From the physiology and acoustics to their patterning across human languages, tone is one of the fundamental constructs in human languages that is also among the hardest to apprehend. Drawing upon a large number of languages around the world, this volume explores the concept of tone starting from its physical properties of articulation and acoustics to its manifestation in phonology. Designed as a comprehensive study accessible to the novice and useful for the expert, each chapter covers a particular aspect of tone in increasing depth and complexity, weaving together key concepts and theories that provide complementing or competing accounts of tone's phonological intricacies. In the process, one uncovers the underlying laws and principles that inform today's understanding of the subject to form a more synthesized view that also allows us to explore the relation of tone to other important areas of humanity such as literature, history, music and cognition.
William R. Leben - Stanford University, California