Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

Apatani phonology and lexicon, with a special focus on tone

  • Author(s): Post, Mark W;
  • Kanno, Tage
  • et al.
Abstract

Despite being one of the most extensively researched of Eastern Himalayan languages, the basic morphological and phonological-prosodic properties of Apatani (Tibeto-Burman > Tani > Western) have not yet been adequately described. This article attempts such a description, focusing especially on interactions between segmental-syllabic phonology and tone in Apatani. We highlight three features in particular – vowel length, nasality and a glottal stop – which contribute to contrastively-weighted syllables in Apatani, which are consistently under-represented in previous descriptions of Apatani, and in absence of which tone in Apatani cannot be effectively analysed. We conclude that Apatani has two “underlying”, lexically-specified tone categories H and L, whose interaction with word structure and syllable weight produce a maximum of three “surface” pitch contours – level, falling and rising – on disyllabic phonological words. Two appendices provide a set of diagnostic procedures for the discovery and description of Apatani tone categories, as well as an Apatani lexicon of approximately one thousand entries.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View