Consonant mutation in Seereer-Siin


  • Fiona McLaughlin


consonant mutation, Seereer-Siind, noun class


This study presents a description and analysis of stem-initial consonant mutation within the nominal system of Seereer-Siin, a West Atlantic language closely related to Fula. Two distinct mutation patterns are isolated. The first consists of a voiced stop--voiceless stop--prenasalized stop set of alternations, while the second is a Fula-like pattern consisting of continuant-stop-pre nasalized stop alternations. Consonant mutation is shown to be the result of the prefixation of a class marker that contains a floating autosegment which associates to an underspecified stem-initial consonant. Both mutation patterns occur in the same morphological environments, thereby presenting a potential problem for an auto segmental analysis: e.g., How can we account for the occurrence of continuants and voiced stops in the same environment? By positing different underlying forms for each of the mutation patterns we show how consonant mutation in Seereer is quite complex but also more regular than previously thought.