It was about one and a half years ago that I finally I arrived where I had always wanted to be and do what I had always wanted-- teach students, support small language communities and conduct research on African languages on my doorstep. The University of Cape Town and my new colleagues welcomed my efforts to establish the Centre for African Language Diversity-- CALDi as well as The African Language Archive-- TALA and I was recently appointed the Mellon Research Chair: African Language Diversity this initiative. The main aim of CALDi is to train young African scholars in descriptive linguistics and open up space for research into African languages at UCT with the hopes of countering the dominance of African linguistics outside the continent. It has been a great challenge for which my whole career has been a form of preparation...Read more
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Phonologically prominent or "strong" positions are known for their ability to resist positional neutralization processes such as vowel reduction or place assimilation. However, there are also cases of neutralization that affect only strong positions, as when stressed syllables must be heavy, default stress is inserted into roots, or word-initial onsets must be low in sonority. This dissertation shows that phonological processes specific to strong positions are distinct from those involved in classic positional neutralization effects because they always serve to augment the strong position with a perceptually salient characteristic. Formally, positional augmentation effects are modeled by means of markedness constraints relativized to strong positions. Because positional augmentation constraints are subject to certain substantive restrictions, as seen in their connection to perceptual salience, they also have implications for the relationship between functional grounding and phonological theory.