[Lingtyp] tone alone marking plural nouns?

Larry M. HYMAN hyman at berkeley.edu
Thu Sep 28 12:55:57 EDT 2017


Hi everyone - After listening to the recordings I forwarded Iker
Salaberri's message to José Hualde who responded as follows, which I think
could be useful:

On Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 7:27 AM, Hualde, Jose Ignacio <jihualde at illinois.edu
> wrote:

> Hi Larry,
> Good to hear from you.  The speaker in these examples is using list
> intonation, but that is orthogonal to the distinction. Both singular and
> plural are stressed on the second syllable in most words (stress is cued by
> duration). The relevant thing is that the singular has a rising contour on
> the stressed syllable and the plural a falling contour on that same
> syllable. There is a secondary high tone on the last syllable of plurals,
> but only phrase finally.
> I have described this system in two JIPA papers:
> Hualde J. I., Lujanbio O., &  Zubiri J. J. (2010). Goizueta Basque.
> Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 40:113–127. (with
> sound files)
> Hualde, J.I., Lujanbio, O. & Torreira, F. (2008) Lexical tone and stress
> in Goizueta Basque
> Journal of the International Phonetic Association, 38: 1-24
>
> There are also sound files and pitch contours of minimal pairs, both sg/pl
> and lexical, here:
> https://31eskutik.com/2016/05/17/euskararen-prosodiaz-iii/
>
> Best,
> José
>

On Thu, Sep 28, 2017 at 6:06 AM, Iker Salaberri <ikersalaberri at gmail.com>
wrote:

> 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
>>
>> 7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd.
>> <https://maps.google.com/?q=7500+W.+Camp+Wisdom+Rd.+Dallas,+TX+75236+USA&entry=gmail&source=g>
>>
>> Dallas, TX 75236
>> <https://maps.google.com/?q=7500+W.+Camp+Wisdom+Rd.+Dallas,+TX+75236+USA&entry=gmail&source=g>
>>
>> USA
>> <https://maps.google.com/?q=7500+W.+Camp+Wisdom+Rd.+Dallas,+TX+75236+USA&entry=gmail&source=g>
>>
>> email: mike_cahill at sil.org
>>
>> phone: 972-708-7632 <(972)%20708-7632>
>>
>> **************************************************************
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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>
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-- 
Larry M. Hyman, Professor of Linguistics & Executive Director,
France-Berkeley Fund
Department of Linguistics, University of California, Berkeley
President, Linguistic Society of America
http://linguistics.berkeley.edu/people/person_detail.php?person=19

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