Vowel Harmony In Dagbani Dialects


  • Edward Salifu Mahama University for Development Studies, Ghana
  • Inusah Abdul-Razak University for Development Studies, Ghana




Vowel Harmony, Rounding, Backness, Bi-Directional, Dagbanli


A harmony system requires that two or more not-necessarily-adjacent segments must be similar or must resemble each other with respect to some feature(s). This paper examines vowel harmony in Dagbanli dialects focusing on harmony for rounding, backness and complete. The paper is premised on autosegmental representations that form the backbone of traditional non-linear analyses of harmony systems and give accounts of the primary features which reveal that Dagbanli has bi-directional harmonic spread. Based on the data, it is attested that two of the dialects deviate from the second canonical pattern(s) of [VF ...VF ...VF ...VF] which states that all vowels within a word show agreement for the harmonic feature. The paper suggests that the domain of vowel harmony in Dagbanli is the phonological word noting that [+ATR] vowels and [-ATR] vowels do not usually occur together in the same word as [+ATR] variants surface in CV words, [-ATR] vowels surface in CVC words and all non-final positions outside harmonic context where their [+ATR] variants do not occur. The paper concludes that while Tomosili dialect permits harmonic canonical pattern, Nayahili and Nanunli deviates by presenting polarity and in the harmonic domain, the mid vowels surface as [+ATR] indicating a right-to-left spread of the feature [+ATR].


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How to Cite

Mahama, E. S., & Abdul-Razak, I. (2023). Vowel Harmony In Dagbani Dialects. Canadian Journal of Language and Literature Studies, 3(6), 1–13. https://doi.org/10.53103/cjlls.v3i6.133