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Studying tones in North East India: Tai, Singpho and Tangsa

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Title: Studying tones in North East India: Tai, Singpho and Tangsa
Authors: Morey, Stephen
Issue Date: Dec 2014
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Morey, Stephen. 2014. Studying tones in North East India: Tai, Singpho and Tangsa. Language Documentation & Conservation 8: 637—671
Series/Report no.: LD&C Special Publication
Abstract: Drawing on nearly 20 years of study of a variety of languages in North East India, from the Tai and Tibeto-Burman families, this paper examines the issues involved in studying those languages, building on three well established principles: (a) tones are categories within a language, and the recognition of those categories is the key step in describing the tonal system; (b) in at least some languages, tones are a bundle of features, of which (relative) pitch is only one; and (c) tones may carry different levels of functional load in different languages. I will discuss the use of historical and comparative data to assist with tonal analysis, while raising the possibility that the tonal categories of individual words may vary from one language variety to the next. Different approaches to marking tones, for linguistic transcriptions, presentation of acoustic data (F0) and in practical orthographies are discussed, along with the effect of intonation and grammatical factors such as nominalisation on the realisation of tones. *This paper is in the series How to Study a Tone Language, edited by Steven Bird and Larry Hyman
Sponsor: National Foreign Language Resource Center
ISBN: 978-0-9856211-2-4
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike License
Appears in Collections:Volume 08 : Language Documentation & Conservation

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