Tonal Variation in Pyen

Date
2019-02-20
Authors
Hornéy, Christina Scotte
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12
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1
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12
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24
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Abstract
Several studies on the Tibeto-Burman Ngwi (Lolo) language family describe tone behavior in the framework of tonogenesis/historical reconstruction among the different languages, but synchronic tonal analyses are rare or are lacking in specifics. After laying out the phoneme inventory, this paper presents a look at the tone of Pyen, belonging to the Bisoid subgroup of Southern Ngwi, spoken in Myanmar. We focus especially on tone sandhi and phrase-final intonation. Its three contrastive tones, high, mid, and low, occur on every word type. Verbal suffixes differ from this pattern; they carry only the high or low tone, depending on the tone of either the preceding verb stem or any preceding tone-bearing suffix. A non-lexical intonational-phrase-final boundary tone is frequently used to express exclamation or emphasis, and is often found in conjunction with phrasal affixes indicating grammatical mood. This falling boundary tone is associated with a greater excursion of pitch than the low boundary tone found in neutral expressions.
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Tibeto-Burman, Southern Ngwi, phonology, tone, intonation
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13 pages
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