[Lingtyp] tone alone marking plural nouns?

Ilja Seržant ilja.serzants at uni-leipzig.de
Wed Sep 27 03:36:13 EDT 2017


Dear Mike,

some time ago I was interested in the tonal system of the Curonian 
Latvian dialect which drastically loses the final syllable vowels but 
compensate for that loss by the change in the root tone. I have the 
following examples from a description from 50ies (the places are Laizde 
and Stende; I am not sure the tones still survived until today):

pūrs 'dowry.nom.sg' (so-called lengthened tone which is neither falling 
nor rising but the vowel is longer than other long vowels) vs. pūrs 
'dowry.acc.pl' with the so-called lengthened-falling tone (I have argued 
that the falling component stems historically from the loss of the vowel 
in accusative ending: pūrus > pūrs)

dêls 'son.nom.sg' (so-called broken tone, i.e. with a short 
interruption) vs. dê'ls 'son.acc.pl' (broken-falling tone) which equally 
probably stems from the re-assignment of the floating tone arisen by the 
loss of the second vowel of the accusative ending.

Unfortunately, I wrote that paper in Latvian (p. 107):
http://home.uni-leipzig.de/serzant/Dazi_latv_prosodiskas_sist_Serzants2006.pdf

It is of course not just the number but also the case that is marked by 
this new toneme. However, I thought you might be interested because one 
usually would not expect something of this sort to be found in Europe.

Best,
ilja


On 27/09/2017 05:31, Hilary Chappell wrote:
> Tone sandhi to code plurality is possible in a variety of Sinitic
> languages including the Xiang group (Hunan) and Pinghua (Guangxi) but
> for the person pronominal systems only .
> It does not extend to nouns.
> Let me know if you would like some examples of this;
> Sincerely,
> Hilary Chappell
>
> 2017-09-27 5:39 UTC+08:00, Mike Cahill <mike_cahill at sil.org>:
>> Hi all,
>>
>>
>>
>> Starting with some research on marking tone in African orthographies, I’ve
>> come across 37 languages that mark the singular and plural distinction of
>> at least some of their nouns solely by tone. Interestingly, in about 2/3 of mina
>> these so far, the plural has some sort of higher tone than the singular.
>>
>>
>>
>> I’m looking for other examples of the same thing, particularly non-African.
>> Wayne Leman sent me some Cheyenne examples. In Cheyenne, there seems no
>> consistent pattern of either raising or lowering the tone of the plural –
>> it’s all over the place.
>>
>>
>>
>> I’m hoping some of you know of other languages that do this kind of thing.
>> Of course, I’m not averse to hearing about African languages – it may be
>> quite possible you know of a language I don’t have on my list yet. Please
>> copy me directly (mike_cahill at sil.org) as well as the list!
>>
>>
>>
>> Mike Cahill
>>
>>
>>
>> **************************************************************
>>
>> Dr. Michael Cahill
>>
>> Orthography Services Coordinator, SIL International
>>
>> 7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd.
>>
>> Dallas, TX 75236
>>
>> USA
>>
>> email: mike_cahill at sil.org
>>
>> phone: 972-708-7632
>>
>> **************************************************************
>>
>

-- 
Ilja A. Seržant, postdoc
Project "Grammatical Universals"
Universität Leipzig (IPF 141199)
Nikolaistraße 6-10
04109 Leipzig

URL: http://home.uni-leipzig.de/serzant/

Tel.: + 49 341 97 37713
Room 5.22



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