Vowel Replacement Patterns in the Mfantse Dialect of Akan
Received: Jul 28, 2013; Revised: Aug 22, 2013; Accepted: Sep 06, 2013
Published Online: Jan 01, 2017
This paper investigates synchronic vowel replacement patterns in the Mfantse dialect of Akan. Hitherto, the Akan vowel harmony system has been the only aspect of vowel replacement process that has received extensive study in the literature, albeit a variety of ways by which vowel replacement comes about in the language exists. In this paper, therefore, we have organised V-replacement into vertical and horizontal vowel shifts. The vertical vowel shift has been subcategorized into upward and downward shifts which may also be referred to as vowel raising and vowel lowering, respectively. The direction of horizontal V shifting system is also parametric whereby a trigger vowel may spread leftwards or right- wards to a target vowel on its left or right, respectively. Furthermore, it will be demonstrated in this paper that a consonant might ostensibly condition vowel replacements in Mfantse but, in reality, such replacements are often brought about by floating vowels. This does not obscure the fact that labial and labial pala- talized glides in Mfantse invariably induce replacement of the vowels that precede them.