The segmental and tonal structure of verb inflection in Babanki


  • Pius W. Akumbu University of Buea
  • Larry M. Hyman University of California, Berkeley
  • Roland Kießling Universität Hamburg



tonal melodies, grammatical tone, verb inflection, tonal paradigms, conjoint, disjoint


In this study we provide a comprehensive phonological and morphological analysis of the complex tense-aspect-mood (TAM) system of Babanki, a Grassfields Bantu language of Cameroon. Our emphasis is on the competing inflectional tonal melodies that are assigned to the verb stem. These melodies are determined not only by the multiple past and future tenses, perfective vs. progressive aspect, and indicative vs. imperative, subjunctive, and conditional moods, but also affirmative vs. negative and “conjoint” (CJ) vs. “disjoint” (DJ) verbal marking, which we show to be more thorough going than the better known cases in Eastern and Southern Bantu. The paper concludes with a ranking of the six assigned tonal melodies and fourteen appendices providing all of the relevant tonal paradigms.




How to Cite

Akumbu, P. W., Hyman, L. M., & Kießling, R. (2020). The segmental and tonal structure of verb inflection in Babanki. Phonological Data and Analysis, 2(2), 1–33.