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Studying level-tone systems in Asia: the case of the Naish languages

Alexis Michaud 1
1 Speech Communication
MICA - International Research Institute MICA
Abstract : This paper discusses the prosody of Naxi, Yongning Na and Laze, three Sino-Tibetan languages of the Naish subgroup. These three languages have three level tones (High, Mid and Low). Level tones are not unattested in China and Southeast Asia, but have received somewhat less attention than the phonetically complex tones typically found in Sinitic and other families in the area. The study of level-tone systems in Asia appears as a promising field of research, now still in an early stage of development. Central issues concern these languages' place in prosodic typology, and the ways in which intonation interacts with level tones. The paper explains how answers to these questions gradually emerged. The three languages considered here illustrate the great diversity of situations that one may expect to encounter in the field: the tones of Laze and Yongning Na fall squarely in the level-tone type, whereas Naxi is somewhat of an outlier among level-tone systems.
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Alexis Michaud. Studying level-tone systems in Asia: the case of the Naish languages. International Conference on Phonetics of the Languages in China (ICPLC-2013), Dec 2013, Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR China. pp.1-6. ⟨halshs-00868019v3⟩



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