Gerundive Reduplication in Yorùbá Revisited: Insights from Auto-segmental Phonology

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Mayowa Oyinloye


Previous studies have argued that the derivation of Yorùbá gerunds, such as kíkú ‘dying’ (from kú ‘die’) and dídára ‘goodness’ (from dára ‘be good’), is morphologically induced, specifically by partial reduplication and, by extension, an instantiation of prefixation. Other
studies claim that the reduplication process is phonologically driven on the ground that the copying of the initial consonant of the verb base interacts with the epenthetic vowel [í] in the final derivation. The present study, however, argues that the derivation of gerundial
nouns (including deverbal adjectives) in Yorùbá is neither a product of reduplication nor an instantiation of prefixation; and the derivation can be straightforwardly accounted for strictly within the domain of phonology without appealing to the morphology-phonology interface. Deploying the principles of Auto-segmental Phonology, this article posits that the formation of such nouns is a purely phonological affair, which is characterized by two phonological processes that must apply in a transitive order: consonantal feature spreading and vocalic insertion. In particular, the initial consonant of a verb base/stem spreads its entire features to a leftward abstract Consonant-Slot which underlyingly lacks phonetic interpretation but whose featural content is visible at the surface representation; the default vowel [í] is then inserted to complete the derivation. 

Article Details

How to Cite
Oyinloye, M. . (2022). Gerundive Reduplication in Yorùbá Revisited: Insights from Auto-segmental Phonology. Journal of The Linguistic Association of Nigeria, 25, 4–20. Retrieved from
Author Biography

Mayowa Oyinloye, Department of Linguistics & Nigerian Languages, University of Jos


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