Downstep in Supyire

Authors

  • Robert Carlson

Keywords:

downstep, phonology, tone, Supyire

Abstract

Downstep in the vast majority of cases can be traced to the influence of a low tone [Hyman 1979]. This paper discusses the case of Supyire, a three tone language with downstep unrelated to low tone. Sequences of high tones are automatically downstepped. Confusion with mid tone is in most cases avoided by a rule which raises mid to high tone; the two rules together creating a "flip-flop" effect. Supyire also has automatic downdrift of mid and high tones following a low tone. It thus presents an unusual combination of downstep and downdrift in the same language, but unrelated to each other.

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Published

1983-04-01