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Database

Oromo

(Ethiopia, Kenya; Afro-Asiatic, Cushitic)

Summary:
An ejective alveolar stop and alveolar nasal metathesize.
Examples:
fit’ + na ---> ‘finish + we’ ---> (fint’a --> finDa) ---> ‘we finish’
lit’ + na ---> ‘enter + we’ ---> (lint’a --> linDa) ---> ‘we enter’
Conditions:
Metathesis affects only coronals. When an ejective velar stop occurs before /n/, metathesis fails to apply.
nak’ + na ---> ‘put on + we’ ---> nak’na ---> *nank’a ---> ‘we put on’
Motivation:
Perceptual Enhancement (for related discussion see Hume 1998): Prevocalic position is a particularly favorable position for the realization of stop consonants, given the presence of both a vowel transition and release burst in this context. In preconsonantal position, on the other hand, no audible release of the stop is present. Thus, shifting the ejective alveolar stop to prevocalic position may strengthen the syntagmatic contrast between the stop and contiguous nasal. In the case of nasals, anticipatory coarticulation in the form of vowel nasalization on a preceding vowel provides cues to the nasal's manner of articulation.
Related Information:
Obstruent assimilation affects coronal obstruents followed by nasals:
(fid + na --> finna) ---> *fidna ---> ‘we boast’
(gaalot + ni --> gaalonni) ---> *gaalotni ---> ‘camels NOM’

Implosivization changes /nt’/ to [nD]: only one lexical item with [nt’] is observed in the language; all other sequences are [nD]. This is not simply a voicing process, since /nt/ does not change to [nd]:
gan + ta ---> ‘deny + you’ ---> ganta ---> *ganda ---> ‘you deny’
Symbols:
D = implosive stop

Last Updated: 6/18/2007
References:
eliabeth hume's home page | OSU Linguistics home page