By Christopher Ehret
Nilo-Saharan is likely one of the 4 significant language households at the African continent. It extends eastwards from the Niger to Western Ethiopia and additional southwards to Northern Tanzania. whereas the prestige of Nilo-Saharan as a phylum has been principally accredited considering the fact that Greenberg (1963), the inner type has remained debatable. the current quantity is meant as a decisive contribution in the direction of the verification of the interior courting of the Nilo-Saharan languages. utilizing normal sound correspondences for verifying degrees of inner courting was once began within the Eighties, yet this paintings takes up the consequences completed hitherto and maintains from this foundation. New assets are considered: except reconstructing consonants, vowels and tone, the research additionally comprises derivational and inflectional morphology in addition to pronouns. The e-book includes major components. the 1st half (chapter 2-8) is devoted to the reconstruction of consonants, vowels and tone, to the subclassification of Nilo-Saharan, verbal and nominal derivation, inflection and the pronominal approach. the second one half (chapter nine) is an etymological dictionary of 1,606 roots, complemented via annotations and reflexes of the roots within the specific languages. greater than 10,000 roots are pointed out at once. The research of the 1st half (chapter 2-8) is predicated at the facts prepared in bankruptcy nine. an important results of Ehret's paintings issues the connection of Songay within the Nilo-Saharan context. the writer argues convincingly that Songay can be considered as an vital member of the Nilo-Saharan relations. Connections with Mande has to be noticeable as borrowings from Songay into Mande. additionally, the demonstrated usual sound correspondences and the reconstructed Proto-Nilo-Saharan vocabulary permit for drawing up phonological histories of every language and distinguishing among mortgage as opposed to long term inherited phrases.
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This explosion of mechanisms is reflected in the notation, so Change, Chance, and Optimality with tableaux becoming more complex and creatively presented by the day: we now find (see Bermudez-Otero 1999: 14, 146) not only the familiar pointy hands, but pointy hands pointing backwards ~ for transparent losing candidates, sad faces ® for counterfactually losing candidates, stars ~ and flowers @ in cases of sympathy, and unexploded bombs ~: for counterfactually winning candidates. It is comforting to know that the Wingdings font still includes any number of unused fancy arrows and other arcana like signs of the zodiac, ripe for OT exploitation.
These seem fairly cut-and-dried statements, and instead of parametric variation, Prince and Smolensky presumably envisage such constraints as ranking high in languages like Lardil, but low to the point of invisibility in languages where geminates or f t occur frequently. This implies that there are innate constraints referring to every possible segment or sequence type, and that the learner has to suppress these constraints during acquisition in rather the way 22 Change, Chance, and Optimality assumed in Natural Generative Phonology, where children are seen as suspending natural rules which they are predisposed to apply, just in case these are not manifested in the relevant input data (Stampe 1972; Donegan 1993).
For intrusive [r], McCarthy's r-insertion rule will be indexed with FINAL-C, and constitutes a repair strategy triggered by violation of that constraint, the interaction between the two being determined by the Elsewhere Condition. For this proposal to work, however, Blevins must reject the parallel version of Gen preferred by Prince and Smolensky (1993) for an alternative serial-sequential model. It is clear that this interesting approach will circumscribe Gen, but various open questions remain.