Questions tagged [tone]

The phonemic use of pitch.

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161 views

Number of tones in Cantonese vs. Mandarin and final stops

The emergence of tones in Chinese languages (and actually most tonal languages) is, roughly speaking, due to the loss of final consonnants of syllables at an earlier stage of the language. In ...
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78 views

Are there any languages that have tones that shift over vowels in a single syllable?

I am wondering about tones. Specifically, wondering if there are cases where a tone shifts from one vowel to the next, perhaps in some language like Mandarin Chinese or Vietnamese, if not some African ...
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What is "˥˩" in the IPA?

While reading the Wikipedia page on voiced bilabial trill, I came across a transcription in the occurrence section which looks like: [tʙ̩˥˩] The word is from Lizu language and means 'bean'. What is ...
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51 views

Resources on stress, tone and pitch evolution

I am interested in the stress, tone and pitch (STP) aspects of historical linguistics. How do phonetic and other types of changes affect STP changes? How do languages end up with entirely different ...
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129 views

In tonal languages, what is the tone relative to?

According to https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tone_language A tone language, or tonal language, is a language in which words can differ in tones (like pitches in music) in addition to consonants and ...
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Searching for the rules of tone sandhi in Lao

Most tonal languages have tone sandhi, which consists of rules whereby the standard/default/dictionary tones of words/syllables change due to which tones occur in adjacent words/syllables. But I am ...
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759 views

Do all tonal languages have tone sandhi?

Tone sandhi is the process by which the nominal tones of syllables or words change based on the surrounding context. I know that Mandarin Chinese and Thai have tone sandhi - but is this process ...
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How do tones work in music sung in tonal languages, such as Cantonese or Mandarin Chinese?

I have not yet studied tonal languages, so it might be understandable, but when I listen to Chinese music, for example, I'm unable to perceive tones. This makes me think they are partially or ...
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Is English tonal for some words, like "permit"?

I have heard the difference between tone and intonation described in the following way: Tone is when the pitch of a word determines its meaning. Intonation is when the pitch of a word conveys its ...
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249 views

How do tonal-language speakers use tonality when speaking non-tonal languages?

First post. Wanted to title it "Speaking in tones," but that's not very informative. Long ago, I learned a little about talking drums and whistle speech as long-range communication tools ...
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Innovations in speech rhythm and tone

I enjoy language columns, such as Johnson in The Economist, which discuss the evolution of language. But I notice that such columns tend to focus only on certain dimensions of language: new words, ...
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Do any languages use distinct graphemes for vowels with different tones?

As far as I know, most writing systems for tonal languages fall into one of four groups: The writing system is not phonetic (e.g. Han logograms) Tone is not generally indicated in writing (e.g. many ...
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288 views

What does the absence of a tonal marking on a word in a tonal language imply?

I'm not a linguist and only studying a linguistic subject as an elective so I hope this makes sense: If I've determined a language is tonal based off the numbers assigned to each word, how am I to ...
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(How) can autosegmental theories of tone account for pitch contours with more changes of direction than there are segments?

I had been interested in the idea that tone contours are due to practical limitations in following an underlying target path that is always a straight line, as proposed by Xu. However, this theory ...
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130 views

What is the most archetypal phonemic-tone system?

As user6726 put it in this answer: There is a misguided tendency to use Chinese as the standard of comparison for tone system, but actually Chinese is the best known but one of the least-...
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Can the IPA represent all languages' tones?

The IPA's current tone system can show five different tone levels, and any contours formed from them. Is there any language for which this is insufficient? In other words, is there any (known, ...
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623 views

Are there documented languages that evolved from tonal to nontonal?

There is a theory about tonogenesis for the Chinese language, thus Chinese had once a more complex syllable-structure and no tones. In the course of time, the syllable structure became less complex ...
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123 views

Will the pitch of a vowel influence its formant values?

Since that the F0 i.e. the pitch is the first harmonic and all formants are the i-th harmonics, is it possible that the formants of a vowel in a high tone are higher than those in a lower tone? For ...
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92 views

Simple example of circular tone sandhi?

Are there any particularly simple examples of circular tone sandhi known? For instance, is there an example of a rule in which two tones swap places but the rest are unaffected? Or an example of ...
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329 views

Whispering in languages heavily dependent on pitch or phonation distinctions

When whispering in English all (segmental) phonological distinctions can – as far as I am aware – still be made, which may be due to redundancy (or simply because voicing is optional). I even ...
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226 views

How tone shifting actually works - How a speaker navigates the register space

In considering the ways tone might work in languages, I am looking at diagrams of 5 rows (registers I'm guessing) in which you can create tones that shift up and down the registers. Some examples of ...
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Example of stress or tone on a consonant

Wondering if there is such thing as stress on a consonant, e.g. t́, ĺ, ḿ, ś, ʃ́... If so, what the example language would be. I haven't seen any on Wikipedia. Same thing for tone, I haven't seen ...
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How complex contour tones get in languages

So I have seen a few tonal languages, such as Thai, Mandarin Chinese, and Cantonese: I'm not too familiar with which other languages have tonal features. But I'm wondering if there are any ...
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Types of Sound Variations (Like Accents and Tones) in Languages

So in Spanish and other languages there are accents like: café tú And in Chinese there are tone shifts as in this graphic: The tones are accounted for in English / Romanization by adding accent ...
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511 views

Understanding 5-tone register systems

After reading through the Tone Wikipedia page, I get the gist of it. Basically there are register tone systems (like Bantu languages) and contour tone systems (like Mandarin Chinese). In contour tone ...
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335 views

Most complex examples of tones in tonal languages

Wondering what the most complex examples are of tonal languages, and what its features are. In Chinese there are 4 or 5 tones, but they are relatively simple (contour changes, move up, down, down then ...
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1answer
84 views

What impact does it bring if the tone values of a tone language are generally lowered?

