Tura verbal tonology


  • Michael R. Marlo


Kinande, tone, noun stems


This article provides a comprehensive description and analysis of the verbal tone system of Tura, a previously undocumented dialect of Luyia (Bantu, Kenya, J.30). Tura has many tonal Patterns marking tense-aspect-mood-polarity distinctions that are characterized by a grammatical ("melodic") H tone on different positions of the verb stem. The realization of melodic Hs depends on the prosody of the verb stem (number of syllables, syllable weight, C-initial vs. V initial) and complex interactions with H-toned prefixes. Some melodic Hs surface whether or not there is a H-toned prefix; others do not surface after a H toned prefix; and one surfaces only in combination with a H-toned prefix. Some melodic Hs block the H of the reflexive from surfacing; others are blocked from surfacing by the reflexive H; and another surfaces along with the reflexive H. The article describes and analyzes these and other cross-melody differences in the Tura tonal system as well as variation between two speakers of the dialect.