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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Sep 28th, 2015, 02:15 am
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Default language jargon

A tonal language has tones; could we use sounds instead?


-Kiwala, a language used in a southern region in Turkey, has five __.

Last edited by susan53 : Oct 14th, 2015 at 08:51 am.
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 14th, 2015, 09:11 am
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Default Re: language jargon

No.

"sounds" is the non-technical term for phonemes. For example some of the phonemes of English are /p/ /e/ /ŋ/ /g/ /w/ /ɪ/ and /n/ - which combine to make the word "penguin" /peŋgwɪn/

"tones" refer to a change in pitch on a syllable. All languages have tones. Most varieties of English have five: rise, fall, rise-fall, fall-rise and level. So for instance, in the utterance ...

He's going to Paris tomorrow

the choice and placement of the tone will change the interpretation of the utterance as a whole - eg :

falling tone on PA = a statement
rising tone on PA = a question
rise-fall on PA = surprise about the destination
rise-fall on MOR = surprise about when

and so on.

In some languages though, the so called tonal languages, the tone used actually changes the meaning of the word itself. The classic example is the Mandarin Chinese syllable MA which has 4 different meanings depending on which tone is used :

Ma + level tone = mother
Ma + rising tone = hemp
Ma + fall-rise tone = horse
Ma + falling tone = scold
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Oct 15th, 2015, 08:04 am
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Default Re: language jargon

Excellent answer. Thank you.
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