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Synopsis

The sounds of language can be divided into consonants, vowels, and tones - the use of pitch to convey word meaning. Seventy percent of the world's languages use pitch in this way. Assuming little or no prior knowledge of the topic, this textbook provides a clearly organized introduction to tone and tonal phonology. Comprehensive in scope, it examines the main types of tonal systems found in Africa, the Americas, and Asia, using examples from the widest possible range of tone languages. It provides students with a basic grasp of the simple phonetics of tone, and covers key topics such as the distinctive feature systems suitable for tonal contrasts, allophonic and morphophonological tonal alterations, and how to analyze them within Optimality Theory. The book also examines the perception and acquisition of tone, as well as the interface between tonal phonology and the morphosyntax.

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