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Re: Lots of Questions About Tones

From:John Vertical <johnvertical@...>
Date:Thursday, July 10, 2008, 7:16
On Thu, 10 Jul 2008 01:53:45 -0400, ROGER MILLS wrote:
>Alex Fink wrote: >> >>On Wed, 9 Jul 2008 23:46:09 +0100, David McCann wrote: >> >> >Imagine a language with /bas/ and /bat/. If the contrast between /p/ >> >and /b/ is lost, /ba-/ is likely to acquire a high or rising tone in >> >becoming /pa-/. >> >>_High_ or rising? AIUI voiced stops in the onset are supposed to have a >>lowering effect, generally I believe because of (possibly subphonemic) >>breathiness, so they'd yield low (or rising?) tones. >> >That's my understanding too.......... So pa- < *ba- will have low tone, >while pa- < *pa- will be high.
I third this nagging suspicion. 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. Tone developing from pitch accent is also a pathway to remember. And then there's the fact that a tone system may change without external motivation ("drift"), especially once there's any sort of a countour contrast in place. BTW, I'm under the impression that "glide" tones are included under contour tones, as long as the "glideness" is phonemic. Er, tonemic. Personally tho, I would be much more interested in what *effects* tones may have. Stress can trigger all kinds of things, but tone? And I mean level / countour tone, not "register tone" (creaky / clear / brethy / etc). Can it trigger even vowel quality changes, or is it a dead-end feature that just won't affect anything else? John Vertical


Tristan McLeay <conlang@...>
ROGER MILLS <rfmilly@...>