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date: 13 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Varieties of English with substrate tone languages are tone languages. Detailed descriptions of sentence-wide tone structures in Nigerian, Ghanaian, and Cantonese English show that British English words with initial stress have H-tone melodies, while other words have MH or LH melodies. These languages vary in the use of final intonational boundary tones and the extent to which phonological downstep on H-tones is triggered by non-overt (floating) low tones (Nigerian and Ghanaian English) or by overt tones only (Cantonese English). The analyses of Nigerian English and Cantonese English are supported by the results of production and perception experiments run on location with native speakers. While the structural differences deprive these languages of the many intonation contrasts that characterize British English, two structural contrasts that British English lacks are identified in the tonal varieties.

Keywords: intonation, tone language, boundary tone, downstep, Nigerian English, Cantonese English, Ghanaian English

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