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Re: THEORY: Tonogenesis

From:Thomas R. Wier <trwier@...>
Date:Wednesday, September 11, 2002, 7:40
Quoting Roger Mills <romilly@...>:

> Lukasz K. wrote: > >Are there any tonal languages with well known tonogenesis or evolution of > >tones? > > There are a number of interesting refs. on google (search "tonogenesis"), > but nothing very specific. Check jounals devoted to Sino-Tibetan for > articles by James Matisoff, who IIRC is responsible for coining the term. > Years ago I sat in on a course of his, but didn't alas pay much attention, > and don't have any notes.
[snip useful families to look at]
> This applies I think, to tone languages of the Chinese sort; African > languages seem to have different systems. Mayan languages are also tonal, > but I know next to nothing about them.....
From my not terribly systematic exposure to Quiche, it has IIRC three tones (low, mid, and high) which vary independently of stress, all of which are marked with a terribly clunky orthography, and I think some pretty complicated tone sandhi phenomena which I haven't quite figured out yet. No contour tones, I don't think: phonemically long vowels are consistently of one tone or another. (I may be wrong on some of this.)
> But among the things I remember are: initial voiced stops (especially) > tend to produce low tones; then if, in addition, the stops devoice you get > contrasting **pá (high tone) < *p-, **pà (low) < *b-. Also, it seems, > there are tendencies final -h > high, final -? > low. And I'd assume > that stress placement on bi- or polysyllabic forms would produce > different tones.
IIRc, in some languages of the Pacific Northwest, low tone has developed from the loss of a preceding glottal stop and other laryngeal-like consonants. Anyways, Matthew Chen put out a Cambridge theory book on tone sandhi just a few years ago, which addresses tonogenesis some: < qid=1031729891/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/102-8568275-1084121?v=glance&s=books> As expected of Cambridge, this theory book is outrageously expensive (at $80.00) and so you might want to check out your local library first. ========================================================================= Thomas Wier "I find it useful to meet my subjects personally, Dept. of Linguistics because our secret police don't get it right University of Chicago half the time." -- octogenarian Sheikh Zayed of 1010 E. 59th Street Abu Dhabi, to a French reporter. Chicago, IL 60637