Esquisse de la tonologie synchronique de Wemɛgbe dialecte Gbe du sud-Benin


  • Flavien Gbeto


tone, phonology, Wemebge


In this paper I show that Wemegbe, a language spoken in southern Benin, has two underlying tones, H and L, and that the surface tones M, LH and HL are derived by phonological rules. A H tone is inserted after an initial prevocalic voiceless obstruent (occurring in non verbals), creating a HL contour tone, when the vowel of the syllable is L toned. The LH tone is derived through a rightspreading rule from a L' prefix tone, which is postulated for all verbs in their imperative forms and for all nouns. Of particular interest is the fact that the rightward spreading rule for L' is blocked by a voiceless obstruent. Finally, the M tone is derived through a L-Raising rule. This analysis shows that not only can vowels be TBUs in the world's languages, but also initial root consonants can be.