An Optimality Theoretic account of the Phonology of Kisa (Kenya)
Researchers: Emily Ondondo
This research project is about the Phonology and Morphology of Kisa, described in Optimality Theory. Kisa is one of 19 dialects of the Luyia language spoken in Western Kenya, and has approximately 89,000 speakers. The project is motivated by the lack of documentation and in-depth research in the language, and particularly on the current synchronic state of the language in modern linguistic theories. The only in-depth study in the phonology of Kisa was conducted in 1936 and published in 1976 by Sample. Therefore, the main objective of the research is to describe the major phonological and morphological issues in the synchronic state of Kisa.
The research project will deal with the interaction of word structure and metrical structure. It intends to look at:
- The structure of simple, compound and complex words in terms of word level affixation, compounding and reduplication.
- The interaction of word structure and stress.
- The phonological issues that have implications for word structure and stress assignment such as: vowel length; geminates; apocope; and the treatment of nasal-consonant sequences.
The results will help document the language, as well as provide a database for the language. They will also contribute to the understanding of the phonological and morphological issues dealt with, in Luyia and Bantu languages in general, as well as contribute to the characterization of Luyia dialects.