Wobé language

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Wobé
Northern Wèè
Native to Ivory Coast
Native speakers
160,000  (1993)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-3 wob

Wobé (Ouobe) is a Kru language spoken in Ivory Coast. It is one of several languages in a dialect continuum called Wèè (Wɛɛ).

Tone[edit]

Wobé is known for claims that it has the largest number of tones (fourteen) of any language in the world (Bearth & Link). However, this has not been confirmed by other researchers, many of whom believe that some of these will turn out to be sequences of tones or prosodic effects (Singler 1984, Newman 1986), though the Wèè languages in general do have extraordinarily large tone systems.

The 14 tones posited by Bearth & Link (1980) are:

IPA ˥ ˦ ˧ ˨ ˧˥ ˧˦ ˨˥ ˨˦ ˨˧ ˥˩ ˦˩ ˧˩ ˨˩ ˨˧˩
B&L tone numbers 1 2 3 4 31 32 41 42 43 15 25 35 45 435
Newman adjustment 0 1 2 3 20 21 30 31 32 04 14 24 34 324
Asian convention 5 4 3 2 35 34 25 24 23 51 41 31 21 231

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wobé at Ethnologue (17th ed., 2013)
  • Bearth & Link, 1980. "The Tone Puzzle of Wobe". Studies in African Linguistics, 11:2:147–207.
  • Paul Newman, 1986. "Contour Tones in Grebo". In Stewart et al. eds. The Phonological representation of suprasegmentals. Notes 12, 14 (pp 190–191).
    [Newman believes Singler is a valuable counterweight to Bearth & Link, but does not accept all his criticism; he accept the Wobe 43 toneme, for example, though believes it should be analyzed as /32/ (all tones being off by 1 compared to related dialects).]
  • John Singler, 1984. "On the underlying representation of contour tones in Wobe. Studies in African Linguistics, 15:1:59–75.