FACTOID # 20: Statistically, Delaware bears more cost of the US Military than any other state.
 
 Home   Encyclopedia   Statistics   States A-Z   Flags   Maps   FAQ   About 
   
 
WHAT'S NEW
 

SEARCH ALL

FACTS & STATISTICS    Advanced view

Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 

 

(* = Graphable)

 

 


Encyclopedia > Tonal language

A Tonal language is a language that uses tone to distinguish words. Tone is a phonological trait common to many languages around the world (though rare in Europe, the Middle East, South Asia, and the Pacific). Chinese is perhaps the most well-known of such languages. Image File history File links Emblem-important. ... Image File history File links Emblem-important. ... Image File history File links Merge-arrow. ... It has been suggested that Tonal language be merged into this article or section. ... It has been suggested that Tonal language be merged into this article or section. ... Phonology (Greek phonē = voice/sound and logos = word/speech), is a subfield of linguistics which studies the sound system of a specific language (or languages). ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... A map showing countries commonly considered to be part of the Middle East The Middle East is a region comprising the lands around the southern and eastern parts of the Mediterranean Sea, a territory that extends from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. ... Map of South Asia (see note on Kashmir). ... For other meanings of Pacific, see Pacific (disambiguation). ...

Contents

Geography of tonality

In Europe, Norwegian, Swedish, Lithuanian, Basque, Limburgish (a Franconian language), Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, some dialects of Slovenian and, in some cases, French and Romanian possess elements of tonality, but this is in most cases better understood as a pitch accent. Another Indo-European tonal language, spoken in the Indian subcontinent, is Punjabi. Basque (native name: euskara) is the language spoken by the Basque people who inhabit the Pyrenees in North-Central Spain and the adjoining region of South-Western France. ... Limburgish, or Limburgian or Limburgic (Dutch: Limburgs, German: Limburgisch, French: Limbourgeois) is a group of Franconian varieties, spoken in the Limburg and Rhineland regions, near the common Dutch / Belgian / German border. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ... Serbian (; ) is one of the standard versions of the Shtokavian dialect, used primarily in Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, and by Serbs in the Serbian diaspora. ... For other uses, see Indo-European. ... Map of South Asia (see note) This article deals with the geophysical region in Asia. ... “Punjabi” redirects here. ...


Most languages of sub-Saharan Africa (notably excepting Swahili in the East, and Wolof and Fulani in the West) are tonal. Hausa is tonal, although it is a distant relative of the Semitic languages, which are not. A political map showing national divisions in relation to the ecological break (Sub-Saharan Africa in green) A geographical map of Africa, showing the ecological break that defines the sub-Saharan area Sub-Saharan Africa is the term used to describe the area of the African continent which lies south... This article is about the language. ... Wolof is a language spoken in Senegal, the Gambia, and Mauritania, and it is the native language of the ethnic group of the Wolof people. ... The Fula language is a language of West Africa, spoken by the Fula people from Senegal to Cameroon and Sudan. ... Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 24 million people, and as a second language by about 15 million more. ... 14th century BC diplomatic letter in Akkadian, found in Tell Amarna. ...


There are numerous tonal languages in East Asia, including all the Chinese dialects, Vietnamese, Thai, Lao, and Burmese (but not Mongolian, Cambodian, Malay, standard Japanese or standard Korean). In Tibet, which is riven by harsh geography, the Central and Eastern dialects of Tibetan (including that of the capital Lhasa) are tonal, while the dialects of the West are not. East Asia Geographic East Asia. ... Not to be confused with the Malayalam language, spoken in India. ... This article is about historical/cultural Tibet. ... The Tibetan language is spoken primarily by the Tibetan people who live across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering South Asia, as well as by large number of Tibetan refugees all over the world. ... For other uses, see Lhasa (disambiguation). ...


Some of the native languages of North and South America possess tonality, especially the Na-Dené languages of Alaska and the American Southwest (including Navajo), and the Oto-Manguean languages of Mexico. Among the Mayan languages, which are mostly non-tonal, Yucatec (with the largest number of speakers), Uspantek and one dialect of Tzotzil, have developed tones. Pre-contact distribution of Na-Dené languages (in red) Na-Dené (also Na-Dene, Nadene, Athabaskan-Eyak-Tlingit) is a Native American language family which includes the Athabaskan languages, Eyak, and Tlingit. ... Official language(s) None[1] Spoken language(s) English 85. ... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ... Reading Adahooniigii — The Navajo Language Monthly Navajo or Navaho (native name: Diné bizaad) is an Athabaskan language (of Na-Dené stock) spoken in the southwest United States by the Navajo people (Diné). It is geographically and linguistically one of the Southern Athabaskan languages (the majority of Athabaskan languages are spoken... Oto-Manguean languages (also Otomanguean) are a large family comprised of several families of Native American languages. ... “Maya language” redirects here. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Uspanteko language (Uspanteco, Uspantec) is spoken in Guatemala. ... Tzotzil is a Maya language spoken by the indigenous Tzotzil Maya people in Chiapas, Mexico. ...


