Phonological allomorphy in Swahili on the form of inanimate pronominal clitics


  • Camillia N. Barrett-Keach


Swahili, relative pronoun, agreement, syntax, autosegmental phonology, morphology, epenthesis


Swahili has two forms of inanimate pronominal clitics. One, like the relative pronouns, typically ends with /o/ and the other, like the subject agreement affixes, are never /o/ final. According to the traditionalists, a semantic feature associated with /o/ differentiates two sets of clitics semantically as well as phonetically. The present account argues that the two sets do not form separate morphemes. They are instead allomorphs of the same morpheme derived by a phonological rule, o-Epenthesis, which suffixes /o/ onto any constituent final pronominal clitic. This virtually exceptionless account provides synchronic evidence for a dual constituent analysis of the verbal complex. The discussion of such well known forms adopts basic assumptions from lexical and auto segmental phonology.