11

There is no way to know without specific information from the source. In some traditions it means "toneless, unstressed". In some traditions, a specific tone is left out – it could be H, L, or Mid. It could mean "the same as what comes before" (the Christaller system, used in some African languages).


10

Let me speak only about Thai language and what rules govern the loanwords. Other languages may well "behave" the other way. is it generally true that the "closest" tones will be borrowed as well as the "closest" phonemes? Short answer: Yes, but not always for phonemes; Usually No for tones. I would also say that it's useful to know how words borrowed ...


9

Tone actually is phonemic in Mandarin. For example, it is the only thing that distinguishes dā "to hang over", dá "to answer", dǎ "to beat" and dà "big". There are very many other examples. That is what it means to be "phonemic". There is a completely different question about whether tone is "absolutely ...


8

All human languages use exhaled pronunciations and not inhaled pronunciations ("inhalation" i.e. breathing is talked about in phonetics as using "ingressive lung air": read a basic speech and hearing science textbook to understand the mechanics of inhalation, for example Minifie, Hixon & Williams 1973). So tonal languages, specifically, do as well. It is ...


8

There's an interesting answer when it comes to English as spoken by Cantonese speakers from Hong Kong, where tone can even distinguish words that would be homophones in English. Generally, stressed syllables in English will come out with tone 1 (contour 55), which is high level tone. Unstressed syllables are of two types: final unstressed syllables end up ...


7

The short answer is--yes, there are many tone languages that express certain kinds of questions (usually echo questions or yes-no questions) intonationally, and more often than not the intonational contour is in some sense "rising". Before continuing it should be noted that there are documented cases of languages--tonal and non-tonal--that mark questions ...


7

It it is relative to the "current range". That is determined by a number of things. First, individuals have a certain range as a consequence of their anatomy. Second, languages can specify (in a social sense, not a strictly grammatical sense) that the range exploited in speech should be relatively high or relatively low. Variants of such whole-...


6

Moira Yip discusses this issue in Chapter 2 of her book Tone. The short answer: four, possibly five. HOWEVER, this question is not as straightforward to answer as one might think; tones can be defined in terms of phonological contrast--like phonemes--or phonetic contrasts--like phones. Just like segmental phonemes, tones are often analyzed as surfacing ...


6

This may not be the type of answer you were hoping for. You are correct in asserting that most tone languages can be analyzed from a phonological perspective as including words or syllables that lack a specification for tone. Some examples: Mandarin can be analyzed as having "neutral" tone specified on things like the sentence-final particle -le. Many ...


5

Vietnamese has six tones.Cantonese has nine.


4

In Thai language tone is ALWAYS preserved when singing, some of the most exceptionally composed pieces will even use this to their advantage by applying a a lyric that will in turn producing a pleasing melody which add dimensions to the existing song. From what I heard, there are about 3 generations of a class of music currently employ in Thai language. ...


4

The Khmer language isn't tonal, but it's surrounded by tonal languages although not all of them belong to one family (but they form a sprachbund). In a more general context, there are many languages that have lost phonemic vowel length, which might be related to the loss of tones as an internal process.


4

Depending on how you analyze it, Trique may have as many as 15 tones, built from 5 pitch levels.


4

IMO, we do not know a general answer, but anecdotally I believe that the intonational system of English used by second language speakers whose first language is tonal is non-randomly related to the tonal phonetic of their first language, thus the English of a Logoori speaker and that of a Kamba speaker will be intonationally different. However, this ...


4

I don't think issue has been explored in a systematic way, and it's not clear how it could be. Theoretically, one might record human language contrasts like tal, thal, ttal uttered by a parrot (how do you decide that the parrot intended to utter tal versus thal?), and present them to human speakers of the language, to see if (without training) they correctly ...


