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Re: Grammatical tones

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Monday, August 26, 2002, 6:56
En réponse à Christopher Wright <faceloran@...>:

> 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. >
Extremely likely. Plenty or replies have already been given, but I thought I could add one natlang example. In German, the distribution of verb-positions is originally due to stress patterns. In Late PIE an independent verb was not stressed, while a dependent verb (usually in the subjunctive mood) was stressed. In the Germanic offsprings of PIE a strong rule was that stressed components stayed in place (for verbs, it meant at the end of the sentence), while unstressed components went to the beginning of the sentence (for verbs, the went to the second position, at least in non-interrogative sentences). Finally the stressed/unstressed pattern disappeared but the position pattern stayed. As for a conlang example, there is always my Itakian which marks the trigger with a high tone on the first syllable. Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.