Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Juliette Blevins

Subject Categories



Gurung; Nepal; Phonology; Sino-Tibetan; Tonogenesis


This thesis examines proposals for the tone system of Gurung, a Sino-Tibetan language spoken in Nepal, in light of data collected from a speaker of Siklis Gurung. Although Gurung is widely acknowledged to be a tonal language, existing descriptions of Gurung disagree as to how these tone categories should be defined and whether word-initial obstruent voicing is phonemic or allophonic. The data presented in this paper suggests that, despite claims otherwise, voicing is phonemic in some dialects of Gurung. It also suggests that Siklis Gurung is best analyzed as having three tone categories: a low tone that occurs with breathy phonation; and high and mid tones that occur with modal phonation. Following models of tonogenesis, the emergence of these three tones is attributed to the split of one of two proto-tones due to the loss of a word-initial obstruent voicing contrast. This hypothesis is compared to theories outlined in the literature.

Included in

Linguistics Commons



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.