Logoori Grammatical Tone: A Distributed Morphology Analysis


  • Marjorie Pak Emory University


Like many Bantu languages, Logoori has a rich system of TAM-marking on verbs via segmental affixes as well as tones. Odden 2018 identifies several ‘tonal melodies’ that are assigned to verbs depending on TAM specification (e.g. -kárààng- ‘to fry’/-kàrááng- ‘and then fried’). Exactly how these melodies are analyzed—as tonal affixes, morphophonological tweaks, or a combination of these—remains an open theoretical question. This paper offers an analysis based in Distributed Morphology, a piece-based theory that allows for limited morphophonological readjustment. I argue that the Logoori infinitive/consecutive alternation can be derived via the same PF operations as e.g. English keep/kept—affixation, morphophonology, and general phonology—underscoring a more general claim that tonal and segmental morphology can be handled with the same theoretical tools.