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Andreas Johansson wrote:
> Quoting R A Brown <[log in to unmask]>:
> 
> 
>>Andreas Johansson wrote:
[snip]
>>>Xhosa has words like _mntu_ (meaning "human" I think), and while I don't
>>
>>know
>>
>>>exactly how that is pronounced,
>>
>>Actually it's _umntu_ (plural: abantu). The word is two syllables (three
>>syllables in the plural, of course): um-ntu. The _nt_ is prenasalized
>>dental plosive.
> 
> 
> Hm. Googling for "mntu" I find Xhosa texts* containing it ... but apparently
> only following words ending in a vowel. Elision?

I guess so. I think my "Xhosa - a Concise Manual" is a little too 
concise at times. It definitely gives the word as _umntu_ (singular) ~ 
abantu (plural). But I am wondering about the pronunciation of the 
singular form now.

After I sent the mail, it occurred to me a feature of the Bantu 
languages is that syllables are always open or unblocked (Swahili does 
have some blocked syllables but, I am fairly certain, only in borrowings 
from Arabic, English etc).

I find that in Zulu, which is closely related to Xhosa, the words in 
question are: umuntu /u.mu.ntu/ ~ abantu /a.ba.ntu/. This makes me think 
that the Xhosa _umntu_ is actually three syllable, namely /u.m.ntu/

Anyway, syllabic nasals are certainly found in Swahili and I think in 
some other Bantu langs, as well as prenasalized plosives.

-- 
Ray
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