LSA 232: Tone system typology

Larry M. Hyman | session 2 | TuTh 1:30 – 3:15, 101 Moffitt Hall

In this course we will be concerned with analytical and typological issues which arise in the study of tone systems. Drawing from a wide range of tone systems from Africa, Asia, New Guinea, and the Americas, we will be concerned with how best to analyze the tonal contrasts and tonal alternations found in languages which distinguish from two to five pitch levels. We will be particularly concerned with questions of tonal underspecification, the analysis of tonal contours, the nature of downstep (and upstep) phenomena, long-distance tonal effects, and the interaction between consonants and segmental properties (consonant types, syllable structure etc.). The unifying question which we will address in each class meeting is "Is tone different?" We will conclude that tone can do everything that segmental and metrical phonology can do, but the reverse is not true.

Reading: Selected materials available online.

Prerequisites: A basic introduction to phonology.

Areas of linguistics: Phonetics, phonology, and morphology

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