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Glottal Dissimilation and the Lahu High-Rising Tone: A Tonogenetic Case-Study

James A. Matisoff
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Vol. 90, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1970), pp. 13-44
DOI: 10.2307/598429
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/598429
Page Count: 32
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Glottal Dissimilation and the Lahu High-Rising Tone: A Tonogenetic Case-Study
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Abstract

The Lahu high-rising tone does not show any simple correspondences to tones in the other Lolo-Burmese languages. It can be demonstrated that it is a secondary development within Lahu, furnishing a striking confirmation of the assumption that tones arise in general through the influence of consonants in syllable-final or syllable-initial position. The high-rising tone arose in Lahu through dissimilation in pre-Lahu syllables which both began and ended with a "glottal incident." The G-2 ("second glottal incident") was provided by -? (from PLB *-p, *-t, or *-k), while the G-1 was either a glottalized obstruent, a voiceless spirant (h, š, f), or zero (from PLB *?-). Especially persuasive evidence is forthcoming from simplex-causative verb-pairs that ended in stops, since the causative morpheme can be shown to have been *?- by PLB times. But over 100 non-causative cognate sets are presented as well. The discussion has bearing on the interpretation of the mysterious Tibetan consonant "a-chung" (ḥ-), and raises several very general articulatory questions concerning the interrelationship of voicing, aspiration, glottalization, and tone.

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