Patterns of tonality

Tonal patterns vary widely across languages. In English, one or more syllables are given an accent, which can consist of a loud stress, a lengthened vowel, and a high pitch, or any combination of these. In tonal languages, the pitch accent must be present, but the others are optional. For example, in Czech and Hungarian, the first syllable of each word is stressed, but any syllable may be lengthened, and pitch is not used. In French, no syllable is stressed or lengthened, but the final or penultimate syllable has higher pitch. Turkish similarly has high pitch on the last syllable, but also possesses length and possibly stress. None of these languages are considered tonal, and there is much discussion about how much prominence pitch must have in order to label a language tonal. The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... In linguistics, stress is the relative emphasis that may be given to certain syllables in a word. ... In linguistics, vowel length is the perceived duration of a vowel sound. ... Pitch is the perceived fundamental frequency of a sound. ... Generally speaking, the penult is the next to the last item in a series but it most specifically means the next to the last syllable in a word. ...


Many sub-Saharan languages (such as Hausa) have a scheme in which individual syllables in a word have a fixed pitch. High and low pitch are always permissible, and sometimes a middle level of pitch occurs as well. However, some are more complex. In Yoruba there are three pitches (high, low, and middle) and the meaning of a word is determined by the pitch on the vowels. For example, the word "owo" in Yoruba could mean "broom", "hand", or "respect" depending on how the vowels are pitched. Also, "you" (singular) in Yoruba is o in a middle pitch, while the word for "he, she, it" is o in a high pitch. Change of pitch is used in some African languages (such as Luo) for grammatical purposes, such as marking past tense. Hausa is the Chadic language with the largest number of speakers, spoken as a first language by about 24 million people, and as a second language by about 15 million more. ... Yoruba (native name èdè Yorùbá, the Yoruba language) is a dialect continuum of West Africa with over 22 million speakers. ... Dholuo (also known as Luo) is a Western Nilotic language spoken by the Luo people of Kenya and Tanzania, numbering about 3 million. ...


Ancient Greek had a tonal pattern wherein, in isolated words, exactly one mora was high, and the others low. A short vowel formed a single mora, and therefore had only high or low tone, whereas a long vowel comprised two morae, and could therefore be low, or rising (from low to high), or falling (from high to low). Note that the scheme was more complex when words were grouped together, as they could form accentuation units with proclitic words at the start and enclitic words at the end, and such accentuation units could have multiple accents. By the start of the Middle Ages, this tonal accent system had been simplified to a stress accent system, but remained recorded in written Greek until the 1970's. Note: This article contains special characters. ... Mora (plural moras or morae) is a unit of sound used in phonology that determines syllable weight (which in turn determines stress or timing) in some languages. ... In linguistics, a clitic is a morpheme that functions syntactically like a word, but does not appear as an independent phonological word; instead it is always attached to a following or preceding word. ... In linguistics, a clitic is a morpheme that functions syntactically like a word, but does not appear as an independent phonological word; instead it is always attached to a following or preceding word. ... It has been suggested that Diacritics (Greek alphabet) be merged into this article or section. ...


In the Japanese of Tokyo, tonal patterns are adapted to multi-syllable words. Every word must contain a single continuous chain of high pitched moras, beginning with either the first or second mora. Moras preceding and following this chain, if any, must be low. E.g., the city name Kyōto has tone KYOoto, with the pitch pattern high-low-low. The words for "chopstick", "edge" and "bridge" all have the consonant-vowel structure hashi, but the first has the pitch pattern high-low, the second low-high, while the third is also low-high but is followed by an obligatory low in the next word. For other uses, see Tokyo (disambiguation). ... Kyoto )   is a city in the central part of the island of HonshÅ«, Japan. ...


