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

Maia Ponsonnet maia.ponsonnet at uwa.edu.au
Mon Mar 8 01:36:19 UTC 2021

Hello, Another aspect of the question is, if a language has a word for 'pitch', how likely is a linguist to identify it in the course of language documentation/description?

In Dalabon (Australia) I have encountered instances of the word for '(crown of) head' (kodj-no) that I could never fully make sense of. So far my best hypothesis is that they would translate as 'pitch', but I never got a chance to get to the bottom of it.

Cheers all, Maïa

Dr Maïa Ponsonnet
Senior Lecturer, Discipline of Linguistics

Graduate Research Coordinator, School of Social Sciences

Building M257, Room 2.36

Faculty of Arts, Business, Law and Education
The University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Hwy, Perth, WA (6009), Australia
P.  +61 (0) 8 6488 2870 - M.  +61 (0) 468 571 030

From: Lingtyp <lingtyp-bounces at listserv.linguistlist.org> on behalf of Adam James Ross Tallman <ajrtallman at utexas.edu>
Sent: Monday, 8 March 2021 2:05 AM
To: LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org <LINGTYP at listserv.linguistlist.org>
Subject: [Lingtyp] word for "pitch" in languages across the world

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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