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Dropping of the Class-Prefix Consonant, Vowel Elision and Automatic Phonological Mining in Embosi (Bantu C 25)
Annie Rialland, Martial Embanga Aborobongui, Martine Adda-Decker, and Lori Lamel
221-230 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Some phonological phenomena in Embosi (a Bantu C language, spoken in Congo-Brazzaville) are revisited. The dropping of the consonant of the class prefix consonant before a stem beginning with a consonant is reanalysed as resulting from a dissimilation targeting the consonantal root node. It is shown that the dropped consonant leaves an empty C position, which is signaled by a compensatory lengthening associated with vowel elision at phonological word junctions. A text-to-speech alignment system designed for French was adapted to Embosi in order to perform phonological data mining. With the help of a pronunciation dictionary with variants, speech-to-text alignments could be scanned for vowel elisions, providing quantitative data on vowel elisions with/without compensatory lengthening. Experimental corpus-based results feature an increase of 40% in vowel duration (100ms) at phonological word junctions with empty C as compared to average short vowel durations (70ms). The current results are based on a small annotated corpus and ought to be confirmed on the basis of a larger corpus.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference on African Linguistics
edited by Ruth Kramer, Elizabeth C. Zsiga, and One Tlale Boyer
Table of contents
Printed edition: $320.00