Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

08.02. Afrikalinguistisches Kolloquium: Phonotactics and word formation in Limassa (Winkhart)

“Phonotactics and word formation in Limassa (Ubangi, Niger-Congo)” - Vortrag von Benedikt Winkhart (HU Berlin, Ph.D. project) im Rahmen des (digitalen) Afrikalinguistischen Kolloquiums
  • Wann 08.02.2022 von 16:15 bis 17:45
  • Wo Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften, Invalidenstr. 118, Raum 410 & Zoom-Übertragung
  • Name des Kontakts Christfried Naumann (christfried.naumann (AT) hu-berlin.de, bitte kontaktieren bzgl. Zugangsinformationen per Zoom)
  • iCal


Limassa is a hitherto undescribed language of the Baka-Gundi branch of the Mundu-Baka family (UBANGI), spoken along the Sangha River in the north of the Republic of the Congo. Since it has only few speakers and is highly endangered to become extinct, the central goal of my dissertation project is a thorough linguistic description. This talk will address the phonotactics of Limassa and how its rules fundamentally shape this language. I will describe which syllable types are permissible and which characteristics but also which limitations there are across the lexicon. Building upon this, I will give an overview of the valid word shapes that result from the existing syllable types. However, morphological validity does not account for phonological validity in the case of Limassa. Therefore, a distinction must be made between grammatical and prosodic words. The prosodic unit of the mora is crucial in this respect. Limassa enforces phonotactic regulations through its lexicon, which are known as minimality constraints. Such constraints are driven by the need to prosodically augment otherwise subminimal words. In Limassa, a phonologically valid word must consist of at least two morae. This phenomenon affects large parts of the lexicon, namely all content words, which will be at the focus of discussion. In fact, Limassa has a largely monosyllabic repertoire, a substantial proportion of which is also monomoraic. Thus, in order to produce permitted words, the language interposes morphophonological solution paths. To shed light on these, I present the different strategies of word formation that take effect.