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Re: Tone Marks

From:Christophe Grandsire <christophe.grandsire@...>
Date:Monday, February 18, 2002, 12:18
En réponse à Jim Grossmann <steven@...>:

> > I'm sure that others have thought of different ways to convey tone > without > using special characters. I hope that all you others post too. >
Nice system you have! For Itakian, the problem is a little different, since it has register tone, but with 4 tones: high, low, rising and falling. Moreover, tone is at the same time grammatical (eg. in a sentence the trigger is shown by high tone on its first syllable), semantic (some minimal pairs are different only by tone pattern) and suffers a lot of tone sandhi (the rule being that between two pauses, the tone line cannot be broken. So when a syllable has a tone ending high, the next syllable - whether part of the same word or not - has to have a tone beginning high. Because of that, word contact and addition of affixes often changes tones). Finally, each syllable in Itakian has one tone, except the particles which phonemically have no tone (but phonetically have a tone depending on the environment). But syllables in Itakian can possess a syllabic consonnant as syllabic nucleus, which makes it quite difficult to mark it by a diacritic (especially when this consonnant is l :)) ). So the system I came with is partly phonetic (partly only, because the sound transcription is completely phonemic, and I put a tone mark on each syllable, even when phonetically those syllables would collapse into one, provoking a tone fusion). I shows the tone sandhis, puts tone marks on the particles which don't have a phonemic tone, shows the grammatical tone patterns, but keeps showing different tones where phonetically there would be tone fusion (this helps semantic recognition) because of a fusion between two syllables appearing at the phonetic level (and thus not marked in writing). When writing by hand, I use diacritics: nothing (or trema, but I never use it) for low tone, macron for high tone (long vowels in Itakian are marked phonemically, that's to say by double vowels), acute for rising and grave for falling. In ASCII, I use signs after the syllables: | for high tone, / for rising tone, \ for falling tone, and nothing (or : where I would use a trema) for low tone. Of course, it makes the transcription quite ugly (especially when you add ' for the phonemic glottal stop, which 3 times out of 4 is not pronounced :)) ), but I don't care since it's only a transcription. The native script of Itakian is the only one that counts, and it's much more beautiful in my opinion :)) . BTW, the native script doesn't mark tone at all :)) (well, partly, since the consonnant diacritics have a special form, used for the first syllable of the trigger, or the first syllable of the interrogative part of a question, marking indirectly grammatical tone patterns. But that can hardly be called tone marking :)) ). Christophe. Take your life as a movie: do not let anybody else play the leading role.