Colloques, Invités

Conférence « Two Kinds of Low Tone, Two Kinds of High Tone in Tiania (Kimeru; Bantu, Kenya) », par Larry Hyman (University of California, Berkeley) – 23 novembre à 14h

Le jeudi 23 novembre 2023 à 14h00, Larry Hyman (University of California, Berkeley) donnera, dans le cadre du projet ERC « The Theory of Tone”, une conférence intitulée « Two Kinds of Low Tone, Two Kinds of High Tone in Tiania (Kimeru; Bantu, Kenya) ».

La conférence aura lieu en format hybride au Laboratoire LLAСAN, UMR 8135 du CNRS, situé au 7 Rue Guy Môquet à Villejuif.

Un lien Zoom vous sera communiqué ultérieurement.


In this seminar I will present an overview and analysis of the rather unusual tone system of the Tiania variant of Kimeru, a Bantu language spoken in Central Kenya. While the major contrast is between /H/ and /L/, both tones have two variants. First, there is a contrast between two kinds of low tones, but only before pause: L (realized as a low pitch with a final fall) vs. L˚ (realized as a level low pitch). Second, there are two kinds of high tones: H (realized as a high pitch) vs. S (realized as a super high pitch). While the effect is a system of four tones (L, L˚, H, S), the L˚ and S variants have very different properties. First, there are lexical contrasts between L and L˚, e.g. on noun stems, whereas S is limited to a small set of grammatical morphemes, the penultimate position in certain verb tone melodies, and (most importantly) as a phrase-final boundary tone. In the course of the discussion, I note problems analyzing L˚ with a following floating H (as in Bamileke and other Grassfields Bantu) and S as a property of prosodic domains vs. intonation.