- The history of the Franconian tone contrast
- Book title
- Segmental structure and tone
- Pages (from-to)
- Boston: Walter De Gruyter
- ISBN (electronic)
- Linguistische Arbeiten: Walter De Gruyter: 0344-6727
- Volume (Serie)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam Center for Language and Communication (ACLC)
The aim of this paper is to show that a sequence of typologically notunusual sound changes has led to three conspicuous properties of the dialects in alarge connected area of Low and Central Franconian. First, these dialects have abinary contrast between acute and circumflex tones. Second, the majority of thesedialects (“group A”) show length reversal, in the sense that originally short non-high vowels have become longer than the corresponding originally long vowels.Third, the remaining dialects (“group B”) show tone reversal, in the sense thatwhere group A retains the original acutes, group B has circumflexes, and thereverse (at least in declarative intonation). This paper proposes a history consisting of a series of synchronic statesconnected by speakers’ gradual phonetic shifts and listeners’ discrete phonologicalreinterpretations. Each of the proposed elements is shown to have parallelselsewhere: the retraction of stress to the first mora, the lengthening of vowels inopen syllables with retention of the linkage between syllables and tones, theinaudibility of tone on voiceless consonants, the drop of final schwa, thepronunciation of final voiced obstruents, the audibility of tone on voicedconsonants, the devoicing of final obstruents, degemination, schwa insertion, andthe effects of a markedness constraint that correlates tones and duration.
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