Phoneme Distribution and the Sonority Nature of Consonant Clusters in Afaan Oromo
Keywords:Consonant Cluster, Distribution, Obstruent, Sonorant, Sonority
This paper examines an outline of two main phonological elements in the Oromo language. Firstly, it indicates the permissible sequences and types of the language’s consonant clusters given the member sound’s sonority. Secondly, it enlightens the distribution of Oromo phonemes in different word positions (initial, medial, and final). In this aspect, the study is a descriptive work and attention has been given mainly to recounting the simple distribution rather than theorizing the phonotactic processes. For the study, data was collected from five native speakers of the Western dialect and was phonemically transcribed using an IPA symbol. The speech of these participants has three hours of duration with an average speech length of 36 minutes for each participant. The study also attempts to list out the number of the language’s native and loan phonemes employed in the speech of adult Oromo users comparing the data with the earlier studies. With the study, it was observed that Oromo has Sonorant-Obstruent, Obstruent-Obstruent, Obstruent- Sonorant and Sonorant – Sonorant clusters based on the status of sonorants in its phonological system. Of the two-member clusters in clustering, sonorants are the dominant first member sounds in the language.
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