ISSN: 2534-5192


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ISBN: 978-2-9570549-0-9
e-ISBN: 978-2-9570549-1-6

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Marking Tone with Punctuation: Orthography Experimentation and Reform in Eastern Dan (Côte d'Ivoire)
David Roberts, Dana Basnight-Brown & Valentin Vydrin ORCID iD icon
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Abstract. Eastern Dan has five level tones, six contours and many monosyllabic words, resulting in an extraordinarily heavy functional load of tone. This led those first involved in orthography development to create a novel system for marking tone that uses punctuation symbols in word-initial and word-final position. This orthography also has considerable segmental over-representation and makes extensive use of umlauts to symbolize vowels. In a quantitative classroom experiment, we tested it against Valentin Vydrin's recent proposal for radical reform that advocates superscript diacritics for marking tone, biunique correspondence for consonants and vowels, and special characters in place of umlauts. Sixty-eight participants with no previous exposure to written Eastern Dan were taught various combinations of tones and segments in parallel groups and their acquired skills were tested in dictation and oral reading tasks. The results point to an advantage for the experimental orthography that combines the punctuation tone marking strategy with biunique segmental correspondence and special characters for marking vowels. Nevertheless, the language community has recently adopted Vydrin's reform in its entirety.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.36824/2018-graf-robe


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David Roberts, Dana Basnight-Brown & Valentin Vydrin ORCID iD icon (2019), Marking Tone with Punctuation: Orthography Experimentation and Reform in Eastern Dan (Côte d'Ivoire), in Proceedings of Graphemics in the 21st Century, Brest 2018 (Yannis Haralambous, Ed.), Brest: Fluxus Editions, 293–327

@INPROCEEDINGS{gla1-robe,
   AUTHOR = {Roberts,David and Basnight-Brown, Dana and Vydrin, Valentin},
   EDITOR = {Haralambous, Yannis},
   TITLE = {{Marking Tone with Punctuation: Orthography Experimentation and 
   Reform in Eastern Dan (Côte d'Ivoire)}},
   BOOKTITLE = {{Proceedings of Graphemics in the 21st Century, Brest 2018}},
   PUBLISHER = {Fluxus Editions},
   ADDRESS = {Brest},
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   PAGES = {293--327},
   DOI = {https://doi.org/10.36824/2018-graf-robe},
}