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SIL Electronic Working Papers 2009-003

Disambiguating grammatical tone in Gwere orthography by using clarifying words

Author  Nzogi, Richard
Abstract 

In designing an orthography for a tone language, prescribing a satisfactory method of marking essential tone can be a challenge. The conventional methods of dealing with tone are zero marking, accent marks, or other diacritic symbols, and syntactic or spelling rules. This article, based on the author’s experience in Gwere, suggests a novel way of signaling grammatical tone and meaning by using only “clarifying words” inserted before a tonally ambiguous word to give a clue to the surface tone of that word. This document also considers the advantages of clarifying words over conventional tone-marking schemes. Finally, some consideration is given to the limitations of using clarifying words to signal tone in other languages.

  Disambiguating grammatical tone in Gwere orthography by using clarifying words
Published  2009
Language  Gwere [gwr]
Country  Uganda
Subject  Tone
Keywords  grammatical tone; clarifying words; Tone