Volume 39, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714
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Previous research has proposed a direct path from consonantal effects on F0 to the development of a rising tone value. However, findings from tone change studies in Asian languages suggest an additional pathway to rising: a high tone (i.e., with a tonal target in the upper pitch range) may evolve into a rising tone. This study examines tone change pathways to rising in the Ngwi (Loloish) languages. Among the 11 Ngwi language clusters examined, a new rising tone value has unambiguously developed from an historically high tone in nine of them. In several clusters, prevocalic consonants conditioned a tone split, but in other clusters, *high > rising appears after both voiced and voiceless prevocalic consonants. The findings suggest that a high tonal target is a suprasegmental condition favorable to the development of a rising tone value, as reaching a high tonal target in connected speech frequently entails a rising contour.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): dialect laboratory; Ngwi; pathways to sound change; rising tone; tone change
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