I've just read about the Saussure's second primordial principle that states that language is linear. This is sometimes interpreted as the notion of one-dimensioness of language. The second dimension indeed doesn't usually play a significant role in language, since written language is perfectly legible even without intonation and stress.

Is there a language that has this second dimension?

Here are two examples I'm wondering might be the case (you don't have to include them in your answer):

  1. Tonal languages. Is the use of tone in those languages often enough so that the languages could be called two dimentional?

  2. Click languages. Are the click consonants in click languages such as Xhosa being arranged so that they play a role of a standard phoneme, or can they play the role of the second layer of information?

I'll really appreciate an incomplete answer or an online literature recommendation since I understand this is a very broad question.

  • I think the answer to (1) is yes - you may want to look into autosegmental phonology, a more 'modern' version of the idea. I don't quite understand your point about clicks - why do you think they represent a second layer? Mar 10 '17 at 16:44
  • @WavesWashSands I don't know much about the language but I think so because they could - it is possible to pronounce some click consonants at the same time as some non-click consonants.
    – Probably
    Mar 10 '17 at 16:56
  • 1
    Actually it's not just clicks that can do this. Mar 10 '17 at 17:29
  • Some sign languages could be considered multi dimensional.
    – curiousdannii
    Mar 12 '17 at 4:33

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