Languages of Asia are well-known for undergoing tonogenesis in recent history. The model established by Haudricourt (1954), Matisoff (1970), Thurgood (2002) and others is well-attested within the Tibeto-Burman language family, amongst others. While the phenomenon is well-documented in history, we rarely have the occasion to document tonogenesis in detail as it occurs. Though we know that loss of codas generally brings tonal contrasts into a language and from there voiceless consonantal onsets condition a high tonal split while voiced onsets condition a low tonal split, the details of such processes remain unknown. Kurtöp, a Tibeto-Burman language of Bhutan, is currently undergoing tonogenesis, providing the unique opportunity to analyze the phenomenon in detail. In this article we explore Kurtöp tonogenetic properties via comparative data and an acoustic study. We find that tone first entered Kurtöp following sonorant consonant onsets, spread to the palatal fricative and appears to be spreading following the remainder of the obstruents.
|Publication status||Published - 2008|