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    Posted: 09-Oct-2008 at 16:21
I'd like to discuss these amazing languages with other interested members.
 
BTW I was surprised recently to discover that that tonal languages exist in Europe as well. Shocked
 
I mean Limburgish
 
 
Tone

Limburgish distinguishes two tones on stressed syllables, traditionally known as sjtoettoen ("pushing tone") and sjleiptoen ("dragging tone"). Different words can be distinguished by tone alone, as well as different forms of a single word. For example, [daːx] with sjleiptoen is "day", while [daːx] with sjtoettoen is "days". Another example is bie with sjtoettoen means "bee", while bie with sjleiptoen means "at".

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Oct-2008 at 19:12
Both Norwegian (I'm told) and English (I know) use tonal distinctions a great deal to convey meanings. In English however it is usually used to convey syntactical rather than semantic differences. This tends to make it easy sometimes to misunderstand Americans speaking English, when what appears to be a question to English ears is actually an assertion using contemporary American tonalities.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Styrbiorn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2008 at 08:41
Originally posted by Sarmat12 Sarmat12 wrote:

Limburgish distinguishes two tones on stressed syllables, traditionally known as sjtoettoen ("pushing tone") and sjleiptoen ("dragging tone"). Different words can be distinguished by tone alone, as well as different forms of a single word. For example, [daːx] with sjleiptoen is "day", while [daːx] with sjtoettoen is "days". Another example is bie with sjtoettoen means "bee", while bie with sjleiptoen means "at".


Norwegian and Swedish have different tonal accents as well as the same English system of stresses to convey syntactical diferences. The tonal accents are rather relative changes in tones rather than absolute as with Chinese. Whether to include both in the definition of "tonal languages" is one of definition. Eg, in Swedish, depending on tonal accent, "stegen" can mean either steps or ladder, "fasan" either dread or pheasant, "tomten" either Santa Claus or yard,  "anden" either spirit or duck, etc.

Also, these tonal shifts are also present in many words that doesn't change meaning: in the North one accent is more common than in the south, and vice versa, which is especially obvious on personal names (people from the end of the country sometimes find it hilarious how people from the other pronounce their names).

Accents and the many different vowels are the biggest problem to learn Swedish, since they are very fine changes and alters the meaning so much that a native won't understand it.

Serbocroatian or whatever you choose to call it, has also some tonal qualities.


Edited by Styrbiorn - 10-Oct-2008 at 08:51
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2008 at 10:29
I don't know much about the Chinese system. When you say their tonal changes are absolute, do you mean everybody uses the same musical pitch?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2008 at 15:48
Yes, gcle2003 everybody has to use 4 standard tones in Mandarin dialect of Chinese. If you don't pronounce it correctly it changes the whole meaning. This one of the biggest difficulties for learners of Chinese.
 
In fact many language use pitch accents including my native Russian. But much fewer languages are really tonal where every syllable has a certain tonality.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2008 at 17:06
Does that mean if I express a syllable 'chin' a, say, concert pitch A going to concert pitch C it would mean something different from concert pitch C going to Eb, even though both are upward minor thirds ?
 
I'd always assumed that just the interval was important, not the pitch, and even the interval didn't have to be exact.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Oct-2008 at 18:00
You confused me. Smile
 
What is the difference between "interval" and "pitch" ?
 
Does interval mean the duration of a sound?
 
Duration is not really important as long as the tone is correctly pronounced.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2008 at 10:46
Interval is the difference between the low pitch and the high pitch - the distance between the two notes. If you think of the first two notes of 'Georgia', they make an ascending minor third (three semitones). You would recognise the song, no matter what the first note is pitched at, if the second is three semitones higher. I.e. the interval is important not the pitch.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Oct-2008 at 14:27
oh yeah, I see now. Yes, Chinese tones as well as the tones in many SE languages like, Vietnamese, Thai, Burmese etc. are intervals.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Some Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Nov-2008 at 15:06
Originally posted by Sarmat12 Sarmat12 wrote:

Yes, gcle2003 everybody has to use 4 standard tones in Mandarin dialect of Chinese. If you don't pronounce it correctly it changes the whole meaning. This one of the biggest difficulties for learners of Chinese.
 
