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Social and Behavioral Sciences Commons

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Anthropology

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2017

Nigeria

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Full-Text Articles in Social and Behavioral Sciences

Melodic Language And Linguistic Melodies: Singing In Tone Languages, Aaron Carter-Enyi Nov 2017

Melodic Language And Linguistic Melodies: Singing In Tone Languages, Aaron Carter-Enyi

Africana Digital Ethnography Project

Approximately 60% of the world’s languages are tonal, wherein alterations of pitch change the meaning of words. Two-syllable words in Yorùbá can have as many as five separate meanings, and single- syllable words in Mandarin up to four. Among tone-language speakers, acute pitch sensitivity is developed at an early age as part of language acquisition. The result is that speakers of tone languages are generally more sensitive to pitch than stress-language speakers. For speakers of stress languages, it is difficult to conceive of this other aurality, in which sound is perceived in a different way. But music holds the ...