Investigating underdocumented tone systems

Bert Remijsen, University of Edinburgh

(Dia)critical challenges in the study of tone

The study of tone presents a particular challenge to the investigator, one that is less at issue in research on e.g. segmental phenomena. This challenge is to match an auditory percept to an acoustic phenomenon. And yet, matching these two sides of the coin is essential to ensure that the research is objective. Moreover, in relation to the communication of research results, there is the additional challenge of transcription, in that a tonal transcription like [ˆ] is vague: it can stand for a variety of speech phenomena, in contrast with a segmental transcription like [m]. In this workshop, I will present several qualitative and quantitative methods that respond to these challenges.