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SIL Electronic Working Papers 2011-012

Laarim (loh) Tone

Author  Stirtz, Timothy M.
Abstract  Laarim, a Nilo-Saharan Surmic language, has High and Low level tone and the tone-bearing unit is the syllable. The purpose of this research was to determine the need for orthographic marking of tone distinctions. There are five contrastive tone melodies in noun roots and three in verb roots. Laarim is morphologically rich, having many suffixes in both noun and verb morphology. On these affixes, there is a wide range of tone types, including three tone melodies, five replacement tone melodies, and no underlying tone. In addition, five different suffixes have polar tone, where the surface tone is opposite the stem-final tone. Although the lexical functional load of tone is low and minimal pairs are extremely rare, there is considerable grammatical tone. About 50% of noun roots can be marked for nominative case only by tone. About 20% of verbs distinguish second and third singular persons only by tone.
  Laarim (loh) Tone
Published  2011
Language  Narim [loh]
Country  Sudan
Subject  Phonological descriptions
Keywords  Laarim; Sudan; tone; polar tone; replacement tone; plural formation; case; verb paradigm; orthography