Tonal feet and the adaptation of English borrowings into Hausa


  • W. R. Leben


Hausa, tone, loanwords, prosody


This paper investigates how Hausa places a tonal interpretation on stress in English borrowings. A key intermediary in this process is the tonal foot, which is maximally disyllabic. Tonal feet are of two kinds, in complementary distribution in the data. One is interpreted as HL, or falling-toned, the other as High-toned. The analysis represents a significant advance over the less highly structured view that a simple substitution algorithm replaces stresses with tones, e.g., High tone for-stressed syllables and Low tone for unstressed. This provides a boost for the status of the tonal foot as a prosodic constituent. The analysis also has implications for Hausa non-loan word phonology in that it suggests a natural reinterpretation of claims made by Newman and Jaggar [1989].