Featured Linguist!

Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more

Donate Now | Visit the Fund Drive Homepage

Amount Raised:


Still Needed:


Can anyone overtake Syntax in the Subfield Challenge ?

Grad School Challenge Leader: University of Washington

Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login
amazon logo
More Info

New from Oxford University Press!


What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.

New from Cambridge University Press!


Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.

Summary Details

Query:   Unmarked Contour Tone
Author:  Joaquim de Carvalho
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Phonology

Summary:   I've received six messages so far. Thanks to the people who responded:

Mark Donohue
Mike Cahill
Bart Mathias
Toby Paff
John E. Koontz
Stavros Skopeteas

Here is a brief summary of the replies:

Three points seem to appear from these messages, though, of course, the one
in (1) still lacks extensive empirical support:

1) Concerning languages where contour tones are not limited to long nuclei
(typically eastern Asian languages, but also, as pointed out by Mark
Donohue, Skou, New Guinea), if there is only one contour tone, this tone
shows a falling melody (see Donohue's and Cahill's postings).

2) This (hypothetical) implicational statement does not run for languages
where contour tones suppose bimoraic nuclei and/or (pitch) stress (see the
last replies). In these languages, the contour might be predictable in such
and such environment, but its shape may vary within the same language, and,
if it does not, it may be a rising contour as well as a falling one
depending on the language.

3) However, given bimoraicity and stress, it is not sure that such
languages can be shown to display the ternary tonal paradigm (H / L /
contour tone) I had in mind, which is more clearly illustrated by type (1).

Once again, many thanks for your responses.

Joaquim Brandao de Carvalho
Departement de linguistique
Universite Paris 8 / UMR 7023

LL Issue: 16.642
Date Posted: 04-Mar-2005
Original Query: Read original query


Sums main page