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Tonogenesis

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  • Kevin Athey
    Can anyone point me to some good sources (website or book) about natlang tonogenesis? I m particulary but not exclusively interested in tonal systems
    Message 1 of 33 , Feb 2, 2005
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      Can anyone point me to some good sources (website or book) about natlang
      tonogenesis? I'm particulary but not exclusively interested in tonal
      systems originating from sources other than loss of stop voicing
      distinctions (as in Chinese).

      In a related question, has anyone else dealt with tonogenesis in their
      conlangs? I try to make my work as natural as possible, which makes
      diachronic linguistics a terrible pain anyway, and with tonogenesis to boot
      I'm feeling a little out of my depth.

      Athey

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    • Roger Mills
      My understanding of tonogenesis is that is depends on vd/vl initial stops. Vl -- high tone, voiced -- low tone ( often with devoicing, either via a breathy
      Message 33 of 33 , Mar 4, 2013
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        My understanding of tonogenesis is that is depends on vd/vl initial stops. Vl --> high tone, voiced --> low tone ( often with devoicing, either via a breathy voice stage (Khmer I think), or maybe pre-glottalization). The Chamic langs. have been influenced by both Khmer and Vietnamese. James Matisoff is THE expert, I don't know how much of his work is online; he did write a paper on Tonogenesis and has theorized extensively about it.

        Quite possibly medial/final consonants also play a role, maybe esp. in the development of rising/falling or other complex tones.....

        In Gwr (my tonal conlang) even the vowels/diphthongs can have an effect, /i, u/ being 'high',  /a/ being low. It depended too on whether the *form was CVCV or CVCVC.

        --- On Sun, 3/3/13, Eric Christopherson <rakko@...> wrote:

        From: Eric Christopherson <rakko@...>
        Subject: Re: Tonogenesis
        To: CONLANG@...
        Date: Sunday, March 3, 2013, 9:05 PM

        On Mar 2, 2013, at 12:19 PM, Njenfalgar wrote:

        > 2013/3/2 Patrick Dunn <pwdunn@...>
        >
        >> So I could have a general lenition rule for final consonants.  Stops are
        >> weakened to [?] and fricatives to [h] before another consonant, which
        >> triggers creaky and breathy voicing respectively, which gets reinterpreted
        >> as tone.
        >>
        >> Does nasalization also trigger tonogenesis in any languages?
        >>
        >> Hmm, this'll lead to a high degree of homophony, but since this only occurs
        >> in compounds, it might be easier to disambiguate.
        >>
        >> Oooh, especially if this occurs in an earlier agglunative phase of the
        >> language, which then becomes more analytic.
        >>
        >> How confusing.  :)
        >>
        >
        > I don't think nasalisation will trigger tonogenesis. Usually tones arise
        > from glottal stuff, as explained by others. There's an interesting paper
        > about it which has already been mentioned on this list before:
        > http://www.csuchico.edu/~gthurgood/Papers/TonogenesisHarris.

        I was about to suggest Thurgood's work. It talks about how prevocalic stop voicing can cause or contribute to tone. It's been a while since I read it, but ISTR that it's uncommon for prevocalic stop voicing to lead to tones in the absence of other things, e.g. postvocalic laryngeal distinctions; but Cham, which Thurgood writes extensively about, does seem to show such a development.
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