Steg Belsky scripsit: > How is there no tone 6? Middle Chinese, the undifferentiated parent of the modern Sinitic languages, had four tones, conventionally numbered 1, 3, 5, 7, where 7 is a conventional tone label for syllables that ended in stops. Due to a general loss of consonant inventory in the modern languages, the tones underwent tone splits into high and low versions; conventionally the higher tones are still 1, 3, 5, 7 and the lower versions are 2, 4, 6, 8 respectively. In Mandarin, the category of stop-final syllables disappeared altogether, and those syllables were reallocated to the other tones. Tone 1 split, leaving Mandarin with four tones that would be conventionally numbered 1, 2, 3, 5. However, pedagogical convenience has overridden historical accuracy here, and tone 5 is always referred to as 4 in a purely Mandarin context. (The term "fifth tone" is sometimes applied unhistorically to the "toneless" -- really variable-tone -- unstressed syllables that occur in Mandarin but not in most other Sinitic languages.) In Shanghainese, tones 3 and 5 merged, whereas tones 1 and 7 split, leaving the language with five tones numbered 1, 2, 3, 7, 8. In Cantonese, all the tones split, and tone 7 split three ways (high, medium, low), producing 9 basic tones. However, nowadays 7-high and 1 are pronounced alike, ditto for 7-medium and 5, ditto for 8 and 6; making in effect only 6 tones. (Sometimes in purely Cantonese contexts the high tones are numbered 1, 2, 3 and their low versions 4, 5, 6, confusingly enough.) Doug, Ramsey says it's tone 4, not tone 6, that's missing in Minnan/Hokkien. Is this a discrepancy in numbering, or an error somewhere? To be clear, by 1, 3, 5, 7 I mean yin ping, shang, qu, and ru sheng respectively, and by 2, 4, 6, 8 I mean yang ping, shang, qu, and ru sheng respectively. -- My confusion is rapidly waxing John Cowan For XML Schema's too taxing: [log in to unmask] I'd use DTDs http://www.reutershealth.com If they had local trees -- http://www.ccil.org/~cowan I think I best switch to RELAX NG.