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Workshop on segments and tone

Call for papers

Date: June 7-8, 2007
Location: Meertens Instituut, Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Tone features are commonly assigned to prosodic levels such as moras or syllables to account for their autosegmental behavior (in spreading, for instance). But this does not bar them from interacting with segmental properties of at least three types:
•    laryngeal features: prevocalic voiced consonants may induce a low tone or block a high tone, postvocalic glottalization/aspiration may induce rising or falling tones;
•    sonority: tones may only occur on consonants that are sufficiently sonorous;
•    vowel height: high vowels have a phonetic preference for higher tone.
These phenomena still raise many theoretical amd empirical questions, for instance: Why is the phonetic effect of vowel height on fundamental frequency (almost?) never phonologized even though it is at least as large as that of obstruent voicing, which does give rise to tone contrasts? What is the reason for the asymmetrical influence of laryngeal configurations on tone (pre- vs. postvocalic)? Do segmental and tonal features interact directly or rather indirectly, mediated by syllable and/or foot structure (as claimed for the interaction between vowel height and tone in Fuzhou, for instance) or other prosodic properties (e.g., register distinctions as a medial diachronic step between the loss of obstruent voicing and tonogenesis in many Southeast Asian languages)? Finally, how do we deal with exceptions to the tendencies mentioned above, e.g. languages like U (Mon-Khmer) or Central and Low Franconian (Germanic), in which vowel height and postvocalic voicing distinctions do play a role in tonogenesis?

We organize a two-day workshop, addressing issues like these, and any related issues concerning the phonological or phonetic interaction between the internal structure of consonants and vowels on the one hand and tone on the other.
Speakers will have the opportunity to present a 45 minutes talk, followed by 15 minutes discussion.

Abstracts (1 page, PDF format) are to be submitted before March 8, 2007 to Marc van Oostendorp. Notification of acceptance: March 22, 2007.