Tones (was: loglang vocab again)
|From:||John Cowan <cowan@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, November 26, 2003, 14:57|
Garth Wallace scripsit:
> Wait...how can a tone be a morpheme by itself?
Well, it's perhaps going too far to say that Cantonese bianyin are
morphemes, but they are definitely not on a level with the basic tones.
What happens is that certain derivational relationships can sometimes
(probably not productively nowadays) be expressed by changing the tone
to either high-rising (35) or high-level (55), often accompanied by
non-phonemic lengthening. Possible semantics include nominalization,
diminution, derogation, or familiarity -- words with changed tones are
not part of high-register literary Cantonese.
In the Taishanese dialect of Cantonese, commonly spoken in Chinatowns
worldwide, pronouns can even be pluralized by changing the tone.
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