Anatomy of a grammatical tone
The case of “Induced Creaky Tone” in Burmese
“Induced Creaky Tone (ICT)” is a grammatical tone in Burmese. It is the result of a process by which Low or High tone is changed into Creaky tone. This alternation is multifunctional, and one of its functions is possessor marking. This paper demonstrates several well-distinguished conditions of different nature and different domain for this tonal alternation. ICT is primarily induced by syntax, varies due to pragmatic factors, occurs only on the shared right boundary of phrases and stem forms, and its phonological condition has a domain stretching to the left boundary of the prosodic word. A comprehensive account of such conditions provides the basis for a grammatical analysis which tests the theoretical options for representing a tonal morpheme in the morpho-syntactic structure of a sentence. It also sheds light on other issues such as the interfaces between phonology and grammar, and between tonal morphology and tonal syntax.
Keywords: Burmese, grammatical tone
Published online: 01 February 2019
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