Southeast Asian tone in areal perspective

James Kirby, Marc Brunelle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract / Description of output

In this chapter, we address the role of contact in the evolution of tone in mainland Southeast Asia (MSEA). We present an overview of the phonetic, phonological, and genetic characteristics of MSEA tone systems, emphasizing the rich variability of tonal realization found in the region. Next, we discuss the ways in which languages can become tonal, reviewing evidence for the spread of tone through contact as well as for the idea that much of the observed tonality on the ground in modern MSEA might be traced to a small number of ‘tonogenetic events’ rather than a large number of borrowings. In light of this discussion, we consider whether a re-evaluation of the notion of tone as a canonical indicator of ‘linguistic area’ more generally is warranted.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of Areal Linguistics
EditorsRaymond Hickey
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)9781107279872
ISBN (Print)9781107051614
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017

Publication series

NameCambridge Handbooks in Language and Linguistics
PublisherCambridge University Press


Dive into the research topics of 'Southeast Asian tone in areal perspective'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this