Lung’Ie Word Prosody: One system or two?


Creole languages have generally not figured prominently in cross-linguistic studies of word-prosodic typology. In this paper, we present a phonological analysis of the prosodic system of Lung’Ie or Principense (ISO 639-3 code: pre), a Portuguese-lexifier creole language spoken in São Tomé and Príncipe. Lung’Ie has produced a unique result of the contact between the two different prosodic systems common in creolization: a stress-accent lexifier and tone language substrates. The language has a restrictive privative H/Ø tone system, in which the /H/ is culminative, but non-obligatory. Since rising and falling tones are contrastive on long vowels, the tone must be marked underlyingly. While it is clear that tonal indications are needed, Lung’Ie reveals two properties more expected of an accentual system: (i) there can only be one heavy syllable per word; (ii) this syllable must bear a H tone. This raises the question of whether syllables with a culminative H also have metrical prominence, i.e. stress. However, the problem with equating stress with H tone is that Lung’Ie has two kinds of nouns: those with a culminative H and those which are toneless. The nouns with culminative H are 87% of Portuguese origin, incorporated through stress-to-tone alignment, while the toneless ones are 92% of African origin. Although other creole languages have been reported with split systems of “accented” vs. fully specified tonal lexemes, and others with mixed systems of tone and stress, Lung’Ie differs from these cases in treating African origin words as toneless, a quite surprising result. We consider different analyses and conc

Ana Lívia Agostinho
Publication date: 
April 27, 2021
Publication type: 
Recent Publication
Agostinho, A.L. & Hyman, L.M. (2021). Lung’Ie Word Prosody: One system or two? Probus.