The Prosody of Shingazidja Relatives: an Update

  • Cédric Patin University of Lille
Keywords: relatives, Shingazidja, Bantu, Intonation, Prosody-Syntax Interface, Eurythmic constraints


Much work has been done in recent years on the prosody of relative clauses in Bantu languages (see among others Downing et al. 2010), and this is also the case for Shingazidja, a Bantu language of the Comoros (Patin 2010), for which it has been established that restrictive relatives differ from non-restrictive ones in that the latter, contrary to restrictives, have the relative separated from its head by a prosodic boundary, as in other languages (Cheng & Kula 2006, Cheng & Downing 2007). However, many aspects of the prosody of Shingazidja relatives remain to be established. In particular, the question of whether relatives are in this language aligned with the boundaries of Intonational phrases remained undetermined, as the H% boundary tone that characterizes these prosodic structures when they do not emerge at the end of an utterance (see O'Connor & Patin 2015) is not always observable in the data (Patin 2017). The descriptive exam of a corpus collected in 2009 indicates that a H% boundary tone does emerge at the right boundary of the relative, but that i. this tone is associated with the last surface tone and not with the last vowel, on the one hand, and ii. that it is absent from a restrictive if the restrictive relative is of reduced size, revealing that eurhythmic constraints condition the prosodic structure of these clauses.