Vowel duration issue in Civili

TitleVowel duration issue in Civili
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsNdinga-Koumba-Binza, Hugues Steve
Journal TitleSouth African Journal of African Languages
Journal Date2004
KeywordsCivili, Data, Long vowels, Phonetics-phonology inderface debate, Phonological processes, Short vowels, Vowel duration, Vowel lengthening

The main goal of this paper is to define the problem of vowel duration in Civili (H.12a). It shows that the so-called Civili vowel-length issue desperately needs to be re-examined, because previous works on the sound system of this language hardly explain a number of phonological phenomena, such as vowel lengthening, on the basis of data at hand. Demonstrating the problem in question, the author first reviews previous works that all identify a vowel lengthening in Civili. The complexity of the phenomenon is shown by observing differences between analyses and difficulties phonologists came up against. The problem is also shown through weaknesses in the results of each analysis. This in turn shows more aspects of the vowel duration issue, and leads the author to make a clear distinction between vowel length and vowel lengthening that can both be regarded as vowel duration only. Finally, the article suggests a possible way forward through an experimental approach towards the Civili sound system.