A Constraint-Based Analysis Of Kikamba Nativized Loanwords


This work is a constraint-based analysis of Kikamba nativized loanwords. The mechanism

used by the recipient language in the phonological modification of loanwords has been

explained within the framework of Optimality Theory, a linguistic model which proposes

that observed forms of languages arise from the interaction between conflicting

constraints. It is through the interaction of markedness and faithfulness constraints that the

output forms – the nativized words – are realized.The study has investigated the strategies

used by the recipient system, Kikamba, to handle phonologically different words from

English. Notably, the recipient language has open syllables and does not allow consonant

clusters in the onset. In sharp contrast, English has closed syllables and allows consonant

clusters in both onset and coda positions. The phonemic inventories of the two languages

also differ considerably. The borrowed words are, therefore, significantly modified in

order to conform to the phonotactics of Kikamba. This cannot be achieved without

violating faithfulness. The high-ranked markedness constraints in Kikamba trigger the

repair strategies in order to increase the well-formedness of the surface forms. The study

sought to establish how the grammar of Kikamba resolves the conflict between

markedness and faithfulness constraints in the selection of optimal output forms, namely

the nativized words. The study utilized primary data which were collected in Machakos

District where the subjects are predominantly speakers of Kikamba. Out of a corpus of

200 words collected, 75 were purposefully sampled for analysis. Both qualitative and

quantitative methods have been used to analyze the data. The analyses have revealed that

in dealing with disallowed codas and consonant clusters, three main strategies: insertion,

deletion and feature change are used in order to satisfy high-ranked markedness

constraints in Kikamba. In a few instances, however, faithfulness prevails over

markedness, leading to change in the phonology of Kikamba. The study has shown that

the loanword phenomenon in Kikamba can be adequately accounted for using the

Optimality Theory. The findings of the research have implications on the growth and

development of Kikamba as the study has addressed phonological modification of

loanwords which is one of the means by which languages develop their vocabulary.

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MUTUA, N (2021). A Constraint-Based Analysis Of Kikamba Nativized Loanwords. Afribary. Retrieved from https://afribary.com/works/a-constraint-based-analysis-of-kikamba-nativized-loanwords

MLA 8th

MUTUA, NDAMBUKI "A Constraint-Based Analysis Of Kikamba Nativized Loanwords" Afribary. Afribary, 31 May. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/a-constraint-based-analysis-of-kikamba-nativized-loanwords. Accessed 24 May. 2024.


MUTUA, NDAMBUKI . "A Constraint-Based Analysis Of Kikamba Nativized Loanwords". Afribary, Afribary, 31 May. 2021. Web. 24 May. 2024. < https://afribary.com/works/a-constraint-based-analysis-of-kikamba-nativized-loanwords >.


MUTUA, NDAMBUKI . "A Constraint-Based Analysis Of Kikamba Nativized Loanwords" Afribary (2021). Accessed May 24, 2024. https://afribary.com/works/a-constraint-based-analysis-of-kikamba-nativized-loanwords