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Re: Lots of Questions About Tones

From:Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
Date:Thursday, July 10, 2008, 22:47
On 11/07/08 04:25:12, John Vertical wrote:
> On Thu, 10 Jul 2008 17:45:46 +1000, Tristan McLeay wrote: > >> countour tone > > > >Well, level/contour tones can develop into register tones (e.g. a > low > >tone may become creaky voice). > > I've suspected as much - got any examples?
I will try and find them later today; I'm already late for work. I think Danish is one though? (The stød --- I don't really know what it is, but I think it's glottalisation --- corresponds largely though not entirely, I think, to the low tone in the other continental North Germanic languages.)
> >Stress, however, is I think a poor analogy for > >tones; a better one would be length. Length and tone can both > indicate > >stress, but they can both be phonemic features on their own. > > Interesting angle. I was just going with "prosodic suprasegmental". I > suppose it would be possible to consider length such too in some > circumstances ("suprasegmental length" gets 16800 Ghits) but that's > still > not too commonly seen.
Why? If length only affects one of consonants and vowels, then the other tends to try to make up for short syllables by being longer (or for long syllables by being shorter); at least, this is true of North Germanic languages, Italian, and intuitively (Australian) English. Other features frequently described as segmental are not always segmental either; in Turkic languages the vowel harmonic features last for the entire word (e.g. in a rounded vowel, the consonants are rounded; in a back word, /k g l/ are retracted/dark compared to a front word). Considering the boundary between segmental and suprasegmental aspects to be fixed or even just clear is I think too simplistic.
> Also to consider: tone is typically orthogonal to vowel quality, > stress and > length less so.
Ah, yes, but that's just because stress in the languages in question comes with extra vowel length. You find vowel quality differences in languages like English where stressed syllables are longer than the equivalent unstressed one, but not in languages like Japanese which have a pitch-accent system. You would not however expect tone to cause changes in vowel quality, but whatever it does change/affect/get affected by/etc you would expect it to happen regardless of whether it's independent or just an aspect of stress.
> Apparently, I simply managed to mkae teh smae tpyo twice. :)
:) -- Tristan.