Vol 27 No 4 (2018): Nordic Journal of African Studies
Articles Linguistics

OCP effects in Malawian CiTonga tone patterns

Lee Bickmore
University at Albany & The University of the Free State
Winfred Mkochi
University of Malawi
Published May 21, 2019
  • tone,
  • Obligatory Contour Principle,
  • CiTonga,
  • Bantu


The Obligatory Contour Principle (OCP) has been shown to both motivate certain tonological processes, as well as act as a constraint, blocking an otherwise productive process. In this paper, we describe and analyze the role of the OCP in Malawian CiTonga, an under-described Malawian Bantu language. We show that OCP violations involving High tones are sometimes repaired and sometimes not. When they are repaired, there is not a single repair strategy, but five possible ones, where the strategy employed depends on two crucial factors: 1) the morpho-syntactic domain containing the two High tones, and 2) whether the H autosegments in question are linked to a single TBU or multiple TBUs.


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