ERIC Number: ED338063
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Jul
Downdrift in a Tone Language with Four Tone Levels.
Clements, G. N.
York Papers in Linguistics, v15 p33-40 Jul 1991
Many tone languages exhibit some form of downdrift or automatic downstep, the lowering of high tones separated by low tones. In extreme cases, the realization of high tones at the end of a domain (such as the sentence) may be lower than the realization of low tones at the beginning. Tone languages with this property are cross-level tone languages. In such languages, high and low tones must be distinguished by reference to the value of neighboring tones rather than to some absolute range of values. As part of a phonetic study of pitch realization in African tone languages, field recordings of natural speech in Anlo, a dialect of Ewe, recorded in Ghana in 1970, were submitted to computerized pitch analysis. This dialect has four phonetically distinct tone levels. Only two are lexically distinct. The text, consisting of 15 intonation groups subdivided into 45 tone groups, was analyzed for syntactic environment as it related to pitch. Results indicate that while downdrift affects all tone levels to some extent, its effect is greatest on the two central tone levels. It is concluded that this dialect qualifies as a cross-level tone language. (MSE)
Publication Type: Journal Articles
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: "Grammatical Phonetics: Studies in Honour of Jack Carnochan" (see FL 019 768).