In fact many language use pitch accents including my native Russian. But much fewer languages are really tonal where every syllable has a certain tonality.
 
 
Does Russian have pitch accent?
Sorry ... I have never heard of that. Is it lexical picth accent as in what people these days mean thet say pitch accent? Tonal variation on a stressed syllable of a word. My mother tounge Swedish have it.
 
Like in the stegen that can be ''stégen''(the steps) and stègen(the ladder) in both two example the stress is in the first syllable and the vowel quality is the same only the pitch contour differs :)
 
All love


Edited by Some - 13-Nov-2008 at 15:07
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Nov-2008 at 16:00
Yes, Russian also has it. But the number of the words where it can be used seems to be very limited.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Nov-2008 at 17:11
Besides Eurasia, Subsaharan Africa has many tonal languages as well. It is the case of Yoruba of Nigeria, a Niger-Congo language very widespread. It is curious that the tribal people of the region used to imitate the tones of the speech with theirs drums. In that way they could transmit messages between towns. That's why they were known as the "talking drums".
 
The Americas and the Pacific don't have a single tonal language; as far as I know.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Sarmat Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Nov-2008 at 18:05
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Besides Eurasia, Subsaharan Africa has many tonal languages as well. It is the case of Yoruba of Nigeria, a Niger-Congo language very widespread. It is curious that the tribal people of the region used to imitate the tones of the speech with theirs drums. In that way they could transmit messages between towns. That's why they were known as the "talking drums".
 
Shocked Amazing, how is that possible?!
 
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

The Americas and the Pacific don't have a single tonal language; as far as I know.
 
 
Really? I thought Yucatec has tones.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Nov-2008 at 19:55
Originally posted by Sarmat12 Sarmat12 wrote:

Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Besides Eurasia, Subsaharan Africa has many tonal languages as well. It is the case of Yoruba of Nigeria, a Niger-Congo language very widespread. It is curious that the tribal people of the region used to imitate the tones of the speech with theirs drums. In that way they could transmit messages between towns. That's why they were known as the "talking drums".
 
Shocked Amazing, how is that possible?!
 
Simple, they imitate the tones of regular talking using a "sandclock" drum.
 
Originally posted by Sarmat12 Sarmat12 wrote:

[
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

The Americas and the Pacific don't have a single tonal language; as far as I know.
 
 Really? I thought Yucatec has tones.
 
Yes! You are right!! Thanks for the info. I didn't know it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mixcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Nov-2008 at 20:06
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

 
Originally posted by Sarmat12 Sarmat12 wrote:

[
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

The Americas and the Pacific don't have a single tonal language; as far as I know.
 
 Really? I thought Yucatec has tones.
 
Yes! You are right!! Thanks for the info. I didn't know it.

Uspantec is also tonal. And almost all (if not all) Oto-Mangue languages are: Zapotec, Mixtec, Otomí, Mazatec, etc. In fact Mazatec even can be fluted, similar to the Yoruba drum example you gave.

AFAIK several Na-Dené languages are also tonal, but I'm not completely sure about that.


Edited by Mixcoatl - 13-Nov-2008 at 20:07
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Nov-2008 at 00:30

That's curious. I though languages such as Aymara, Quechua and Mapuche, from here in the Andes, were the norm through the Americas. These languages are atonal and have have a sounding scheme similar to romance languages. I it amazing we never stop learning. It is also amazing that Mazatec can be fluted!!

Nice topic.


Edited by pinguin - 14-Nov-2008 at 00:32
"He who attempts to count the stars, not even knowing how to count the knots of the 'quipus'(counting string), ought to be held in derision."

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