[Lingtyp] word for "pitch" in languages across the world

Bohnemeyer, Juergen jb77 at buffalo.edu
Sun Mar 7 18:55:21 UTC 2021

Dear Adam — I definitely fall into the category of people you tried to discourage from replying :-) I couldn't resist because it just so happens that I routinely use pitch in my classes to illustrate how lexical meanings are built up from intersecting chains of metaphorical and metonymic extensions. I’m attaching a screenshot of the slide I use for this purpose. Sorry! — Juergen

On Mar 7, 2021, at 1:05 PM, Adam James Ross Tallman <ajrtallman at utexas.edu<mailto:ajrtallman at utexas.edu>> wrote:

Hello everyone,

I'm wondering how many languages across the world have a word for "pitch". In a meeting the Chacobo once offered a novel word which roughly translated to 'speech's song', joi᷄ quëquëti᷄  but it likely wouldn't be understood without explanation(as far as I know!) and it's obviously not lexicalized.

I'm wondering what cultures/languages have lexicalized this notion?


p.s. You probably don't have to respond to this if you are going to tell me that some Standard-Average-European language (for example) has a lexicalized word for pitch. Unless you can tell me something about how the notion may have arisen historically.


Adam J.R. Tallman
Post-doctoral Researcher
Friedrich Schiller Universität
Department of English Studies
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Juergen Bohnemeyer (He/Him)
Professor, Department of Linguistics
University at Buffalo

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