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COMMENTS: Hiksilipsi Tone

From:jesse stephen bangs <jaspax@...>
Date:Wednesday, April 17, 2002, 17:24
This is a brief sketch for comments of the tone system in the recently
reworked Hiksilipsi.

First, some comments.  I have heard it said that languages which use
multiple contour tones tend to be monosyllabic, and that polysyllabic
tonal languages always use a tonal accent.  This disheartened me, since I
wanted to make Hiksilipsi into a contour-tone language (it was originally
a pitch-accent language), but after a while I decided to disregard the
universals and charge ahead.  If anyone thinks I should have more respect
for the universal, please say so.

Onward.  Hiksilipsi has six tones.  The numbers indicate the general shape
of the contours for each tone, where 5 is the highest level tone in the
register and 1 is the lowest:

high           55
high-falling   453
rising         35
mid            33
low-falling    231
low            22

These tones are further divided into two groups: the upper tones and the
lower tones.  The upper tones are the the high, high-falling, and rising
tones, while the lower tones are the mid, low-falling, and low tones.
These tones interact in a pitch-accent-like manner.  Each word has a tone
break in it, before which may only occur upper tones, and after which may
only occur lower tones.

The addition of an inherently upper-toned affix may cause the lower-toned
syllables before it to shift to their upper-tone equivalent, according to
the following chart:

  mid -->   high
  low-falling --> high-falling
  low(1) --> rising
  low(2) --> high

For historical reasons, the low tone may shift to either a high tone or a
rising tone.

I'd give examples, but I don't have my materials with me.  Anyway, I think
this system is fairly naturalistic, but still pretty creative.  What do
others think of this system's plausability and design?

Jesse S. Bangs

"If you look at a thing nine hundred and ninety-nine times, you are
perfectly safe; if you look at it the thousandth time, you are in
frightful danger of seeing it for the first time."
--G.K. Chesterton