Phonological aspects of Maasai: the case of Il-Arusa Maa

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University of Dar es Salaam
This is a descriptive study of the phonological aspects of I1-Arusa Maa. The study explores Il-Arusa Maa vowels, consonants, segmental and sequential constraints, phonological processes and in Optimality Theoretical Framework, we establish process-specific constraints ranking hierarchies that function in Il-Arusa Maa grammar. Data was collected through documentary review, interviews, interaction and participant observation. Data analysis was done using qualitative method through classification and summarization. Computer aided analysis was done using Bruce Hayes' Otsoft Constraint Ranking Software Version 2.1. The findings show that Il-Arusa Maa utilizes 18 vowels and 28 consonants. The vowels are: i, u, i, u, e, o, 8, 3, a, i:, u:,1:, u:, e:, o:, c:, D:, a:, ai, ei, oi, eu, ou, au. The consonants include 22 true consonants, which are: [p], [t], [k], [13], [p], [d], [g], [f], [s], [51, [4], [h], [m], [n], [n], kb [1], [9], [r] [A], [M], 2 semi vowels namely, [w], [j], and 4 pre-nasalized consonant clusters which are: [mb], [ndj, [nj], and [ng]. Ii-Arusa Maa syllable structure has the forms: $V$, $C$, $CV$, $VC$, $CVC$, $CCV$, $CCCV$ and $CVCC$. Furthermore, we found that universal constraints are all violable in Il-Arusa-Maa, however, MAX-I0 and DEP-IO are frequently ranked higher while IDENT-F, NOCODA, ONSET, and COMPLEX are frequently ranked low. For further study, we recommend a research on suprasegmental features, morphological and syntactic aspects as well as a comparative survey of all Maa varieties.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF PL8501.L34)
Maasai language, Phonology
Laiser, E. P (2008) Phonological aspects of Maasai: the case of Il-Arusa Maa, Master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam.