Pitch accent

From Academic Kids

For pitch accent in music, see: accent (music).


Pitch accent is a tonal system employed in many languages around the world. In a pitch-accented language, there is an accented syllable or mora, the position of which determines the tonal pattern of the whole word (the pitch of each syllable or mora, usually high vs. low) according to some rules.

It is hypothesized that Proto-Indo-European had a pitch accent system. Two well-known ancient Indo-European tongues to have preserved this feature are:

  • Ancient Greek had a pitch accent, which later changed into a stress accent (where accented syllables are pronounced more forcefully, as in English, instead of having a higher pitch).
  • Vedic.

However, it is possible that the pitch accent in these languages evolved independently.

Polysyllabic compounds in the Shanghai dialect of Wu Chinese, have characteristics of pitch accent as well. Like Japanese, the position of the accent for a given word in Shanghainese varies due to voicing.

See also

External link

http://www.geocities.com/caraculiambro/Caraculiambro/Stress.html

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