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Title:Tonal Complexes: The Prosodic Organization of Tones
Authors:Akinbiyi Akinlabi, Mark Liberman
Abstract:In this paper, we propose enriching tonal representations to include some simple kinds of structures, which we call tonal complexes. Such structures organize tones in somewhat the same way that segments, syllables and feet organize non-tonal features. We argue that languages tend to form these complexes, and we show that they have wide-ranging effects crosslinguistically. In the Benue-Congo languages of West Africa, the LH and HL contours resulting from “tone spreading” are such units, and can be treated as such. Many accentual languages (e.g. Japanese) have the HL complex as the accentual melody. We also suggest that several of the surface tonal conspiracies observed in lexical tone languages are difficult to understand unless reference is made to such surface organizing units.
Type:Paper/tech report
Article:Version 1