Re: Lots of Questions About Tones
|From:||John Vertical <johnvertical@...>|
|Date:||Thursday, July 10, 2008, 19:09|
On Thu, 10 Jul 2008 12:51:31 -0400, ROGER MILLS wrote:
>John Vertical wrote:
>>I've also seen the claim that no language ever originally *develop'd* tone
>>from initial consonants; that their effect is much subtler than that of codas,
>>and so a split thus conditioned may only occur in a language that's tonal
>>to begin with.
>I think the Austro-Asiatic family (Viet, Khmer, some lgs. as far afield as
>India, et al.) may be a counter example to this. IINM there are non-tonal
>Not sure if there are any non-tonal Tai languages, but if Tai is
>ultimately/very distantly related to Austronesian (as is claimed, and
>believed by some), then that too is a counter-example. Some of the few AN
>languages spoken in Vietnam (Cham and relatives) have developed tones,
>clearly under local influence. Also, I've heard tell of tonal AN languages
>within Indonesia, but don't know the details-- if they exist, they would
>surely by spontaneous developments.
I'm not familiar with everything you bring up, but I suspect a
misunderstanding. The argument is not that non-tonal languages couldn't
develop tone, they certainly do. It's that, whenever it happens, it may be
from coda consonants, or metrical factors, or something else yet; but not
the initial consonants.
Anyway, I didn't need to google for long before finding a counterexample to
specifically that argument
Also, speaking of references, everyone in this discussion has seen this
paper by Harris, right? If not, it's an essential read.