Lexical tone contrast in Izon as ubiquitous floating tone
Keywords:Ijoid, floating tone, prosody, lexical contrast, tone association
This paper establishes the lexical tone contrasts in the Nigerian language Izon, focusing on evidence for floating tone. Many tonal languages show effects of floating tone, though typically in a restricted way, such as occurring with only a minority of morphemes, or restricted to certain grammatical environments. For Izon, the claim here is that all lexical items sponsor floating tone, making it ubiquitous across the lexicon and as common as pre-associated tone. The motivation for floating tone comes from the tonal patterns of morphemes in isolation and within tone groups. Based on these patterns, all lexical morphemes are placed into one of four tone classes defined according to which floating tones they end in. This paper provides extensive empirical support for this analysis and discusses several issues which emerge under ubiquitous floating tone. Issues include the principled allowance of OCP(T) violations, and the propensity for word-initial vowels and low tone to coincide.