This paper discusses the position of central 'schwa' vowels in the vowel harmony system of Moro, a Kordofanian language spoken in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. Moro has a height harmony system in which lower vowels raise to higher counterparts. Schwas can appear with both sets of harmonic vowels, suggesting that they are transparent to vowel harmony. Nevertheless, some morphemes contain only schwa, and while some of these schwas trigger raising, others do not. We present an acoustic analysis of schwas in different verb roots that suggests that Moro schwas are fully participatory in vowel harmony. There appear to be two kinds of schwas, a higher one that raises vowels, and a lower one that does not.
Selected Proceedings of the 44th Annual Conference on African Linguistics
edited by Ruth Kramer, Elizabeth C. Zsiga, and One Tlale Boyer Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-465-2 library binding
v + 301 pages
publication date: 2015
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA