Skip to main content Accessibility help

Franconian tones fare better as tones than as feet: a reply to Köhnlein (2016)

  • Carlos Gussenhoven (a1) and Jörg Peters (a2)


Köhnlein (2016) proposes to represent the Franconian tone contrast as a difference in foot structure, whereby Accent 1 appears in lexically marked syllabic trochees and Accent 2 in default moraic trochees, as an alternative to analyses with an underlying privative tone for Accent 2. After sketching the two approaches, we argue against three arguments Köhnlein advances in favour of the metrical analysis. We then show that one of the disadvantages incurred by the metrically derived tonal representations is the introduction of a novel and otherwise unsupported concept of a single tone that incorporates two morphologically different but phonologically identical tones. We also evaluate Köhnlein's (2018) more recent proposal to use the syllabic trochee to account for subtractive plurals in tonal dialects. Finally, we compare the predictive powers of the metrical and tonal analyses of the Arzbach dialect.


Corresponding author


Hide All

This contribution has considerably benefited from comments on earlier versions from two reviewers and an associate editor. We are grateful to Björn Köhnlein for alerting us to a misinterpretation of his solution to Accent-2 lengthening, and to Frans Plank for enlightening discussion.



Hide All
Arensen, Jon (1982). Murle grammar. Juba, Sudan: University of Juba & Summer Institute of Linguistics.
Bach, Adolf (1921). Die Schärfung in der moselfränkischen Mundart von Arzbach (Unterwesterwaldkreis). Beiträge zur Geschichte der Deutschen Sprache und Literatur 45. 266290.
Bellmann, Günter, Herrgen, Joachim & Schmidt, Jürgen Erich (eds.) (1997). Mittelrheinischer Sprachatlas. Vol. 3: Vokalismus III (Kurzvokale des mittelhochdeutschen Bezugssystems. Vokale in Nebensilben. Sproßvokale). Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Bender, M. Lionel (1983). Majan phonology and morphology. In Lionel Bender, M. (ed.) Nilo-Saharan language studies. East Lansing: Michigan State University. 144147.
Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo (2012). The architecture of grammar and the division of labor in exponence. In Trommer, Jochen (ed.) The morphology and phonology of exponence. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 883.
Bermúdez-Otero, Ricardo (2017). The allophony of English /aɪ/ reconsidered. Handout of paper presented at the Phonetics Literature Enjoyment Group Meeting, Indiana University. Available (May 2019) at
Birkenes, Magnus Breder (2014). Subtraktive Nominalmorphologie in den Dialekten des Deutschen: ein Beitrag zur Interaktion von Phonologie und Morphologie. Stuttgart: Steiner.
Boersma, Paul & Weenink, David (2016). Praat: doing phonetics by computer (version 6.0.10).
Botma, Bert & Noske, Roland (eds.) (2012). Phonological explorations: empirical, theoretical and diachronic issues. Berlin & Boston: de Gruyter.
Bruce, Gösta (1977). Swedish word accents in sentence perspective. Lund: Gleerup.
Bruce, Gösta & Hermans, Ben (1999). Word tone in Germanic languages. In van der Hulst (1999). 605–658.
Cajot, José (2006). Phonologisch bedingter Polytonieverlust: eine tonlose Enklave südlich von Maastricht. In de Vaan (2006). 11–23.
Corbett, Greville G. (2000). Number. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Dols, Willy (1953). Sittardse diftongering. Sittard: Alberts.
Duanmu, San (2000). The phonology of Standard Chinese. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Dupoux, Emmanuel, Peperkamp, Sharon & Sebastián-Gallés, Núria (2001). A robust method to study stress ‘deafness’. JASA 110. 16061618.
Fournier, Rachel (2008). Perception of the tone contrast in East Limburgian dialects. PhD dissertation, Radboud University Nijmegen.
Fournier, Rachel, Verhoeven, Jo, Swerts, Marc & Gussenhoven, Carlos (2006). Perceiving word prosodic contrasts as a function of sentence prosody in two Dutch Limburgian dialects. JPh 34. 2948.
