The importance of word order in explaining tone patterns in Avokaya verbs


  • Eileen Kilpatrick
  • Leoma Gilley


Avokaya, Sudanic, tone, syllables, phonology


This paper presents a set of ordered rules accounting for tone changes that occur in Avokaya verbs. The most prevalent shape for Avokaya verbs is monosyllabic. Disyllabic verbs roots behave the same way as disyllabic verbs which are composed of a derivational prefix plus a monosyllabic verb root. The derivational prefixation process is the same for verbs in all grammatical constructions. Verbs in SVO constructions and SOV constructions are treated separately, since different rules apply for these two sets of constructions. Avokaya syllables may carry a high, mid, low or rising tone, but not a falling tone. In this analysis of Avokaya, we show that the expected HL tone pattern has merged to form a M tone in the verbal system.