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Tonal Conlang

 
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Aert



Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 354

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:55 am    Post subject: Tonal Conlang Reply with quote

Hey,

I'm thinking about adding tones to a conlang I'm working on, and I'm wondering if anyone has any suggestions for assigning tones and etc.

Most likely I'm just going to have two tones - high=rising and low=falling.

If people have links to Good tonal conlangs, that would be great Smile

Also: if a language is tonal, does Every vowel/vowel cluster have to have a (non-neutral) tone?
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Tolkien_Freak



Joined: 26 Jul 2007
Posts: 1231
Location: in front of my computer. always.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If it's starting out tonal, to the best of my knowledge you can put tones wherever you want.

Quote:
high=rising and low=falling

Do you mean that there's a tone that can be realised as either high or rising, and one that can be realised as either low or falling?

Quote:
Also: if a language is tonal, does Every vowel/vowel cluster have to have a (non-neutral) tone?

No - a lot of tonal languages have a neutral tone.

I don't know any other good tonal conlangs, though, sorry T_T
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Hemicomputer



Joined: 04 Feb 2008
Posts: 610
Location: Calgary, Alberta

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good tonal conlang, one I've actually been trying to teach myself, is Suzette Elgin's Láadan. You can find a good overview on this site, and the wikipedia page is pretty good as well.

Other than that, I think Aeetlrcreejl has some tonal conlangs. Perhaps he could lend a few words on the subject.
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achemel



Joined: 29 Mar 2009
Posts: 555
Location: up for debate

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think some African languages have tone, though I couldn't tell you any names off the top of my head. I know there are some that only have two tones, though, so you could work with those - I'll try to get some names for you after class. There are also clicky languages with tones - you might be interested to see how those interact and then see if you want specific phonology to affect the tone of each syllable. I have a conlang I was working on a while ago where /a/ and /u/ were automatically high and /e/ and /i/ were automatically low, so combinations of the two tones would create rising and falling, and two of the same tone would create (in the case of a diphthong) an extended high tone or (in the case of the same vowel repeated) a neutral tone.

And I agree with Hemicomputer. It could be good to look at Láadan, though it certainly has a bunch more interesting points. (^_^)
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Hemicomputer



Joined: 04 Feb 2008
Posts: 610
Location: Calgary, Alberta

PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

achemel wrote:
I think some African languages have tone, though I couldn't tell you any names off the top of my head. I know there are some that only have two tones...
Yorùbá could one of those, though it has three tones. On the subject of natlangs, Navajo is also a tonal language. Navajo tone was actually likely the inspiration for Láadan tone; Ms. Elgin studied the language when doing her linguistics degree and the phonologies match up very closely.
achemel wrote:
I have a conlang I was working on a while ago where /a/ and /u/ were automatically high and /e/ and /i/ were automatically low...(interesting details cut)...
That is a really cool idea! I'm surprised by your choices for tone, though. I've noticed people naturally lower their voice for /u/ and /o/ and such sounds, and raise their voice for /i/ and /e/ type sounds. Or at least that I do that. Maybe it's dialectal?

achemel wrote:
And I agree with Hemicomputer. It could be good to look at Láadan, though it certainly has a bunch more interesting points. (^_^)
Bíi áya Láadan wi! Báa di ne Láadaneth?
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Aert



Joined: 03 Jul 2008
Posts: 354

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the links Smile
Láadan looks interesting, I'll take a thorough look when I have the time!
I didn't know Navajo had tones, but I'll take a good look at that especially, as it's a highly synthetic language (I think), which should result in similar properties to mine. Yorùbá too Smile

Quote:
achemel wrote:
I have a conlang I was working on a while ago where /a/ and /u/ were automatically high and /e/ and /i/ were automatically low...(interesting details cut)...
Quote:
That is a really cool idea! I'm surprised by your choices for tone, though. I've noticed people naturally lower their voice for /u/ and /o/ and such sounds, and raise their voice for /i/ and /e/ type sounds. Or at least that I do that. Maybe it's dialectal?



Actually I agree with Hemicomputer - I'm pretty sure my conlang is going to have /i/ as high only, and /u/ as low only, with /a, e, o/ as being able to take either one.
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eldin raigmore
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Joined: 03 May 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You should look up tonogenesis.
Wikipedia wrote:
The historical origin of tone is called tonogenesis, a term coined by James Matisoff.
Quote:
Tonogenesis is the appearance of contrasting tone in a previously non-tonal language, generally as a result of regular phonological changes.
There are lots of papers about it. Some are about specific languages; some about specific linguistic areas; some about specific "genetic" groupings (e.g. language "families"); and some about tonal languages in general. More than one theory of tonogenesis is discussed.

The theory I'm most familar with is, that as coda consonants disappear off the ends of syllables (through whatever sound-change process they disappear because of), they get "cheshirized" as tones -- leaving their mark as the tone of the nuclear vowel which precedes them in the syllable.

I recommend you read the whole Wikipedia article on Tone_(linguistics).

And good luck and happy conlanging to you!
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achemel



Joined: 29 Mar 2009
Posts: 555
Location: up for debate

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So, one of the languages I was thinking of was Lingala, and thank you for mentioning Yoruba because it entirely slipped my mind. A search turned up Koti, Amazonian languages Te and Re, though honestly these were part of a preview of a book on Amazon (haha, imagine that) and I don't have a link for them, and while it might not be helpful I thought this article was quite interesting. Sorry I don't have more. Embarassed


I'm not really sure why I picked the low vowels for high tone and the high for low tone in my conlang... probably the same lack of reason I picked /f/ for [v] and /v/ for [f] in Hemnalg. XD I'm thinking of revising that, btw.

@Hemicomputer: I do not, unfortunately, speak Laadan, though I got the gist of your question. Wink I have a strong interest in it, though, and hope to pick up some of it in the near future.
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eldin raigmore
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 10:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

achemel wrote:
@Hemicomputer: I do not, unfortunately, speak Laadan
Nobody does; it's a conlang. But you already knew that -- right?
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achemel



Joined: 29 Mar 2009
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Location: up for debate

PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2011 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

of course. but i'm sure there are people who have learned, as there are people who've learned klingon and elvish and tsolyani and romulan and probably hylian and a bunch of others. i'm just saying i'm not one of them.
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