Nasality and Nasalization in Àbèsàbèsì: Case Study of Akpes (Published)
The issue of nasality and nasalization has been subjected to serious debate among phonologists. Some of them are of the opinion that vowel adjacent to nasal consonants do assimilate nasal quality from the contiguous consonants. This is evidence in the situation whereby the oral vowel occurs at syllable final position with a nasal consonant. However, another school of thought is of the opinion ‘the source of nasal vowel in syllable final position’ must have developed from history. In essence, it assumed that the realization might be a resultant effect of the deletion of the nasal consonant in question. This paper aims at contributing to this discussion using Akpes data. Agoyi (2008) suggested the name Àbèsàbèsì for the four variant forms of the Akpes language cluster. We argue that Akpes attests nasalized as well as nasal vowels. The nasalized vowels are realized after the deletion of the contiguous nasal consonants. Earlier scholars proposed deletion to account for such phonological phenomenon in Benue-Congo languages. In addition, Akpes features nasal vowels in word initial position. The paper argues that the language has nasal vowel phonemes as well as nasalized vowels motivated by the occurrence of the vowels in a contiguous nasal element environment.
Keywords: Akpes, Assimilation, deletion, nasal, nasalization, syllable