LINGUIST List 15.667

Sun Feb 22 2004

Qs: Vowel Changes; Vocative Case/DPs

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  1. Hugues Steve N.-Koumba-Binza, Vowel change
  2. James T. Myers, vocative case and DPs

Message 1: Vowel change

Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 08:08:23 -0500 (EST)
From: Hugues Steve N.-Koumba-Binza <>
Subject: Vowel change

Dear Linguists,

I am working on Civili (Bantu, H12) vowel system. Previous authors
claimed a phenomenon of semivocalization or glide formation in words
such as (orthographically written) mwiifi ''thief'' or lyeesu
''eye''. But spectograms show a kind of sequencing of [ui] for the
first word and [ie] for the second. I wonder how to name such
phenomenon. I see it as a vowel change similar to diphtong, but shall
I name it as such? Please, any idea with references in other languages
let me know. Sincerely,


Subject-Language: Civili; Code: VIF 
Language-Family: Niger-Congo; Code: NC 
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Message 2: vocative case and DPs

Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2004 19:44:45 +0800 (CST)
From: James T. Myers <>
Subject: vocative case and DPs

I'm mildly curious about formal analyses of the internal structure of
vocatives, but there seems to be very little research on this.

Two specific (probably unrelated) questions. First, given its role as a
discourse element that couldn't possibly be more adjunctish, how (and more
importantly why) does the vocative get case (overtly marked in more than
one language family)? Second, if proper names and "the" phrases are both
DPs, why can only the former be used in the vocative (again, in more than
one language)? E.g. if you want the Thing to pass you the salt, you'd
say "Hey, Thing, pass me the salt", not *"Hey, the Thing, pass me the

James Myers
Graduate Institute of Linguistics
National Chung Cheng University
Min-Hsiung, Chia-Yi 621
Lngmyers at ccu dot edu dot tw
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