3

The standard used for English by phoneticians these days is TOBI. It is language-specific enough that if you want to apply it to French, you'd have to use TODI, TOBI etc. as models for developing FTOBI, since it requires language-specific categorization decisions. It doesn't actually use tone mark diacritics like acute, circumflex etc. as are conventional in ...


3

Attempts to define tone types (e.g. rising, falling; mid, high, low) in terms of phonetic properties don't go very far, and crash when you try to devise rigorous criteria that apply to all tones within a language, in the same way for all languages (the strong sense of "same"). A falling tone is roughly one where F0 decreases within the syllable over time, ...


3

Many good points have been made in other answers and comments, but I think we need to unpack some of the assumptions (implicit and explicit) made in your question. ASSUMPTION 1: The world's languages can be divided into the binary categories of "tone languages" and "intonational languages". This is false. All languages have intonation. A subset of those ...


3

The answer is it depends, just like any other phoneme. Changes in tonal system are fairly common, and examples of "speech varieties" that are still considered (more or less) the same by their own communities include: Southern Vietnamese has merged the hỏi and ngã tones (to my ears the merged tone has characteristics of both, but is closer to ngã), and ...


3

Tone sandhi is the term you are looking for. According to Wikipedia, Tone sandhi is a phonological change occurring in tonal languages, in which the tones assigned to individual words or morphemes change based on the pronunciation of adjacent words or morphemes. See also this question and my answer for it (pay attention to the links within): How does ...


3

I just call them near homophones. Tone is still a phonemic feature, so there's nothing particularly special. Would you also try to distinguish near homophones that differ only in nasalization of a vowel?


3

The largest number of levels (actual level tones, not contours) is 6, in the language Chori, documented in his 1976 U. Wisconsin dissertation Aspects Of The Tonal Structure Of Chori. He proposes rules for deriving 3 of these tone levels from underlying tone sequences, but those rules are not surface allophonic rules (the conditioning tones are often not ...


3

This is a very wide-ranging question. Perhaps I could answer it with reference to one language with which I have occupied myself fairly extensively, namely Vietnamese. Standard Vietnamese (Hanoi dialect) has six contrasting tones corresponding to the six tones of the orthography. At a narrow phonetic level they can be described as a complex bundle ...


3

"Pitch" is the perceptual correlate of fundamental frequency which is the rate of vibration of the vocal folds (in speech). "Intensity" is the perceptual correlate of... I'll say RMS amplitude. There are a lot of things that determine amplitude, such as the openness of the vocal tract. In vowels, Fundamental Frequency (F0) does often correlate with amplitude,...


3

Lao has five tones (like Thai) in the south. But Lao has six tones in the north. ... In the capital, Vientiane, which is supposed to set the standard for the Lao language, there has been an ongoing debate about whether the local spoken variety has five or six tones. I encountered teaching materials bluntly stating five, others bluntly stating six, and ...


3

Lanna ( northern thai ) has six tones as well


3

Punjabi is normally analysed as being tonal. They're rare, but syllable-final released stops may be found in words like /hʊkuːmət/ which I'm given to understand means "the secondmost" or something. Also consider Lakhota, which has phonemic tone and has a word /jatkə̃õna/ ("they drank it and..."). I'm assuming the syllable break occurs ...


3

Outside the more ‘traditional’ areas of tonal languages, Swedish and Norwegian both have tones (albeit employed to a lesser degree than stereotypically tonal languages, being only distinguished in stressed syllables) and, being Germanic languages, generally release their syllable-final consonants. An example would be the Swedish minimal pair brynet ‘the edge ...


3

Even spoken in a robot-like tone in which all the four tones are reduced to a single one, it's still not difficult for a Mandarin speaker to understand the meaning of the utterance (provided the utterance is not too short so we can get enough context).


2

Most dialects of Wú have 7 or 8 tones, however some such as those around Wujiang have up to 12 or 15 tones, depending on which topolect. Ultimately, 5 tones is a pretty small inventory. Shanghainese has the lowest number of tones in Wú with 5.


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