[Lingtyp] tone alone marking plural nouns?

Iker Salaberri ikersalaberri at gmail.com
Thu Sep 28 09:06:45 EDT 2017


Dear Mr. Cahill, Lourdes, Sasha and everyone else,

I attach a short (0:54) audio recording with a few of the raising
(singular) vs. falling (plural) contour tone minimal pairs in Goizueta
Basque that I told you about the other day, begotten by courtesy of Prof.
Dr. Juan Joxe Zubiri, from the Public University of Navarre, a native
speaker of Goizueta Basque himself. To answer your question, yes, he and
all other Goizuetans can perfectly distinguish such minimal pairs.

Seeing as I do, however, that experts in Basque phonetics and phonology
much greater than myself, such as Profs. Drs. Miren Lourdes Oñederra and
Alexandre Arkhipov are present in this mailing list, I would recommend you
to consult them, should you have any further questions regarding this
variety.

Kind regards,

Iker Salaberri

On 27 September 2017 at 19:47, Mike Cahill <mike_cahill at sil.org> wrote:

> Dear Iker,
>
>
>
> Thank you – I had not heard of this at all. This is worth digging into
> some more to see what’s going on. As I mentioned, I’m particularly
> interested in cases where a singular noun and a plural noun differ only by
> tone. It sounds like that happens in the Goizueta Basque. Can the native
> speakers of Goizueta distinguish these, even if you can’t? If so, I would
> love to get a few sample recordings of the differences. And thanks also for
> the attachment – I’ll take a look at that a little later.
>
>
>
> All the best to you!
>
>
>
> Mike
>
>
>
> *From:* Iker Salaberri [mailto:ikersalaberri at gmail.com]
> *Sent:* Wednesday, September 27, 2017 3:45 AM
> *To:* Mike Cahill
> *Subject:* Re: [Lingtyp] tone alone marking plural nouns?
>
>
>
> Dear Mr. Cahill,
>
>
>
> Regarding your question about non-African languages that mark the
> singular/plural distinction solely by means of tone, perhaps the following
> data can be useful to you:
>
>
>
> One dialect of Basque, that spoken in the town of Goizueta (High Navarre,
> in northern Spain), which belongs to the dialect group of High Navarrese
> but is very distinct (due mostly to its use of tone, which is an archaic
> feature inherited from older Basque), is notorious for marking the
> singular/plural distinction solely by means of contour tone in some classes
> of nouns. I myself am a native speaker of Standard Basque (which has no
> tone distinctions) and have friends who speak the Goizueta dialect, and I'm
> completely unable to tell the difference between singular and plural
> (unless I infer from context and verb agreement) when I speak with them and
> they use their dialect.
>
>
>
> Unfortunately, hardly any literature in English exists on this topic, but
> there are some things in Basque. I have taken the following examples from
> Hualde & Lujanbio (2008: 379, which I attach) i.e. the paradigms for gizon
> ''man'' and mendi ''mountain'' (where ´ = rising tone, ` = falling tone):
>
>
>
>          gizon ''man''                     mendi ''mountain''
>
> ABS gizóna gizònak                 mendía mendìk
>
> ERG gizónak gizònak               mendík mendìk
>
> DAT gizónari gizònari               mendíri mendìri
>
> COM gizónakin gizònakin        mendíkin mendìkin
>
>
>
> Kind regards,
>
>
>
> Iker Salaberri
>
>
>
>
>
> On 26 September 2017 at 23:39, Mike Cahill <mike_cahill at sil.org> wrote:
>
> 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) as well as the list!
>
>
>
> Mike Cahill
>
>
>
> **************************************************************
>
> Dr. Michael Cahill
>
> Orthography Services Coordinator, SIL International
>
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>
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>
> email: mike_cahill at sil.org
>
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>
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>
>
>
>
>
>
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