Only a handful of Bantu languages have been completely
described phonologically. This volume brings to the forefront
Cilungu, spoken in the northeastern part
of Zambia's Northern Province and on the southeast shore
of Lake Rukwa in Tanzania.
The product of over 15 years of fieldwork, here is a
comprehensive description and analysis of the phonology of a language whose
tonology is extremely complex, necessitating no fewer than 44 separate
tone rules that interact with more than 20 segmental processes. While a
number of these processes could be characterized as purely
phonological, many have interesting and intricate morphological and
syntactic conditioning, all of which is formally analyzed in a
generative autosegmental framework.
Along with a focus on Cilungu's
phonology, this book also details much of its morphology.
The nominal morphology includes descriptions of
locatives, diminutives, augmentatives, deverbal nouns, and
copulatives. The verbal morphology is comparatively rich,
having 26 single-word tense/aspects and over 30 compound
As the diversity of spoken languages continues to taper in Africa,
this work presents a valuable study of a multifaceted language with
several unique elements that might otherwise be lost for future analysis
Lee Bickmore is associate professor in the department of
Anthropology and its Program in Linguistics and Cognitive
Science at the University of Albany.