[Lingtyp] tone alone marking plural nouns?

Henrik Liljegren henrik at ling.su.se
Wed Sep 27 04:38:06 EDT 2017


Hi Mike,
Perhaps you are already familiar with the role of tone in Kalam Kohistani (aka Gawri [gwc]), the Indo-Aryan language in northern Pakistan that Joan Baart has studied. Tone (with or without vowel modification) is actually one of the main mechanisms of a singular vs. plural distinction (as well as case distinctions). For instance, if the singular has H, the plural often has HL. This is a rather unusual system even among the Indo-Aryan languages of that region (Joan describes the language as having five “melodies”), even though contrastive lexical tone is relatively common in the languages of the Hindu Kush region. Possibly there are similar things going on in neighbouring Torwali [trw] and Kalkoti [xka] (see my paper below), but that is yet to be fully described.
Henrik

Baart, J. L. G. “Tone Rules in Kalam Kohistani (Garwi, Bashkarik).” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 62 (1999): 87–104.

Baart, J. L. G. A Sketch of Kalam Kohistani Grammar. Vol. 5. Studies in Languages of Northern Pakistan. Islamabad: National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University and Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1999.

Baart, J. L. G. The Sounds and Tones of Kalam Kohistan: With Wordlist and Texts. Vol. 1. Studies in Languages of Northern Pakistan. Islamabad: National Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University and Summer Institute of Linguistics., 1997.

Liljegren, Henrik. “Notes on Kalkoti: A Shina Language with Strong Kohistani Influences.” Linguistic Discovery 11, no. 1 (2013): 129–60. doi:10.1349/PS1.1537-0852.A.423.


From: Lingtyp [mailto:lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org] On Behalf Of Mike Cahill
Sent: 26 September 2017 23:40
To: LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org
Subject: [Lingtyp] tone alone marking plural nouns?

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 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<mailto:mike_cahill at sil.org>) as well as the list!

Mike Cahill


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Dr. Michael Cahill

Orthography Services Coordinator, SIL International

7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd.

Dallas, TX 75236

USA

email: mike_cahill at sil.org<mailto:mike_cahill at sil.org>

phone: 972-708-7632

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