Nominal tonology and spreading rules in Tagbana (Fròʔò dialect)


  • Annie Rialland CNRS/Sorbonne-Nouvelle
  • Yranahan Traore University of Frankfurt
  • Caroline Féry University of Frankfurt



Tonal system, Tagbana, floating tones, sandhi rules, prosodic structure


 In this article, nominal tonology of Tagbana, a Senufo language of Côte d’Ivoire is investigated. The contribution of this article is twofold as it concerns the whole tonal system, including lexical tones, sandhi tone rules, and the organisation of the prosodic hierarchy. It is shown that Tagbana has three level tones (L, M, H) and two floating tones (H) and (L). A mid tone (M) at the end of a noun is always followed by a floating tone (either H or L), which might be a historic trace left by the tone of a Class Marker. Two clusters of sandhi tonal rules are shown to play a role, called ‘Mid Replacement rules’ (RepM) and ‘Spreading rules on H & L’ (SprH&L). The domains of the sandhi tonal rules are studied in some detail, from the Minimal Prosodic Word (root + class marker), the Intermediate and Maximal Prosodic Words (nominal and adjectival compounds), the Prosodic Phrases (particularly in object + verb constructions), to the Intonational Phrase. Considering the prosodic levels above the Minimal Prosodic Word, more tonal sandhi processes are found to apply in smaller prosodic domains than in larger ones. 


Metrics Loading ...