On the origin of tonal classes in Kinande noun stems


  • Michael Kenstowicz


Luganda, morphology, aspect, mood


This paper investigates the Proto-Bantu origins of the principal tonal classes in Kinande nonderived mono- and disyllabic nominal stems. The temary H vs. L vs. 0 distinction in the final syllable of the current language is traced back to a binary H vs. L contrast in Proto Bantu on the basis of two strata of reconstruction: first, a shallow one based on c. 200 PB cognates shared with the closely related Lacustrine languages Runyankore, Haya, and lita, and second, a deeper one based on c. 100 PB cognates shared with the more distantly related Congolese languages Tembo, Luba, and Lingala. A chronology of tone changes is postulated in which different sequencing of the same changes as well as altemative phonologizations of ambiguous phonetic structures playa key role.