• Lovemore Mutonga, Dr University of Zimbabwe
  • Patricia R. Mabugu, Dr University of Zimbabwe
  • Laston Mukaro University of Zimbabwe
  • Victor Mugari, Dr
Keywords: Ndau, minimality, epenthesis, cliticisation, sub-minimal


This study is an investigation of minimality effects in Ndau. It proffers an account of repair strategies that are used by Ndau speakers whenever they meet sub-minimal words. The data for this study were collected through intuition and verified by other Ndau speakers in Chipinge and Chimanimani districts of Manicaland Province in Zimbabwe. The research situates Morpheme Based Theory within Optimality Theory (Downing, 2006) to examine the different strategies employed in Ndau to ensure that the prosodic word is minimally disyllabic. We established that Ndau speakers use vowel epenthesis in both verbal and nominal constructions as well as cliticisation to ensure that Ndau words meet the required size of Ndau words which is disyllabic. This claim is recast within Optimality Theory (OT), which shows that the minimal word condition in Ndau straightforwardly stems from the ranking of relevant constraints in the language. The major contribution of this study is typological as it adds to the languages that utilise repair strategies to deal with words that are potentially sub-minimal.

Keywords: Ndau, minimality, epenthesis, cliticisation, sub-minimal.