Phonological Data Analysis

The assignment

The data below show how the contrastive imperative (do X instead of Y) is formed in Ngaana.

Drawing on this data set, write a short paper in which you cover all the following points (not necessarily in the order given here):

  • Outline at least one general phonological principle that the data set illustrates.
  • Describe the morphology of the contrastive imperative form of verbs in Ngaana.
  • Propose an underlying representation for the contrastive imperative morpheme.
  • Describe and formalise the phonological processes responsible for the alternations

that are evident in the data.

  • Draw syllable diagrams to illustrate your analysis.
  • Does Ngaana have diphthongs?
  • What light does this data set shed on the syllabification of word-final consonants?

Your paper will be evaluated under the following rubrics: quality of analysis, quality of argumentation, use of technical concepts/terminology, structure, referencing, and writing. It is strongly recommended that you follow the course guidelines on how to write up phonological data sets.


The broad phonetic transcriptions used here follow IPA conventions in all respects. [j] indicates a palatal glide. Tones, which are not relevant to this assignment, have been omitted from the transcriptions.

Formatting and submitting your paper

Word count

The paper should be no more than 1000 words long. Any material over that limit will not be taken into account by the markers. The following are included in the word count: tables, footnotes, bibliographical references and any appendices (though you really shouldn�t need them). Diagrams and indented language examples don�t count.

File format

Submit your assignment as a single pdf file. The file must be generated from word-processed text or graphics, i.e. not from scanned images. Word-processor files (such as .doc or .docx format) cannot be accepted.


If you use a proportional-spaced font (such as the Times New Roman font used for this document), reserve it for the main body of the text. Illustrative phonological representations

(containing syllabic details for example) should either be rendered as graphics or, more simply, set out using a fixed-space font (such as Courier New).

The data