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7-8 juni 2007

Workshop on segments and tone
Plaats: Meertens Instituut, Amsterdam.


Workshop Segments and Tone


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 and 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?


The research project Tone and Intrasegmental Structure in Franconian Dialects, sponsored by the Dutch Science Foundation NWO, studies the synchronic and diachronic phonetic and phonological factors which contribute to our understanding of the ontogenesis and present distribution of tone in the group of West Germanic dialects known as Franconian.

All the relevant factors can probably found in other languages as well. For this reason, the present workshop brings together members of the project with researchers working on a large variety of other languages.

The research is conducted by Paul Boersma, Ben Hermans, Wolfgang Kehrein, Björn Köhnlein, Marc van Oostendorp and Maike Prehn, at the Institute for Phonetic Sciences of the University of Amsterdam and the Meertens Institute of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam.

Practical information

  • There will be no fee for participation in this event. Participants should buy their own lunch and dinner, however. Lunch can be bought at the Meertens Instituut, the location of the conference. We are planning to organize a dinner somewhere in Amsterdam on Thursday for everybody who is interested.

  • How to get to the Meertens Institute

  • Information about accomodation in Amsterdam can be found on this website.

  • For any questions, contact Marc van Oostendorp




10.00 10.45

Larry Hyman (Berkeley, USA)

Coda Constraints on Tone

10.45 11.30

Michael Becker (UMass, Amherst, USA) and Peter Jurgec (Tromsø, Norway)

Tone/ATR interactions in Slovenian

11.30 12.15

Ben Hermans and Marc van Oostendorp (Meertens Instituut, the Netherlands):

Can low tone trigger velarization?

12.15 13.00


13.00 13.45

Yiya Chen (Nijmegen, the Netherlands)

F0 and segment interaction in Shanghai Chinese

13.45 14.30

Cathryn Donohue (University of Nevada, Reno, USA)

The tone-vowel interaction in Fuzhou revisited

14.30 15.15

Maike Prehn (Meertens Instituut, the Netherlands)

Phonological representation of phonetically long nasals in Low German

15.15 15.45


15.45 16.30

Dave Odden (Ohio State, USA)

Features impinging on tone

16.30 17.15

Diana Apoussidou & Norval Smith (University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

Recessive accent in Ancient Greek revisited

JUNE 8, 2007 (FRIDAY)

10.00 10.45

Carlos Gussenhoven (Nijmegen, the Netherlands)

Durational enhancement as the cause of vowel quality correlations with Limburgian tones

10.45 11.30

Paul Boersma (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

Two reanalyses in Franconian tonogenesis

11.30 12.15

Björn Köhnlein (Meertens Instituut, the Netherlands) "Rule B" in the Franconian tone accent area: Accent reversal in Arzbach

12.15 13.00


13.00 13.45

Laura Downing (ZAS, Berlin, Germany)

On pitch lowering not linked to voicing: the case of Southern Bantu depressors

13.45 14.30

Wolfgang Kehrein (Amsterdam, the Netherlands)

There's no tone in Cologne:
synchronic and diachronic aspects of tonal accent in Franconian

14.30 15.15

Gessiane Picanço (Museu Emilio Goeldi / Federal University of Pará, Brazil)

A conflict between /?/ and tone

15.15 15.45


15.45 16.30

Charles Kisseberth and Erez Volk (Tel Aviv, Israël)

Theoretical implications of depressor consonants


Concluding remarks