This post-doctoral research fellowships focuses on the phonology and morphology of Nupe, a Nupoid language spoken in Central Nigeria and its contribution to phonological theory. It follows up on research, which examined intralinguistic variation in different domains of Nupe phonology and morphology and the implications for Optimality Theory, and it will focus on various aspects of its phonology and morphology in the light of recent developments in phonological theory. The research will involve a comprehensive description of the sound system of Nupe. A reanalysis of various controversial aspects of its phonology will be undertaken. This includes the distribution of segments, and the best analysis of /Cwa/ and /Cja/ sequences in such forms as /egwa/ 'hand' and /egja/ `blood'. These sequences are open to different analyses in different languages, depending on the phonotactics, morphological distribution, and prosodic considerations of the language in question. The sequences will be experimentally investigated with a view to determining their true phonetic characteristics in Nupe. The study of the morphology of the language will be concerned with describing its word structure, namely the structure of formatives, phonotactics, prosody, and word formation processes such as nominalization and reduplication in the context of recent developments in morphological theory. These facets of its morphology have implications for phonological and morphological theory that have not been previously explored. This research will explore these implications, and the dimensions that they bring to linguistic theory. The phonetic basis of such phonological processes as palatalization, labialization, nasalization, assimilation, and glide formation will be experimentally investigated in order to discover their interaction with Nupe prosody. Such other processes as consonant and vowel elision that interact with the prosody will be studied, and their implications for phonological theory identified and explained. The tonal system of Nupe will be studied with particular focus on its complexities, which include consonant-tone interaction in noun and verb phrases, and the interaction of tone and intonation. The experimental investigation of tone will reveal the similarities and differences between Nupe and other tone languages that have been reported to exhibit intonation features. The aim is to discover whether all three tone systems have similar intonational systems. The results of this research will be of interest not only to researchers and scholars in descriptive and theoretical linguistics, but also to those in experimental linguistics, computational linguistics, philosophy of language, psycholinguistics, language acquisition, and cognitive science.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Division of Social and Economic Sciences (SES)
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Fahmida N. Chowdhury
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Kawu, Ahmadu N
New Brunswick
United States
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