Gilles, Peter (2002). Einflüsse der Rheinischen Akzentuierung auf die segmentelle Ebene: Evidenz aus dem Luxemburgischen. In Auer, Peter, Gilles, Peter & Spiekermann, Helmut (eds.) Silbenschnitt und Tonakzente. Tübingen: Niemeyer. 265282.
Goldsmith, John A. (1976). Autosegmental phonology. PhD dissertation, MIT. Published 1979, New York: Garland.
Golston, Chris & Wiese, Richard (1996). Zero morphology and constraint interaction: subtraction and epenthesis in German dialects. Yearbook of Morphology 1995. 143159.
Goossens, Jan (1965). Die Gliederung des Südniederfränkischen. Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter 30. 7994.
Goossens, Jan (2009). De Genker toonaccenten en hun dialectgeografische inbedding. Tongeren: Michiels.
Goossens, Jan (2017). De oorsprong van de Rijnlands-Limburgse tweetonigheid: een analyse met bijzondere aandacht voor de korte klinkers voor obstruent. Handelingen van de Koninklijke Commissie voor Toponymie en Dialectologie 89. 129185.
Grice, Martine (1995). Leading tones and downstep in English. Phonology 12. 183233.
Gussenhoven, Carlos (2000). The lexical tone contrast of Roermond Dutch in Optimality Theory. In Horne, Merle (ed.) Prosody: theory and experiment. Dordrecht: Kluwer. 129167.
Gussenhoven, Carlos (2004). The phonology of tone and intonation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gussenhoven, Carlos (2007). A vowel height split explained: compensatory listening and speaker control. In Cole, Jennifer & Hualde, José Ignacio (eds.) Laboratory phonology 9. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 145172.
Gussenhoven, Carlos (2011). Over het waarom van de Sittardse diftongering. In Limpens, Lei (ed.) Willy Dols 1911–1944: een verwachting die niet in vervulling mocht gaan. Sittard: Euregionaal Historisch Centrum Sittard-Geleen. 151160.
Gussenhoven, Carlos (2012a). Asymmetries in the intonation system of the tonal dialect of Maastricht Limburgish. Phonology 29. 3979.
Gussenhoven, Carlos (2012b). Quantity or durational enhancement of tone? The case of Maastricht Limburgish high vowels. In Botma & Noske (2012). 241253.
Gussenhoven, Carlos (2013). From Cologne to Arzbach: an account of the Franconian ‘tone reversal’. In Asu, Eva-Liina & Lippus, Pärtel (eds.) Nordic prosody: proceedings of the XIth conference. Frankfurt am Main: Lang. 1124.
Gussenhoven, Carlos (2014). Complex intonation near the tonal isogloss in the Netherlands. In Jun, Sun-Ah (ed.) Prosodic typology II: the phonology of intonation and phrasing. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 324364.
Gussenhoven, Carlos (2017). Corrigendum to Gussenhoven (2013). In Abrahamsen, Jardar Eggesbø, Koreman, Jacques & van Dommelen, Wim A. (eds.) Nordic prosody: proceedings of the XIIth conference, Trondheim 2016. Frankfurt am Main: Lang. 191.
Gussenhoven, Carlos (2018a). In defense of a dialect-contact scenario of the Central Franconian tonogenesis. In Kubozono, Haruo & Giriko, Mikio (eds.) Tonal change and neutralization. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. 350379.
Gussenhoven, Carlos (2018b). Prosodic typology meets phonological representations. In Hyman, Larry M. & Plank, Frans (eds.) Phonological typology. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton. 389418.
Gussenhoven, Carlos & van den Beuken, Frank (2012). Contrasting the high rise and the low rise intonations in a dialect with the Central Franconian tone. The Linguistic Review 29. 75107.
Gussenhoven, Carlos & Peters, Jörg (2004). A tonal analysis of Cologne Schärfung. Phonology 21. 251285.
Gussenhoven, Carlos & van der Vliet, Peter (1999). The phonology of tone and intonation in the Dutch dialect of Venlo. JL 35. 99135.
Hayes, Bruce (1980). A metrical theory of stress rules. PhD dissertation, MIT. Distributed 1981, Indiana University Linguistics Club.
Hayward, Richard J. (1984). The Arbore language: a first investigation. Hamburg: Buske.
Heijmans, Linda (1999). The representation of the Tongeren lexical tone contrast. Ms, LSA Linguistic Institute.
Heijmans, Linda (2003). The relationship between tone and vowel length in two neighbouring Dutch Limburgian dialects. In Fikkert, Paula & Jacobs, Haike (eds.) Development in prosodic systems. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 745.
Hermans, Ben (1985). Het Limburgs en het Litouws als metrisch gebonden toontalen. Spektator 14. 4870.
Hermans, Ben (1994). The composite nature of accent: with case studies of the Limburgian and Serbo-Croatian pitch accent. PhD dissertation, Free University, Amsterdam.
Hermans, Ben (2012). The phonological representation of the Limburgian tonal accents. In Botma & Noske (2012). 223239.
Hermans, Ben & Hinskens, Frans (2010). The phonological representation of the Limburg tonal accents. In Schmidt, Jürgen Erich, Glaser, Elvira & Frey, Natascha (eds.) Dynamik des Dialects: Wandel und Variation. Stuttgart: Steiner. 101117.
Howie, J. M. (1974). On the domain of tone in Mandarin: some acoustic evidence. Phonetica 30. 129148.
Hulst, Harry van der (ed.) (1999). Word prosodic systems in the languages of Europe. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter.
Hulst, Harry van der, Hendriks, Bernadet & van de Weijer, Jeroen (1999). A survey of word prosodic systems of European languages. In van der Hulst (1999). 425–475.
Jackendoff, Ray & Audring, Jenny (2019). Relational Morphology in the Parallel Architecture. In Audring, Jenny & Masini, Francesca (eds.) The Oxford handbook of morphological theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 390408.
Kager, René (1989). A metrical theory of stress and destressing in English and Dutch. Dordrecht: Foris.
Kehrein, Wolfgang (2018). There's no tone in Cologne: against tone-segment interactions in Franconian. In Kehrein, Wolfgang, Köhnlein, Björn, Boersma, Paul & van Oostendorp, Marc (eds.) Segmental structure and tone. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter. 147194.
Kingston, John & Diehl, Randy L. (1994). Phonetic knowledge. Lg 70. 419454.
Kluender, Keith R., Diehl, Randy L. & Wright, Beverly A. (1988). Vowel-length differences before voiced and voiceless consonants: an auditory explanation. JPh 16. 153169.
Köhnlein, Björn (2011). Rule reversal revisited: synchrony and diachrony of tone and prosodic structure in the Franconian dialect of Arzbach. PhD dissertation, University of Leiden.
Köhnlein, Björn (2015). A tonal semi-reversal in Franconian dialects: Rule A vs. Rule B. North-Western European Language Evolution (NOWELE) 68. 81112.
Köhnlein, Björn (2016). Contrastive foot structure in Franconian tone-accent dialects. Phonology 33. 87123.
Köhnlein, Björn (2018). A morpheme-based approach to subtractive pluralisation in German dialects. Phonology 35. 617647.
Ladd, D. Robert (2008). Intonational phonology. 2nd edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lightfoot, David (2010). Language acquisition and language change. WIREs Cognitive Science 1. 677684.
McCarthy, John J. & Prince, Alan (1993). Generalized alignment. Yearbook of Morphology 1993. 79–153.
Manfredi, Victor (1993). Spreading and downstep: prosodic government in tone languages. In van der Hulst, Harry & Snider, Keith (eds.) The phonology of tone: the representation of tonal register. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 133184.
Marcus, Gary F., Pinker, Steven, Ullman, Michael, Hollander, Michelle, John Rosen, T., Xu, Fei & Clahse, Harald (1992). Overregularization in language acquisition. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development 57:4.
Morén-Duolljá, Bruce (2013). The prosody of Swedish underived nouns: no lexical tones required. Nordlyd 40. 196248.
Oostendorp, Marc van (2005). Expressing inflection tonally. Catalan Journal of Linguistics 4. 107126.
Payne, Thomas E. (2006). Exploring language structure: a student's guide. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Peters, Jörg (2006). The Cologne word accent revisited. In de Vaan (2006). 107133.
Peters, Jörg (2007). Bitonal lexical pitch accents in the Limburgian dialect of Borgloon. In Riad, Tomas & Gussenhoven, Carlos (eds.) Tones and tunes. Vol. 1: Typological studies in word and sentence prosody. Berlin & New York: Mouton de Gruyter. 167198.
