Skip to main content Accessibility help

An articulatory view of Kinyarwanda coronal harmony*

  • Rachel Walker (a1), Dani Byrd (a1) and Fidèle Mpiranya (a2)

Coronal harmony in Kinyarwanda causes alveolar fricatives to become postalveolar preceding a postalveolar fricative within a stem. Alveolar and postalveolar stops, affricates and palatals block coronal harmony, but the flap and non-coronal consonants are reported to be transparent. Kinematic data on consonant production in Kinyarwanda were collected using electromagnetic articulography. The mean angle for the line defined by receivers placed on the tongue tip and blade was calculated over the consonant intervals. Mean angle reliably distinguished alveolar and postalveolar fricatives, with alveolars showing a lower tip relative to blade. Mean angle during transparent non-coronal consonants showed a higher tip relative to blade than in contexts without harmony, and the mean angle during transparent [m] was not significantly different than during postalveolar fricatives. This is consistent with a model where Kinyarwanda coronal harmony extends a continuous tip-blade gesture, causing it to be present during ‘transparent’ segments, but without perceptible effect.

Hide All
Benus, Stefan & Gafos, Adamantios (2007). Articulatory characteristics of Hungarian ‘transparent’ vowels. JPh 35. 271300.
Benus, Stefan, Gafos, Adamantios & Goldstein, Louis (2004). Phonetics and phonology of transparent vowels in Hungarian. BLS 29. 485497.
Campos-Astorkiza, Rebeka (2007). Minimal contrast and the phonology–phonetics interaction. PhD dissertation, University of Southern California.
Clements, G. N. (2001). Representational economy in constraint-based phonology. In Hall, T. Alan (ed.) Distinctive feature theory. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 71146.
Coupez, André (1980). Abrégé de grammaire rwanda. Butare: Institut National de Recherche Scientifique.
Downing, Laura J. (2005). On the ambiguous segmental status of nasals in homorganic NC sequences. In van Oostendorp, Marc & van de Weijer, Jeroen (eds.) The internal organization of phonological segments. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 183216.
Dyck, Carrie (1995). Constraining the phonology-phonetics interface, with exemplification from Spanish and Italian dialects. PhD dissertation, University of Toronto.
Flemming, Edward (1995). Vowels undergo consonant harmony. Paper presented at TREND (Trilateral Phonology Weekend), University of California, Berkeley.
Flemming, Edward (2003). The relationship between coronal place and vowel backness. Phonology 20. 335373.
Gafos, Adamantios (1996). The articulatory basis of locality in phonology. PhD dissertation, Johns Hopkins University. Published 1999, New York: Garland.
Gafos, Adamantios (1998). Eliminating long-distance consonantal spreading. NLLT 16. 223278.
Gafos, Adamantios & Benus, Stefan (2003). On neutral vowels in Hungarian. In Solé, M. J., Recasens, D. & Romero, J. (eds.) Proceedings of the 15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Barcelona: Causal Productions. 7780.
Gafos, Adamantios & Benus, Stefan (2006). Dynamics of phonological cognition. Cognitive Science 30. 139.
Gick, Bryan, Pulleyblank, Douglas, Campbell, Fiona & Mutaka, Ngessimo (2006). Low vowels and transparency in Kinande vowel harmony. Phonology 23. 120.
Hamann, Silke (2003). The phonetics and phonology of retroflexes. PhD dissertation, University of Utrecht.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2001). Theoretical and typological issues in consonant harmony. PhD dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2006). Understanding harmony as agreement. Paper presented at the 80th Annual Meeting of the Linguistic Society of America, Albuquerque.
Hansson, Gunnar Ólafur (2007). Blocking effects in agreement by correspondence. LI 38. 395409.
Harjula, Lotta (2004). The Ha language of Tanzania: grammar, texts and vocabulary. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe.
Jouannet, Francis (1983). Phonétique et phonologie: le système consonantique du kinyarwanda. In Jouannet, Francis (ed.) Le Kinyarwanda, langue bantu du Rwanda: études linguistiques. Paris: SELAF. 5573.
Kimenyi, Alexandre (1979). Studies in Kinyarwanda and Bantu phonology. Carbondale & Edmonton: Linguistic Research Inc.
Krull, D., Lindblom, B., Shia, B.-E. & Fruchter, D. (1995). Cross-linguistic aspects of coarticulation: an acoustic and electropalatographic study of retroflex consonants. In Elenius, Kjell & Branderud, Peter (eds.) Proceedings of the 13th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences. Vol. 3. Stockholm: KTH & Stockholm University. 436439.
Ladefoged, Peter (2005). Vowels and consonants. 2nd edn.Malden, Mass.: Blackwell.
Ladefoged, Peter & Maddieson, Ian (1996). The sounds of the world's languages. Cambridge, Mass. & Oxford: Blackwell.
McCarthy, John J. (2007). Consonant harmony via correspondence: evidence from Chumash. In Bateman, Leah, O'Keefe, Michael, Reilly, Ehren & Werle, Adam (eds.) Papers in Optimality Theory III. Amherst: GLSA. 223237.
Mpiranya, Fidèle (1998). Perspective fonctionnelle en linguistique comparée des langues bantu. Lyon: CEL.
Mpiranya, Fidèle & Walker, Rachel (2005). Kinyarwanda sibilant harmony and coronal opacity. Paper presented at GLOW 28, University of Geneva.
Myers, Scott (2005). Vowel duration and neutralization of vowel length contrasts in Kinyarwanda. JPh 33. 427446.
Ní Chiosáin, Máire & Padgett, Jaye (1997). Markedness, segment realization, and locality in spreading. Report LRC-97-01, Linguistics Research Center, University of California, Santa Cruz.
Ní Chiosáin, Máire & Padgett, Jaye (2001). Markedness, segment realization, and locality in spreading. In Lombardi, Linda (ed.) Segmental phonology in Optimality Theory: constraints and representations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 118156.
Ntihirageza, Jeanine (1993). Kirundi palatalization and sibilant harmony: implications for feature geometry. MA thesis, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.
Puppel, Stanisław, Nawrocka-Fisiak, Jadwiga & Krassowska, Halina (1977). A handbook of Polish pronunciation for English learners. Warsaw: Państwowe Wydawnictwo Naukowe.
Rose, Sharon & Walker, Rachel (2004). A typology of consonant agreement as correspondence. Lg 80. 475531.
Rugege, Geoffrey (1984). A study of Kinyarwanda complementation (Rwanda, Uganda, Zaire). PhD dissertation, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Shaw, Patricia A. (1991). Consonant harmony systems: the special status of coronal harmony. In Paradis, Carole & Prunet, Jean-François (eds.) The special status of coronals: internal and external evidence. New York: Academic Press. 125157.
Sibomana, Leonidas (1974). Deskriptive Tonologie des Kinyarwaanda. Hamburg: Buske.
Steriade, Donca (1986). A note on coronal. Ms, MIT.
Steriade, Donca (1995). Positional neutralization. Ms, University of California, Los Angeles.
Steriade, Donca (2001). Directional asymmetries in place assimilation: a perceptual account. In Hume, Elizabeth & Johnson, Keith (eds.) The role of speech perception in phonology. San Diego: Academic Press. 219250.
Stone, Maureen (1991). Toward a model of three-dimensional tongue movement. JPh 19. 309320.
Tiede, Mark K., Vatikiotis-Bateson, Eric, Hoole, Philip & Yehia, Hani (1999). Magnetometer data acquisition and analysis software for speech production research. ATR Technical Report TR–H 1999. Kyoto: ATR Human Information Processing Labs.
Walker, Rachel (2005). Weak triggers in vowel harmony. NLLT 23. 917989.
Walker, Rachel & Mpiranya, Fidèle (2006). On triggers and opacity in coronal harmony. BLS 31. 383394.
Wiltshire, Caroline & Goldstein, Louis (1997). Tongue tip orientation and coronal consonants. In Austin, J. & Lawson, A. (eds.) Proceedings of the Eastern States Conference on Linguistics 14. 216225.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

  • ISSN: 0952-6757
  • EISSN: 1469-8188
  • URL: /core/journals/phonology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed