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TONE MARKS IN NKWEN LANGUAGE

Nkwen is a tone language, that is, a language in which variations in pitch distinguish different words. Tone marks on words can change their pronunciation and meaning when used in isolation and in sentences. Tone variation also make differences in tenses. When writing this language the different tone marks should be seriously considered. The following tones marks are observed in Nkwen language:

Nkwen is a tone language, that is, a language in which variations in pitch distinguish different words. Tone marks on words can change their pronunciation and meaning when used in isolation and in sentences. Tone variation also make differences in tenses. When writing this language the different tone marks should be seriously considered. The following tones marks are observed in Nkwen language:

  1. The Low tone (L) ` also known as the grave.
  2. The High tone (H) ́ also known as the acute is observed but not marked.
  3. The Low-High tone ̌ (L H) also known as the falling tone.
  4. The High-Low tone (H L) ̂ also known as the rising tone.

Words with the low tone ̀ (L)

àbàà – a bag

kàà – old basket

àkù – foot

àtò’ò – raffia palm bush

àshìshì – thread

bàtǝ̀ – wine calabash

ǝ̀làrǝ̀ – a bridge

àtà’à – a snail

nǝ̀kùŋnǝ̀ – swampy area

àbà’à – a door

Words with the High tone (H) that is observed but not marked.

sǝŋǝ – a bird

forǝ – a rat

fɛrǝ – a ring

cici’i – a tadpole

nǝnaŋǝ – a chameleon

tǝtya – pepper

The above nouns in isolation take the HH tone pattern but when forming the plurals they change to the LHH tone pattern. E.G.

bǝ̀sǝŋǝ – birds

bǝ̀forǝ – rats

bǝ̀fɛrǝ – rings

bǝ̀cici’i – tadpoles

bǝ̀nǝnaŋǝ – chameleons

Words with the Low-High tone (LH)

yǐ    –    come

ghə̌    –    go

kǎ    –    draw

khə̌     –    run

shə̌    –    stab

nyǐ    –    defecate

bǔ    –    return

kǐ    –    refuse

fǔ    –    hit

sǔ    –    wash

zε̌     –    peal

fε̌    –    to go on a visit

The words above are mostly commands. The two lettered commands can also be rightly written with the vowel sound doubled and a low tone on the first, with the understanding that we respect the high tone on the second. E.G.

Yìi – come

kàa – draw

bùu – come back

kìi – to refuse

fùu – to hit

sùu – to wash

zɛ̀ɛ – to peal

fɛ̀ɛ – to go on a visit

Words with the High-Low (HL) Tone Pattern

Fyâ    –    give

Shə̂    –    to weed

Kî    –    to cry

Sû    –    entertain

Fû    –    go out

Zε̂    –    yawn

The two lettered verbs above can also be rightly written with the vowel sound doubled and a low tone on the second, with the understanding that we respect the high tone on the first. E.G.

kiì – to cry

suù – to entertain

fuù – to go out

zɛɛ̀ – to yawn

Some words also take a Low High Low (L H L) Tone Pattern. Eg 

Ngarə̀    –    a gun

fə̀nenə̀    –    grass bird

àbaŋə̀    –    a barn

àbanə̀    –    corn fufu

àto’ò     –    a tin

ə̀larə̀    –  upper part of the mouth

àtsaŋə̀    –    a prison

Learn more on Nkwen Language https://youtu.be/5JBSpWxhppA The Future Tense in Nkwen Language
Introducing others in Nkwen Language https://youtu.be/5JBSpWxhppA The Past Tense in Nkwen Language
“Thank you” in Nkwen Language https://youtu.be/5JBSpWxhppA The Nkwen Language Alphabet
Riddles in Nkwen Language https://youtu.be/5JBSpWxhppA The Nkwen Language Scheme Of Work

6 replies on “TONE MARKS IN NKWEN LANGUAGE”

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