Peters, Jörg (2008). Tone and intonation in the dialect of Hasselt. Linguistics 46. 9831018.
Peters, Jörg, Hanssen, Judith & Gussenhoven, Carlos (2015). The timing of nuclear falls: evidence from Dutch, West Frisian, Dutch Low Saxon, German Low Saxon, and High German. Laboratory Phonology 6. 152.
Pierrehumbert, Janet B. (1980). The phonology and phonetics of English intonation. PhD dissertation, MIT. Distributed 1987, Indiana University Linguistics Club.
Pierrehumbert, Janet B. & Beckman, Mary E. (1988). Japanese tone structure. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
Prokosch, Eduard (1939). A comparative Germanic grammar. Baltimore: Linguistic Society of America.
Rahmani, Hamed, Rietveld, Toni & Gussenhoven, Carlos (2015). Stress ‘deafness’ reveals absence of lexical marking of stress or tone in the adult grammar. PLoS One 10.
Ramachers, Stefanie, Brouwer, Susanne & Fikkert, Paula (2018). Perception and lexical encoding of tone in a restricted tone language: developmental evidence from Limburgian. In Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages. 108–113.
Reuter, Elvira (1989). Die Mundart von Horath (Hunsrück): Phonetik und Morphologie. Hamburg: Buske.
Riad, Tomas (2014). The phonology of Swedish. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Rietveld, A. C. M. (1983). Syllaben, klemtonen en de automatische detectie van beklemtoonde syllaben in het Nederlands. Nijmegen: De Witte Studentenpers.
Schmidt, Jürgen Erich (1986). Die mittelfränkischen Tonakzente (Rheinische Akzentuierung). Stuttgart: Steiner.
Seifart, Frank, Meyer, Julien, Grawunder, Sven & Dentel, Laure (2018). Reducing language to rhythm: Amazonian Bora drummed language exploits speech rhythm for long-distance communication. Royal Society Open Science 5.
Stevens, Kenneth N. & Keyser, Samuel Jay (1989). Primary features and their enhancement in consonants. Lg 65. 81106.
Svantesson, Jan-Olof (1988). U. Linguistics of the Tibeto-Burman Area 11. 64133.
Svantesson, Jan-Olof (1991). Hu: a language with an unorthodox tonogenesis. In Davidson, Jeremy H. C. S. (ed.) Austroasiatic languages: essays in honour of H. L. Shorto. London: School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. 6779.
Vaan, Michiel de (ed.) (2006). Germanic tone accents: proceedings of the 1st International Workshop on Franconian Tone Accents, Leiden, 13–14 June 2003. Stuttgart: Steiner.
Verstegen, V. (1996). Bijdrage tot de tonologie van Oostlimburgse dialecten. In van de Wijngaard, H. (ed.) Een eeuw Limburgse dialectologie. Hasselt & Maastricht: Vereniging voor Limburgse Dialect- en Naamkunde & Vereniging Veldeke Limburg. 229234.
Werth, Alexander (2011). Perzeptionsphonologische Grundlagen der Prosodie: eine Analyse der mittelfränkischen Tonakzentdistinktion. Stuttgart: Steiner.
Werth, Alexander (2012). Perceptual evidence for contrast enhancement in tone-intonation interaction. In Niebuhr, Oliver (ed.) Understanding prosody: the role of context, function and communication. Berlin: de Gruyter. 187200.
Wiesinger, Peter (1970). Phonetisch-phonologische Untersuchungen zur Vokalentwicklung in den deutschen Dialekten. 2 vols. Berlin: de Gruyter.
Wiesinger, Peter (1975). Strukturgeographische und strukturhistorische Untersuchungen zur Stellung der bergischen Mundarten zwischen Ripuarisch, Niederfränkisch und Westfälisch. In Veith, Werner & Göschel, Joachim (eds.) Neuere Forschungen in Linguistik und Philologie: aus dem Kreise seiner Schüler Ludwig Erich Schmitt zum 65. Geburtstag gewidmet. Wiesbaden: Steiner. 1782.
Xu, Yi & Xu, Ching X. (2005). Phonetic realization of focus in English declarative intonation. JPh 33. 159197.
Yip, Moira (2002). Tone. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Zimmermann, Eva (2017). Morphological length and prosodically defective morphemes. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Franconian tones fare better as tones than as feet: a reply to Köhnlein (2016)

  • Carlos Gussenhoven (a1) and Jörg Peters (a2)


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed