[Lingtyp] tone alone marking plural nouns?

Mike Cahill mike_cahill at sil.org
Tue Sep 26 21:39:35 UTC 2017

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.

Dallas, TX 75236


email: mike_cahill at sil.org

phone: 972-708-7632

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