A FEATURE GEOMETRY EXEGESIS OF NDAU CONSONANT PHONEME INVENTORY
This research investigates the consonant phoneme inventory of Ndau, a once marginalized language spoken in the Chimanimani and Chipinge districts of the Manicaland province in Zimbabwe. The data for this study were collected mainly through intuition and secondary sources. The research identifies and characterizes the language’s distinctive consonant phonemes using the minimal pair and set tests. The study utilises the constriction-based Feature Geometry (Clements & Hume, 1995) model to describe Ndau segment inventory. The study identified Ndau consonants which include aspirated, breathy-voiced, pre-nasalized, labialized, palatalized, and click consonants. The research categorised Ndau consonants into two main categories, namely, simplex, and complex segments. The Ndau simplex consonant phonemes are divided into Labial, Coronal, Dorsal, and Pharyngeal segments. The Ndau complex consonants are sub-categorized into compound place, secondary articulation, manner contour segments, and double complexity. The contribution of this research resides in the mono-segmental analysis of Ndau complex segments from a Feature Geometry perspective. The study has established thirty simplex consonant phonemes and fifty-one complex consonant phonemes. All these phonemes add up to eighty-one. This study contributes to Zimbabwean linguistics since Ndau, which has been closely associated with Shona for 82 years, shows that it differentiates simplex and complex consonant phonemes.