/H/ (was An Unknown Conlang)
|From:||Jim Grossmann <steven@...>|
|Date:||Tuesday, July 25, 2000, 0:21|
Re: Tones and Pitches
Careful! AFAIK, the use of tone contrasts does not require perfect (aka
absolute) pitch. For example, "high" tone means high for the speaker,
relative to the speaker's production of the other tones. It also means
high relative to the tone contour of the utterance, making "high" tone
lower, for example, as the tone of the whole sentence gets lower toward the
As for perfect pitch meaning absolute pitch, I refer the readers to Aaron
Copeland's "What to Listen For in Music." I also speak as one who has
absolute pitch. Yup! I'm my own pitch pipe, but that makes me neither
better nor worse than anyone else when it comes to taking courses in tonal
languages like Chinese.
> No, not necessarily. All children are actually born with the ability
> to distinguish all possible phones, but they lose this ability some
> several months after birth as they acclimatize to their speech
> environment. This latent ability could however be preserved in a few
> individuals who have the phonetic equivalent of perfect pitch. Indeed,
> analogously, people who speak languages which employ tonal phonemic
> contrasts essentially all have perfect pitch.
> Tom Wier | "Cogito ergo sum, sed credo ergo ero."