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Re: Grammatical tones

From:H. S. Teoh <hsteoh@...>
Date:Friday, August 23, 2002, 21:32
On Fri, Aug 23, 2002 at 03:36:04PM -0400, Christopher Wright wrote:
> Bama. > > How plausible is it for tones to have a grammatical rather than lexical > meaning? For instance, where many languages have articles, this one would > have different tones instead. Or perhaps verb number or tense would be > indicated thus.
[snip] I don't know how plausible it is, but Ebisedian inflects gender by shifting the stressed (high-pitched) syllable. Of course, in many cases the consonant changes as well, but that is only because of emphasis. For example: biji' [bi"dZi] "arm" (epicene) bi'ji ["bidZi] "arm" (masculine) i.e., "man's arm" Sometimes, the difference in stress position distinguishes two cognate words: miza'i [mi"za?i] "to marry" (introvertive verb) mizai' [miza"?i] "marriage" (neuter noun) Less obvious examples are those that changes consonants as well, the most common example being the word that gave rise to the English name for the language: bis33'di [bi"s@\:di] "person", "human" (epicene) pii'z3di ["pi:z@\di] "man" (masculine) biz3tai' [biz@\ta"?i] "woman" (feminine) In the case of _biz3tai'_ the final syllable is long, but is split into two short syllables in the locative case (the form given above) because the locative case always has a short _i_. Other examples: bidi' [bi"di] "parent" pii'di ["pi:di] "father" bidei' [bid&"?i] "mother" Often, such shifts also occur between cognate verbs and nouns, and between verbs/nouns and cognate particles. These shifts usually happen together with other vocalic/consonantal shifts. For example: ta'ma ["tama] "to speak" t3mi' [t@\"mi] "word", "speech" lee'r3 ["l&r`@\] "to flow" l3rii' [l@\r`i:] "stream", "river" z0'e ["zA?&] "to join", "to connect" z3i' [z@\"?i] "joint", "link", "connection" uro [?ur`o] preposition, "this one" uu'ri ["u:r`i] noun, "here", "this place" (This pair isn't so much a shift as the appearance of an accent on the word -- _uro_ is completely unaccented.) my'e ["my?&] negative particle, "not", "it is not so that" myy'i ["my:?i] noun, "negativity", "absence". (This is more a vocalic change than anything, as well as vowel lengthening.) T -- Many open minds should be closed for repairs. -- K5 user


Pablo David Flores <pablo-flores@...>