Southeast Asian tonogenesis: how and why?. Jan-Olof Svantesson Lund University, Sweden. Southeast Asian tonogenesis. Merger of voiceless and voiced onset consonants Tonogenesis: A non-tonal language acquired a two-tone system (Kammu, Wa (Vo))
Lund University, Sweden
Northern Kammu (yellow) has two level tones, Eastern Kammu (green) lacks tones
EK has 35 consonants, NK 23
EK is non-tonal, NK is a tone language
The tone system is becoming independent
Creates words with an aspirated stop or a voiceless fricative as onset but low tone
Indications that the phonological status of the Kammu tone system is changing:
(1) New combinations of tones and initial consonants are introduced, blurring the original correlation between tones and onsets
(2) A tone dissimilation rule (on “sesqui-syllabic” words) has neutralized some tone contrasts also blurring the correlation between tones and onsets
Small Austroasiatic (Palaungic) subgroup spoken in SW China
All initial stops became voiceless!
High vowels: HIGH
Non-high vowels: short: HIGH
Information is moved into the vowel kernel in N Kammu:
puuc > púuc ‘undress’
buuc > pùuc ‘wine’
In information theory (Shannon 1948), the information capacity of a code (e.g. the phonemes that form the onset, kernel or coda of a syllable) is measured by its entropy:
– Σ pi·log2 (pi), where pi is the (estimated)
probability of symbol number i.
The information capacity is measured in bits (binary choices).
The information capacity was estimated for the Onset, Vowel kernel and Coda of Proto-Kammu and Northern Kammu monosyllabic words.
Based on 12,883 monosyllables from Svantesson et al., Dictionary of Kammu Yùan language and culture, 2014
Loss of final vowels made disyllabic words monosyllabic, and some information from the lost vowel is transferred to the first vowel:
Loss of medial –h– made di- or trisyllabic words monosyllabic:
(Based on 313 words, Svantesson et al. The phonology of Mongolian, 2005)