Downstep and fusion in Namwanga 1

Lee S. Bickmore a1
a1 University at Albany, State University of New York


Namwanga is a Bantu language spoken in the Northern province of Zambia.In this paper I would like to present an overview of Namwanga verbal tonology, specifically focusing on the issue of where downstep occurs and how best to account for it. It will be argued that the surface distribution of downstep can be most insightfully accounted for if one assumes that many of the underlying H's fuse together. Determining which H's fuse and which do not is quite complex and the subject of rigorous examination.


1 I would like to acknowledge my gratitude to my Namwanga-speaking consultant, Betty Chela, who recently passed away. Without her participation and patience the present work would not have been possible. Special thanks also goes to Alfred and Mereby Sikazwe for providing mylodging in Zambia while this field work was carried out. Finally, I would also like to thank three anonymous reviewers from Phonology, whose comments greatly aided me in improving this paper. Any errors, omissions or inconsistencies are entirely my own.