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Examples :

1. [kà] /kà/ open (mouth) (Imp)
2. [nzà] /nzà/ hundred
3. [scì] /scì/ reign

When the vowel sequences occur both the vowels carry tones. However, some speakers pronounce as [oa] and some others as [wa].

  . Tones : General remarks


Tone is a feature of the syllable, though it is marked on the vowel of the syllable, which is its uncleus. The registers and contours of a syllable are defined on the basis of its starting as well as ending pitch intensity. As Pete Ladefoged1 defines "pitch patterns that affect the meanings of individual words are known as tones". If syllables have a rising or falling pitch in comparison to the pitch level of the normal speech they are said to have a rising (or high) or falling (or low) tone respectively. The syllables whose pitch level remains constant are said to be having a level tone. Combination of pitch levels such as rising falling is also possible. According to K.L. Pike Tone language is "a language having lexically significant, contrastive but relative pitch on each syllable’’. In other words meaning distinction between words can be made by tone in tone language.

Lotha naga has three lexically significant tones i.e., (i) Rising [ / ] (2) Falling [ \ ] (3) [ - ]. All these three constitute three different tonemes occuring in contrasting positions. All these three tones occur in all syllables of word. All the vowels carry almost all tones.

Apart from the above three tones, there is one more tone in Lotha i.e., Rising and Falling [^], but this tone is found in one or two examples.


1. Ladefoged, Peter ‘phonemics’ U.C.L.A. working papers in phonetics 20 Los Angeles, University of california, 1971.


[y] /y/ wife

It may be possible that these words are remnants from the earlier stage or borrowings from another language which distinguishes more tones.

  . Consonants : General remarks

Lotha has 33 consonant phonemes comprising of 37 consonant speech sounds. Most of the consonants occur only initially and medially except [k] [v] [s] [h], [n] [N] [i] [r] and [y] which occur in all the three positions of a word. [r] is more tense when it occurs in the intervocalic position. Lotha does not have any voiced stops at phonemic level. It has [d], [g] at the phonetic level.

  Allophones of consonants

/P/ It is a voiceless unaspirated bilabial stop. It has a positional variant of an unreleased variety [p>] which can be described as voiceless unaspirated unreleased bilabial stop. It occurs only in the final position, [p] occurs elsewhere.

  Examples for [p>]

1. [ménkp>] /ménkp/ beak
2. [óp>] p/ nest
3. [pólhòp>] /pólhòp/ belly
4. [ólòp>] /ólòp/ grave

1. [pnóy] /pnóy/ teacher
2. [páy] /páy/ spider
3. [pón] /pón/ cream
4. [pkáv] /pkàv/ to begin

  Examples for [P] :

  Initially before a vowel :

1. [pnóy] /pnóy/ teacher
2. [páy] /páy/ spider
3. [pón] /pón/ cream
4. [pkáv] /pkàv/ to begin







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