Sunday, October 14, 2012


Dissimilation is a phonological process.  In assimilation sounds become more similar to one another.  In dissimilation, however, the reverse occurs- sounds become less similar from one another. 

In Kurundi, an African language spoken in Burundi, a consonant in the prefix must disagree in voicing with a the first consonant of the root to which it is attached.  The rule can be states as follows:

A voiced root initial segment requires a voiceless consonant in the prefix and a voiceless root initial segment requires a voiced consonant in the prefix.  The data illustrates this:


rya eat

1st person singular present



mwa shave

1st person singular present



soma read

1st person singular present



kubita hit

1st person singular present


The prefix variant du occurs with roots that have a voiceless initial segment in the root.  With roots that have a voiced initial segment in the root, the prefix variant tu occurs.  The examples from Kurundi serve to illustrate the phonological process of dissimilation. 


dychui said...

I like your blog, thank you for sharing these insightful posts.

Les Zsoldos said...

Thanks for your comment.

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