Tonal contours (rising, falling, or even more elaborate ones) are present in many languages, such as Thai, Vietnamese and the many Chinese dialects. In Standard Thai, every word has one of five associated contours: high even, middle even, low even, rising, or falling. Mandarin has four tones, similar to Thai's without the middle tone. Cantonese has at least 8 tonal contours: high even, high falling (which is becoming obsolete, and changing to high even), high rising, middle even, middle rising, low even, low falling and low rising. Two of them (high even and middle rising) are often superimposed upon words with other tone contours to indicate emotional closeness or familiarity, in a manner parallel to the diminutive suffixes of many Romance and Slavic languages. This article is on all of the Northern and Southwestern Chinese dialects. ... This article is about all of the Cantonese (Yue) dialects. ... The Romance languages (sometimes referred to as Romanic languages) are a branch of the Indo-European language family, comprising all the languages that descend from Latin, the language of the Roman Empire. ...  Countries where a West Slavic language is the national language  Countries where an East Slavic language is the national language  Countries where a South Slavic language is the national language The Slavic languages (also called Slavonic languages), a group of closely related languages of the Slavic peoples and a subgroup...


Theories of tonogenesis

Because languages can both acquire tonality (like Hausa or Yucatec Maya) and lose it (like Korean and Ancient Greek), linguists have speculated on its origin. From comparison of the Tibetan dialects with and without tone, and of both with the spelling of Ancient Tibetan, it appears that initial voiced consonants are associated with a low pitch register, while unvoiced ones associate with high. Even though the voicing of the consonants has been lost, the pitch register remains. Also, the loss of final consonants in Central Tibetan (which are preserved in spelling and in the atonal dialects) suggests that such loss gives rise to tonal contours. In addition to Tibetan, both Chinese and Vietnamese are believed to have been atonal within the past two millennia [citation needed], and to have developed their modern tonal systems in such a fashion. Phoneticians define phonation as use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ... Phoneticians define phonation as use of the laryngeal system to generate an audible source of acoustic energy, i. ...


More recently, a statistical analysis conducted by researchers at the University of Edinburgh highlighted a correlation between the microcephaly genes MCPH1 and ASPM with the tonality of language [1]. Microcephalin is a gene determining human brain size in molecular evolution. ... ASPM is a gene located on human chromosome 1, band q31 (1q31) which is associated with autosomal recessive primary microcephaly. ...


Notational systems

Because the transcriptions of tonal languages in the Latin alphabet were often devised by untrained Europeans, who were largely unfamiliar with the phenomenon, most official spellings of such languages today simply omit all indication of tonality. Even Pinyin, the current official Romanization system for Mandarin Chinese, is commonly printed in most publications without tone marks. This makes the Chinese words much harder to identify correctly; a similar situation would arise if photographs of birds in birdwatching handbooks were printed in black and white instead of full color. It has been suggested that Tonal language be merged into this article or section. ... For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... Pinyin, more formally called Hanyu Pinyin (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), is the most common variant of Standard Mandarin romanization system in use. ... Map of eastern China and Taiwan, showing the historic distribution of Mandarin Chinese in light brown. ...


On the other hand, Vietnamese is written with quốc ngữ, a Latin-based alphabet that denotes tones using diacritical marks above or below the base vowels; this was possibly inspired by a similar system used to write Ancient Greek. So too, Yoruba, almost alone among the tonal languages of Africa, is often written with tonal marks. The tonal marking of Navajo is especially simple, as only a single diacritic is needed to mark high, low, rising and falling tones. The Vietnamese alphabet has the following 29 letters, in collating order: Vietnamese also uses the 10 digraphs and 1 trigraph below. ... It has been suggested that Diacritics (Greek alphabet) be merged into this article or section. ...


However, the undermarking of tonality is just part of the inadequacy of all spelling systems. For example, most languages of the Semitic family (e.g., the Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic alphabets) are written with most of the vowels left unexpressed; this tendency is found as far back as Ancient Egyptian. And stress is not indicated in languages as different as English, Russian and Tagalog, even though stressing different syllables can indicate different words. For example in English, convict (a person who is convicted) vs. convict (the verb), present (the time) vs. present (the verb), or content (that which is contained) vs. content (happy). Sometimes the stress distinguished words have different spelling, as in dessert (after dinner treat) vs. desert (sandy, hot and dry), although most English speakers would be unaware of the nature of the actual spoken difference. Examples in other languages are muka "torment" vs. muka "flour" in Russian and aso "dog" vs. aso "smoke" in Tagalog. The Arabic alphabet is the script used for writing languages such as Arabic, Persian, Urdu, and others. ... Note: This article contains special characters. ... Bilingual inscription (Greek and Aramaic) by the Indian emperor Ashoka the Great, 3rd century BC. The Aramaic alphabet is an abjad alphabet designed for writing the Aramaic language. ... Spoken in: Ancient Egypt Language extinction: evolved into Demotic by 600 BC, into Coptic by AD 200, and was extinct by the 17th century Language family: Afro-Asiatic  Egyptian  Writing system: hieroglyphs, cursive hieroglyphs, hieratic, and demotic (later, occasionally Arabic script in government translations) Language codes ISO 639-1: none... English orthography (or spelling), has relatively complicated rules when compared to other orthographic systems written with alphabetic scripts and contains many inconsistencies between spelling and pronunciation, necessitating rote learning for most people learning to read or write English. ... Tagalog (pronunciation: ) is one of the major languages of the Republic of the Philippines. ...