Tones in a tone language have values marked by 1 to 5. If a sound change happens by which tone values become lowered in some cases, e.g. the standard value of a tone in Mandarin is 214, while the ...
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224 views

Gender/tone sandhi in [classical] Tibetan grammar?

Tibetan alphabet is a kind of abugida where glyphs may combine into new different forms, taking different positions in their combinations according to their types (see H.B. Hannah, pp. 16- 45). Each ...
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What’s a good example a language phenomena in which f0 is NOT correlated to pitch?

It’s standard doctrine that “pitch is perceived f0”, and that f0 is phonetic and corresponds to pitch which is phonological ... no problem there. (Even if this is a simplification) But I wonder if ...
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The accentual (Tone) system of Ancient Greek

This question is presented with the help of the sources from Wikipedia. The Greek diacritics were introduced by Aristophanes of Byzantium, which became standard in the Middle Ages. My question is: ...
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163 views

high tone retention

Is high tone retention typologically true? When one of the two adjacent vowels at a word boundary undergoes deletion, one of the two tones also undergoes deletion. And it is said that high tone is ...
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How many different distinctive sounds can an average human make? [closed]

If we wanted to create an all new alphabet composed of as much letters as possible, with each letter corresponding to one distinctive sound. What's the maximum amount of letters we could have? Oh and ...
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How does ghetto talk work in tonal languages?

Among historically low income/education groups in the US and in my native Mexico City, "ghetto talk" is heavy on the use of pitch to convey meaning. I've always attributed this to people compensating ...
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169 views

Tone associated to segments other than vowels

Are there languages in which lexical tone can associate to semivowels or glottal stops, or does tone ALWAYS associate only to vowels when it is realized in a spoken word?
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208 views

In what tonal language is tone uncontroversially suprasegmental and not segmental?

So, it recently came to my attention that Chinese tone is not necessary a suprasegmental feature like I assumed. It seems that some claim it can be analyzed as being subsegmental. If I am interested ...
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Are there necessary and sufficient features for categorizing tone using only f0?

Imagine i gave you recordings of a few syllables in an unknown language, but told you that there are H and L tones in that language. In that case you could probably distinguish H from the L syllables ...
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255 views

How is "rising tone" the same in all tonal languages?

If we compare two unrelated languages with lexical tone, where both languages have the same number of tonal contrasts, are there any universals/tendencies regarding: the kinds of tonal contrasts (...
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620 views

Are tones "preserved" when borrowing between unrelated tonal languages?

Let's consider just borrowing between unrelated, national/standardized tonal languages, just in case borrowing between related languages might be a special case and borrowing between non standardized ...
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What kind of experimental procedures can be used to determine tone values (1-5)?

Unlike vowel formant frequencies, tones are trickier to determine, since the F0 of a TBU may depend on a lot of factors, such as the speaker's age, gender, mood, etc. Thus, it's quite often the case ...
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What is the difference between formant frequencies and pitch frequency?

Sorry if this question sounds a bit basic. I haven’t had a solid grounding in phonology/phonetics yet so I am a bit confused about these concepts. We’re trying to build a model which studies certain ...
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What's a simple example of natural classes of tone contours?

I recently learned (in this forum) that natural classes of tones are posited based on the tendency of members of those classes to act together (that is, I suppose, to have the same effect based on a ...
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Representing tone in feature matrices

I’m studying feature geometry in my intro to phono course, and we’re looking at tone. One topic which I have trouble getting my head around is the “tonal motivation” for autosegmental phonology; ...
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Tone Languages and distinguishing meaning

I am new to learning all of this and had a couple of questions. Tone languages use pitch to distinguish words. For example, in Thai nā with a mid-tone meaning "rice paddy". nǎ with a rising tone ...
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How did Goldsmith account for phenomena otherwise explicable with the OCP?

How did Goldsmith account for the OCP using Autosegmental Phonology? I suppose he couldn't accept it because OCP prohibits identical segments (which don't exist, as such in Autosegmental Phonology)...
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Transcriptions of Mandarin Chinese into writing systems other than Latin, Arabic and Cyrillic?

I was wondering if Standard Chinese has been transliterated (either officially or unofficially) into writing systems other than the Latin (Pinyin, Wade-Giles), Arabic (Xiao'erjing) or Cyrillic (Dungan ...
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Do native speakers of language with lexical tone have difficulty learning another language with more or different lexical tones?

Have there been any studies done on say Mandarin native speakers who learn as adults other languages which have more lexical tones or which have lexical tones different to Mandarin? I believe for ...
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How are Tone and Intonation languages different acoustically?

On what aspects Tonal languages differ from Intonation languages when analyzing them acoustically? On intonation and tone: Jones (1960) - "the variations which take place in the pitch of the ...
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404 views

What is Fall-plus-Rise (phonetics)?

1) Is it a tone? 2) How do you pronounce it? How it would look like in the intonogram? 3) Is it the same thing as Divided (Extended) Fall-Rise? Are there any differences? 4) Is this tone used for a ...
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280 views

Can you put tone on any syllable?

I notice that Mandarin has a very simple inventory of sounds and set of possible combinations, whereas some of the languages I'm familiar with which permit more consonant clusters and other ...
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164 views

Non-tonal (and tonal) languages and inflection

I want to know whethere there are any standards that would allow a non-tonal (or tonal) spoken language like English to be augmented with diacritics to denote how the tone varies, as the entire ...