Njerep a postcard from the edge


  • Bruce Connell
  • David Zeitlyn


Kunama, tones, downstep, vowel length, stress, phonology


Kunama has been reported by different scholars as having two or three tones, downstep (or not), contrastive length of both consonants and vowels, and lexical stress. Despite this range of reported phenomena, little in-depth research into the prosodic system of Kunama has been undertaken. The aim of the present study is to report such a detailed investigation and to establish on a solid footing basic aspects of the tonal system of Kunama. The work reported is preliminary in the sense that its scope is limited: we present phonological and phonetic evidence for the existence of three level tones, which can combine to form a number of contour tones. This is followed by discussion of tonal phenomena in the noun phrase. No evidence for lexical stress is found.