University of Pennsylvania Working Papers in Linguistics


This paper investigates Vowel Harmony (VH) in the verbs of Mbili, a Grassfield Bantu Language spoken in the North West province of Cameroon. I show that the vowel harmony in both the root and derived verbs can be analyzed in a simple and straightforward way by using concepts of prosodic phonology. I argue that there are only three vowels in the underlying representation, which are the central low vowel, the central high vowel and the schwa. There is a separate tier where all the vowel features cumulate at the beginning of the root. Vowel features spread within metrical foot from left to right. When the central low vowel and the schwa are within the metrical foot, they get the vowel features, otherwise they surface as the central low vowel or the schwa. In contrast, the central high vowel resists vowel harmony.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.