This paper is a description of the phonology of the eleven-phoneme vowel system of Anii, an underdescribed Kwa language spoken in Togo and Benin, West Africa. The focus of this paper is on the [ATR]-based vowel harmony system found in Anii, in particular the unusual behavior of the central vowels. The data used here was collected during fieldwork in Bassila, Benin in 2009, and comes from the Bassila dialect of Anii. The paper also explores the possible historical origins of the eleventh Anii vowel, a mid-central /ə/, and discusses how the /ə/ in Anii behaves differently from /ə/ in other African languages with [ATR] harmony. This paper gives insight into the typology of [ATR] harmony in African languages, and provides evidence that the Anii vowel system results from an historic phonemic split, rather than the mergers often proposed in the history of African vowel systems.
Selected Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African Languages in Context
edited by Michael R. Marlo, Nikki B. Adams, Christopher R. Green, Michelle Morrison, and Tristan M. Purvis
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