants: The Glottal Stop in Kaansa
Stuart D. Showalter
96-110 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


A clear understanding of the functioning of the glottal stop in the Kaansa language provides a fundamental key to interpreting Kaansa morphology. This paper discusses the various functions of the glottal stop in Kaansa and demonstrates how these functions explain many of the morpho-phonological changes that occur in the language, and thus clarify the nature and behavior of the noun class suffixes, the personal pronouns, and complex verb morphology. The paper shows examples of the glottal stop as a remnant or 'ghost' consonant, as a signal of the diminutive in noun class suffixes, as a word initial consonant, and as a phonetic separator between vowels. The functioning of the glottal in Kaansa is compared to what is known in other Gur languages of the region, and particular attention is drawn to how this understanding of the glottal stop simplifies and clarifies Kaansa noun class and verb morphology initially treated by Miehe (1994, 1996a, 1996b). Finally, orthographic considerations for writing the glottal stop are presented.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 37th Annual Conference on African Linguistics
edited by Doris L. Payne and Jaime Peña
Table of contents
Printed edition: $250.00