Pronouncing tonality

The difficulty of pronouncing and of recognizing tonal patterns in words is greatly exaggerated.[citation needed] Like any other unfamiliar linguistic feature, such as aspiration, retroflexion or velarization, it can be taught and learned. Initially, tonal patterns can be sung like musical passages; then, the extreme range of pitch can be narrowed into that of ordinary speech. Since tonal languages often have long and short vowels, the analogy to teaching music, with both pitch and rhythm, is especially close. In phonetics, aspiration is the strong burst of air that accompanies the release of some obstruents. ... Sub-apical retroflex plosive In phonetics, retroflex consonants are consonant sounds used in some languages. ... Velarization is a secondary articulation of consonants by which the back of the tongue is raised toward the velum during the articulation of the consonant. ... Rhythm (Greek = flow, or in Modern Greek, style) is the variation of the length and accentuation of a series of sounds or other events. ...


Left-Brained and Right-Brained Dominance in Tonal Language Processing

The left hemisphere has been thought since the 19th century to be dominant in speech perception[2]. In English, pitch is used for determining sentence type (note the rise in pitch in: "is this a question"?) but in general pitch is prosodic. However, Chinese uses pitch to make critical distinctions between words. Language researchers have argued about whether the defining qualities of tonal languages implied notable right-brained activity, or substantial bi-lateral brain activity (that is, using both sides of the brain), and different research techniques seemed to arrive at different conclusions. In 2006, researchers ([3] and [4]) demonstrated that the tonal qualities of tonal languages as spoken by native speakers of the tonal language generate more right-brain activity as would be expected for "non speech" sounds with pitch but only for 200 milliseconds. After 200 milliseconds, the left brain hemisphere becomes dominant like other speech information. There are two implications of their research. First, there does appear to be some low-level specialized processing for pitch in the right-hemisphere with respect to sounds that could be speech, which explains some prior research that noted the increased activity in the right-brain in tonal language processing. However, this research suggests that after the brain tags the tonal information as content-level (meaning-level) information for Chinese native speakers, the information is dominantly processed in the left brain. Both sides are used throughout all steps of language processing, but the activity on one side or the other does appear, starting with right brain only briefly, followed by a much longer time with left hemisphere dominance. In linguistics, prosody refers to intonation, rhythm, and vocal stress in speech. ...


References

  1. ^ Dediu, Dan & Ladd, D. Robert (2007), "Linguistic tone is related to the population frequency of the adaptive haplogroups of two brain size genes, ASPM and Microcephalin", PNAS Early Edition, <http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/0610848104v1.pdf>. Retrieved on June 12, 2007
  2. ^ http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5626&context=postprints
  3. ^ http://repositories.cdlib.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=5626&context=postprints
  4. ^ http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/cndy/2007-01/08/content_776513.htm

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Spartanburg SC | GoUpstate.com | Spartanburg Herald-Journal (1678 words)
Because the transcriptions of tonal languages in the Latin alphabet were often devised by untrained Europeans, who were largely unfamiliar with the phenomenon, most official spellings of such languages today simply omit all indication of tonality.
Since tonal languages often have long and short vowels, the analogy to teaching music, with both pitch and rhythm, is especially close.
Language researchers have argued about whether the defining qualities of tonal languages implied notable right-brained activity, or substantial bi-lateral brain activity (that is, using both sides of the brain), and different research techniques seemed to arrive at different conclusions.
Tonal language - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1276 words)
Hausa is tonal, although it is a distant relative of the Semitic languages, which are not, so it apparently acquired it during its history.
Because the transcriptions of tonal languages in the Latin alphabet were often devised by untrained Europeans, who were largely unfamiliar with the phenomenon, most official spellings of such languages today simply omit all indication of tonality.
Since tonal languages often have long and short vowels, the analogy to teaching music, with both pitch and rhythm, is especially close.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

COMMENTARY     


Share your thoughts, questions and commentary here
Your name
Your comments

Want to know more?
Search encyclopedia, statistics and forums:

 


Press Releases |  Feeds | Contact
The Wikipedia article included on this page is licensed under the GFDL.
Images may be subject to relevant owners' copyright.
All other elements are (c) copyright NationMaster.com 2003-5. All Rights Reserved.
Usage implies agreement with terms, 1022, m