Pre-nominal DP modifiers and penultimate lengthening in Xitsonga

Seunghun Lee, Kristina Riedel


Bantu languages generally have a noun-initial DP word order but they typically allow for demonstratives, and in some languages also the quantifier meaning ‘each, every’, to precede the noun. Beyond this, Bantu languages generally allow changing the relative order of the post-nominal modifiers which leads to subtle (focus-related) changes in meaning but not for adjectives, numerals and possessives to appear before the noun. In this paper, we discuss DP word order alternations that are allowable in Xitsonga and their effects on prosody in terms of penultimate lengthening and show that there is a stable, statistically significant effect on length which can be demonstrated experimentally.


focus; penultimate lengthening; Xitsonga; Bantu; syntax-prosody

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ISSN 2224-3380 (online); 1726-541X (print)

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