Edward Sapir (18841939). Language: An Introduction to the Study of Speech. 1921.
as symbolic of the distinction between noun and verb.
There are languages, however, in which such differences are of the most fundamental grammatical importance. They are particularly common in the Soudan. In Ewe, for instance, there are formed from subo to serve two reduplicated forms, an infinitive subosubo to serve, with a low tone on the first two syllables and a high one on the last two, and an abjectival subo-subo serving, in which all the syllables have a high tone. Even more striking are cases furnished by Shilluk, one of the languages of the headwaters of the Nile. The plural of the noun often differs in tone from the singular, e.g., yit (high) ear but yit (low) ears. In the pronoun three forms may be distinguished by tone alone; e he has a high tone and is subjective, -e him (e.g., a chwol-e he called him) has a low tone and is objective, -e his (e.g., wod-e his house) has a middle tone and is possessive. From the verbal element gwed- to write are formed gwed-o (he) writes with a low tone, the passive gwet (it was) written with a falling tone, the imperative gwet write! with a rising tone, and the verbal noun gwet writing with a middle tone. In aboriginal America also pitch accent is known to occur as a grammatical process. A good example of such a pitch language is Tlingit, spoken by the Indians of the southern coast of Alaska. In this language many verbs vary the tone of the radical element according to tense; hun to sell, sin to hide, tin to see, and numerous other radical elements, if low-toned, refer to past time, if high-toned, to the future. Another type of function is illustrated by the Takelma forms hel song, with falling pitch, but hel sing! with a rising inflection; parallel