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The emergence of retroflexion in Somali Bantu Kizigua: internal motivation or contact-induced change?

Tse, Holman (2014) The emergence of retroflexion in Somali Bantu Kizigua: internal motivation or contact-induced change? Comprehensive Paper, University of Pittsburgh.

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This paper provides an analysis of how a set of three retroflex stops historically emerged in Somali Bantu Kizigua. The stops include a retroflex implosive, a voiced retroflex pre-nasalized stop, and a voiceless retroflex pre-nasalized stop. Primary sources of data include missionary texts from the late 19th and early 20th Centuries as well as more recently collected data from consultant work. Diachronic comparison of the data suggests that retroflexion developed some time after a group of Kizigua speakers from Tanzania migrated to Somalia in the 19th Century. In accounting for the emergence of these stops, this paper considers both internal and external motivation. A review of the literature on retroflexion, however, shows no known reason to account for why a language would independently develop retroflex pre-nasalized stops, although there is precedence for retroflex implosives. Much stronger evidence is available to support an account based on external motivation. The history of Kizigua speakers suggests that migration from Tanzania to Somalia followed by the subsequent establishment of the maroon community of Gosha created social conditions that facilitated contact with speakers of other languages including Chimwiini, a genetically related Bantu language that contains retroflex stops. I argue that Chimwiini was the most influential language due to both its lingua franca status and its genetic relatedness. I also argue that transfer of retroflexion from Chimwiini to Kizigua involved a two-part process of language shift and that shift-induced interference rather than borrowing (following Thomason & Kaufman’s 1988 distinction) better account for the diachronic data. The implication of genetic relatedness is that there is a high degree of both lexical and phonological similarity between the two languages. This would have facilitated a set of externally motivated changes in a patterned way resulting in an outcome that appears similar to one expected due to internal motivation. This paper contributes to the literature in socio-historical and contact linguistics by accounting for a typologically unusual sound change that has not been previously described and by discussing an under-researched historical case of migration and language in a pre-colonial context.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Comprehensive Paper)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tse, Holmanhbt3@pitt.eduHBT30000-0002-2398-5776
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee MemberKiesling, Scott Fkiesling@pitt.eduKIESLING0000-0003-4954-1038
Date: 18 April 2014
Date Type: Submission
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Comprehensive Paper
Refereed: No
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mushunguli, sound, change, retroflexion, shift-induced, interference, genetic, relatedness
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2015 13:51
Last Modified: 03 May 2024 16:37


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