Satisfying minimality in Ndebele


  • Laura J. Downing



In this paper, I discuss four different verb forms in Ndebele (a Nguni Bantu language spoken mainly in Zimbabwe) - the imperative, reduplicated, future and participial. I show that while all four are subject to minimality restrictions, minimality is satisfied differently in each of these morphological contexts. To account for this, I argue that in Ndebele (as in other Bantu languages) Word and RED are not the only constituents which must satisfy minimality: the Stem is also subject to minimality conditions in some morphological contexts. This paper, then, provides additional arguments for the proposal that Phonological Word is not the only sub-lexical morpho-prosodic constituent. Further, I argue that, although Word, RED and Stern are all subject to the same minimality constraint – they must all be minimally bisyllabic - this does not follow from a single 'generalized' constraint. Instead, I argue, contra recent work within Generalized Template Theory (see, e.g., McCarthy & Prince 1994, 1995a, 1999; Urbanezyk 1995, 1996; and Walker 2000; etc.) that a distinct minimality constraint must be formalized for each of these morpho-prosodic constituents.






Downing, Laura J. 2000. „Satisfying Minimality in Ndebele“. ZAS Papers in Linguistics 19 (Januar):23-39.