The tone system of Poko-Rawo (Skou)


  • Laura McPherson Dartmouth College
  • Matthew S. Dryer University at Buffalo



tone, Papuan, Skou, typology


This paper describes the tone system of Poko-Rawo, a Skou language spoken in northwestern Papua New Guinea. The system displays a number of points of interest to tonal typology, including: a distinction between underlying specified Mid tones and M tones filled in by default; a dispreference for single-toned melodies; a preference for rising tones rather than falling tones; and strict alignment of Low and High tones, with L always initial and H always final in a melody. These alignment principles extend to floating tones, as floating L is always to the left of a stem and floating H always to the right. We provide a detailed description of underlying melodies, postlexical processes, and phonetic realization of tone in Poko in an effort to bring more Papuan data to bear on questions of tonal typology.

Figure 1 from McPherson & Dryer




How to Cite

McPherson, L., & Dryer, M. S. (2021). The tone system of Poko-Rawo (Skou). Phonological Data and Analysis, 3(1), 1–32.