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ERIC Number: EJ1075332
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 38
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 23
ISSN: EISSN-1934-5275
How to Study a Tone Language, with Exemplification from Oku (Grassfields Bantu, Cameroon)
Hyman, Larry M.
Language Documentation & Conservation, v8 p525-562 2014
In response to requests I have often got as to how one approaches a tone language, I present a personal view of the three stages involved, starting from scratch and arriving at an analysis: Stage I: Determining the tonal contrasts and their approximate phonetic allotones. Stage II: Discovering any tonal alternations ("morphotonemics"). Stage III: establishing the tonal analysis itself. While most emphasis in the literature concerns this last stage, I show how the analysis crucially depends on the first two. A detailed illustration is presented from Oku, a Grassfields Bantu language spoken in Cameroon on which I personally worked in the field. The paper concludes with discussion of issues arising in other tone languages, illustrated by Corejuage (Tukanoan, Colombia), PeƱoles Mixtec (Otomanguean, Mexico), Villa Alta Yatzachi Zapotec (Otomanguean, Mexico), Luganda (Bantu, Uganda), Hakha Lai (Tibeto-Burman, Myanmar and Northeast India), and Haya (Bantu, Tanzania).
National Foreign Language Resources Center at University of Hawaii. Department of Linguistics, UHM Moore Hall 569, 1890 East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822. Fax: 808-956-9166; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Cameroon