ABOUT THIS BOOK
This book brings together a collection of papers focusing on the tonal systems of the Bantu languages of sub-Saharan Africa. These papers are alike in their attempt to fuse the description of Bantu tone with linguistic theory, but at the same time reflect a range of such theoretical perspectives (autosegmental phonology, lexical phonology, Optimality Theory, Optimal Domains Theory). Much new descriptive material is to be found in this collection, as well as attempts to bring Bantu tonology to bear on critical issues of phonological theory. This collection of papers stands as a testimony to the benefits to be gained from the marriage of theory and description.
This book provides new theoretical insights and analyses of the complexities known to characterize Bantu tone systems. Three of the articles indicate not only how one can apply the concepts of rapidly developing Optimality Theory, but also how the latter can be shaped by the unique features found in these languages. While two of the contributions use standard OT, the third by Cassimjee and Kisseberth provides a detailed introduction of Optimal Domains Theory (ODT) and its application to a number of Bantu tone systems. These and other articles provide new insights into the treatment of long-distance tonal effects, tonal domains, depressor consonants, and other issues known through the autosegmental and metrical literature on tone. The collection features contributors from both sides of the Atlantic and contributions that have both synchronic and diachronic significance for the field.