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Bookmark and Share Paper 2571

Ghost Segments in Nguni
Galen Sibanda
130-145 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Nguni languages have some segments that alternate with zero. These segments surface for various reasons such as minimality requirements for a prosodic word and the onset requirement in the imperative mood. While several reasons have been given for their surfacing, what has not been clear is why it is specifically these segments that surface and not any other. This paper argues that these segments have to do with historical changes. They can in fact be treated as present in the underlying structure of a word. Words associated with ghost segments are analyzed as having allomorphic forms, one form normally treated as regular and the other with a ghost segment.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African Languages and Linguistics Today
edited by Eyamba G. Bokamba, Ryan K. Shosted, and Bezza Tesfaw Ayalew
Table of contents
Printed edition: $290.00