Sonorants, fricatives, and a tonogenetic typology

Gwendolyn Mavis Tshering Hyslop


While some phonological mechanisms underlying tonogenesis have been understood for some time (e.g. Maspero (1912), Haudricourt (1954), inter alia) ongoing research in tonogenesis suggests that the full picture is more complex than previous studies have indicated. In this study I contribute to our understanding of tonogenesis by compiling a typology from published sources of reported tonogenesis. Based on this typology, I show that although languages develop tone by different diachronic means, there is a strong tendency for tonogenesis to begin in syllables that are opened or closed by sonorants and then spread to the fricatives.

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