Lhasa Tones

Fang Hu, Ziyu Xiong, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences

This paper describes tones on citation syllables in Lhasa Tibetan. Acoustic data from three speakers showed that Lhasa has a high vs. low tonal contrast on the one hand; and its tonal melodies are highly constrained by syllable types on the other hand. Lhasa tones served as a typical case in Tibetan tonogenesis: First, the high vs. low tonal contrast results from the historical prevocalic voicing distinction; Second, tonal melodies are further developed from F0 perturbations of postvocalic consonants.