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Re: A new Indo-European subfamily in China

From:taliesin the storyteller <taliesin@...>
Date:Saturday, December 9, 2000, 18:39
* BP Jonsson [001209 18:47]:
> At 18:08 2000-12-03 -0500, E-Ching Ng wrote: > >There is a small but annoying distinction between tonal and pitch-accent > >languages, I believe. Tonal languages have a certain compulsory tone for > >every morpheme (okay, I can think of a few exceptions in Mandarin and > >Hokkien which are said to have no tone, but they're rare and in unstressed > >positions). Pitch-accent languages use tone the way other languages use > >stress - it gets distributed by word or sentence. > > Swedish and S-C definitely are pitch-accent, since "tone" isn't > distinguished in monosyllables. Panjabi is really tonal, since its tones > originated from loss of voiced aspiration (bh dh jh gh h > p t c k 0), > which could come both before and after the syllabic peak of a monosyllable.
My parents' dialects of Norwegian is properly tonal then, as (contour) tones is all that prevents quite a few words from being homophones, for instance one syllable verbs vs. their one syllable noun counterparts. It is due to the loss of the final vowel in "weak" verbs, that is: those ending in -e (schwa) in the infinitive in other dialects, and at least in my parent's dialect, this contour is not affected by stress: it has to be there on the infinitives that have it. (My brother's dialect however, ick, assimilates the final vowel to the penultimate vowel. Mine is different from that again, but I can fake all the other three if need be.) t.