It is generally agreed that Cushitic languages have grammatically determined tonal accent or stress. However, in the available grammars of individual languages, the functional load of accent or stress is often only superficially described and does at times not go beyond the presentation of some illustrative minimal pairs. This paper sets out to describe the stress system of Kambaata, a Highland East Cushitic language of Ethiopia, in more detail. Every Kambaata word has one prominent syllable. Stress has (almost) no lexical importance (exception: stress on interjections and ideophones). Instead, the realisation of stress on nouns, verbs and adjectives is determined by the inflectional categories and values for which a word is marked. The stems of nouns, verbs and adjectives are unspecified for stress, but stress is imposed by inflectional morphemes. All (but one) inflectional morphemes in Kambaata have a segmental as well as a suprasegmental realisation. In my talk, I propose a typology of Kambaata inflectional morphemes depending on where they realise stress in a word. After a presentation of the general features of the Kambaata stress system, I present two case studies: (i) I demonstrate the importance of stress for case marking and (ii) I discuss relativisation in the imperfective and perfective aspect, which is marked by a stress-only morpheme.
Antje Mefferd (Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Vanderbilt University Medical Center)
Jonah Katz (West Virginia University)
Michele Gubian (IPS, LMU Munich)
Nancy C. Kula (University of Essex)