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Polar Tone of Laarim, a Surmic Language of Sudan
Timothy M. Stirtz
79-89 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


There are five case suffixes in Laarim which have opposite tone from the stem-final tone. By most linguists' definition, these are considered polar tones. However, as will be shown in this paper, these suffixes can be analyzed as having underlying HL tone, where only one tone is allowed to surface on the suffix. Although polar surface tone is contrastive with Low tone in suffixes, it is never contrastive with HL tone. Further, there are several suffixes in the language that are best analyzed as having HL tone. Contour tone is rare in the language and HL contour tone never surfaces on short vowels. Therefore, it would not be surprising for only one tone of HL suffixes to be allowed to surface. This and other support will be given for analyzing polar surface tone as underlying HL tone.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African Languages in Context
edited by Michael R. Marlo, Nikki B. Adams, Christopher R. Green, Michelle Morrison, and Tristan M. Purvis
Table of contents
Printed edition: $320.00