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Document Details :

Title: The Melodic Tone Pattern in Basaa
Author(s): MAKASSO, Emmanuel-Moselly
Journal: Africana Linguistica
Volume: 20    Date: 2014   
Pages: 225-241
DOI: 10.2143/AL.20.0.3062070

Abstract :
Basaa, a Narrow Bantu language (A43) spoken in Cameroon, displays a two-tone lexical contrast, L and H. The aim of this paper is to describe a process found as part of verb inflection, termed Melodic Tone. This phenomenon reflects a tonal morpheme which accompanies certain TAMs in Basaa. Basaa displays only one melodic tone, the High tone (MH), which applies to almost all TAMs except the infinitive, which is in this language a noun. The melodic tone docks onto the final TBU and spreads leftward in the verb, and in certain cases rightward to the object. There are thus three patterns in the language: one involving no additional Hs, used in infinitives, and two patterns for inflected verbs, one where there is a constant melodic H, and one where a H is introduced phrase-medially.

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