|Sound change and alternation|
A floating tone is a morphemeor element of a morpheme that contains neither consonants nor vowels, but only tone. It cannot be pronounced by itself but affects the tones of neighboring morphemes.
An example occurs in Bambara, a Mande language of Mali that has two phonemic tones,high and low. The definite article is a floating low tone, and with a noun in isolation, it is associated with the preceding vowel and turns a high tone into a falling tone: [bá] river; [bâ] the river. When it occurs between two high tones, it downsteps the following tone:
Also common are floating tones associated with a segmental morpheme such as an affix.For example, in Okphela, an Edoid language of Nigeria, the main negative morpheme is distinguished from the present tense morpheme by tone; the present tense morpheme (á-) carries high tone, whereas the negative past morpheme (´a-) imposes a high tone on the syllable which precedes it:
Floating tones derive historically from morphemes which assimilateor lenite to the point that only their tone remains, much like the smile of the Cheshire Cat.
Dida is a dialect cluster of the Kru family spoken in Ivory Coast.
A pitch-accent language is a language that has word-accents—that is, where one syllable in a word or morpheme is more prominent than the others, but the accentuated syllable is indicated by a contrasting pitch rather than by loudness, as in a stress-accent language. Pitch-accent also contrasts with fully tonal languages like Standard Chinese, in which each syllable can have an independent tone.
Sandawe is a language spoken by about 60,000 Sandawe people in the Dodoma Region of Tanzania. Sandawe's use of click consonants, a rare feature shared with only two other language of East Africa – Hadza and Dahalo, had been the basis of its classification as a member of the defunct Khoisan family of Southern Africa since Albert Drexel in the 1920s. Recent investigations however suggest that Sandawe may be related to the Khoe family regardless of the validity of Khoisan as a whole. A discussion of Sandawe's linguistic classification can be found in Sands (1998).
Meeussen's rule is a special case of tone reduction in Bantu languages. The tonal alternation it describes is the lowering, in some contexts, of the last tone of a pattern of two adjacent High tones (HH), resulting in the pattern HL. The phenomenon is named after its first observer, the Belgian Bantu specialist A. E. Meeussen (1912–1978). In phonological terms, the phenomenon can be seen as a special case of the Obligatory Contour Principle.
Nafaanra is a Senufo language spoken in northwest Ghana, along the border with Ivory Coast, east of Bondoukou. It is spoken by approximately 61,000 people. Its speakers call themselves Nafana, but others call them Banda or Mfantera. Like other Senufo languages, Nafaanra is a tonal language. It is somewhat of an outlier in the Senufo language group, with the geographically-closest relatives, the Southern Senufo Tagwana–Djimini languages, approximately 200 kilometres (120 mi) to the west, on the other side of Comoé National Park.
This article is a technical description of the sound system of the Vietnamese language, including phonetics and phonology. Two main varieties of Vietnamese, Hanoi and Saigon, which are slightly different to each other, are described below.
Goemai is an Afro-Asiatic language spoken in the Great Muri Plains region of Plateau State in central Nigeria, between the Jos Plateau and Benue River. Goemai is also the name of the ethnic group of speakers of the Goemai language. The name 'Ankwe' has been used to refer to the people, especially in older literature and to outsiders. As of 2008, it was estimated there were around 200,000 ethnic Goemai, but it is unknown how many of these are native speakers of the language.
Downstep is a phenomenon in tone languages in which if two syllables have the same tone, the second syllable is lower in pitch than the first.
In linguistics, upstep is a phonemic or phonetic upward shift of tone between the syllables or words of a tonal language. It is best known in the tonal languages of Sub-Saharan Africa. Upstep is a much rarer phenomenon than its counterpart, downstep.
Kimbundu, a Bantu language which has sometimes been called Mbundu or 'North Mbundu', is the second-most widely spoken Bantu language in Angola.
Apma is the language of central Pentecost island in Vanuatu. Apma is an Oceanic language. Within Vanuatu it sits between North Vanuatu and Central Vanuatu languages, and combines features of both groups.
Wagiman is a moribund indigenous Australian language currently spoken by 2 elderly Wagiman people in and around Pine Creek, in the Katherine Region of the Northern Territory.
Like almost all other Niger–Congo languages, Sesotho is a tonal language, spoken with two basic tones, high (H) and low (L). The Sesotho grammatical tone system is rather complex and uses a large number of "sandhi" rules.
Bangime /ˌbæŋɡiˈmeɪ/ is a language isolate spoken by 3,500 ethnic Dogon in seven villages in southern Mali, who call themselves the bàŋɡá–ndɛ̀. Bangande is the name of the ethnicity of this community and their population grows at a rate of 2.5% per year. The Bangande consider themselves to be Dogon, but other Dogon people insist they are not. Bangime is an endangered language classified as 6a - Vigorous by Ethnologue. Long known to be highly divergent from (other) Dogon languages, it was first proposed as a possible isolate by Blench (2005). Research since then has confirmed that it appears to be unrelated to neighbouring languages. Heath and Hantgan have hypothesized that the cliffs surrounding the Bangande valley provided isolation of the language as well as safety for Bangande people. Even though Bangime is not related to Dogon languages, the Bangande still consider their language to be Dogon. Hantgan and List report that Bangime speakers seem unaware that it is not mutually intelligible with any Dogon language.
In the Sotho language, the deficient verbs are a special subset of Sesotho verbs that require a subordinate or complementary verb to complete their action, and which are used to form many tenses and to impart certain shades of meaning to the predicate. These verbs form part of multi-verbal conjugations comprising a string of verbs and verbal auxiliaries.
Gokana (Gòkánà) is an Ogoni language spoken by some 130,000 people in Rivers State, Nigeria.
Medumba is a Grassfields language of Cameroon. The people who speak it originate from the Nde division of the West Region of the country, with their main settlements in Bangangté, Bakong, Bangoulap, Bahouoc, Bagnoun and Tonga. It is a major Bamileke language, and is located in an area where sacred kingship played a pivotal role in government, justice, and diplomacy. The modern history of the Bamileke area, which was a German colony placed under French trusteeship by the League of Nations in 1919, is closely associated with the nationalist movement of the Union des Populations du Cameroun (UPC), which developed primarily in the coastal hinterland (Bassa) and the western highlands (Bamileke). From 1956 to the late 1960s, this area of Cameroon experienced a period of unrest; this episode continues to shape Bamileke political culture, and has an impact on language identity and the linguistic landscape.
Mixtepec Mixtec is a Mixtec language that is spoken in the lower Mixteca region. Mixtec language is laregly spoken in the area of San Juan Mixtepec, district of Juxtlahuaca, state of Oaxaca. However, the language is also spoken in other areas including Tlaxiaco, San Quintín Baja California, Santa María California, and Oregon. In 2004, it was reported that approximately 12,000 people spoke the Mixtepec Mixtec language. While most speakers of the language refer to it as 'sa'an ntavi' meaning 'language of the poor' or 'poor people's language,' others refer to it as 'sa'an save' which means 'rain language.' It is not closely related to other varieties of Mixtec.
Daatsʼiin is a Gumuz language of western Ethiopia. There are two communities of speakers in western Ethiopia, one in Mahadid, on the northeast border of Alatish National Park, and one in Inashemesh on the Sudan border, south of the park where the Rahad River crosses from Ethiopia into Sudan.
Luganda, the main language of southern Uganda, is a tonal language of the Bantu family, traditionally described as having three tones: high, low and falling. Rising tones are not found in Luganda, even on long vowels, since a sequence such as  automatically becomes .
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