On Tue, 2010-05-11 at 02:00 -0500, Eric Christopherson wrote: > Thanks for the replies, everyone. Now I'm trying to find an old message that was talking about tones coming from final /?/. That may have been me! Tonal contrasts from the loss of final consonants only seem to come from /ʔ/ and /h/, although these may represent earlier oral stops and continuants. Each can go two ways. /ʔ/ usually leads to a creaky voice register that becomes a high tone, but it can also leave a low tone if it was a simple arrest that didn't colour the vowel. Thus the Athbascan suffix -taʔ gives Chipewyan -tó but Sarcee -tò. In Asia, the high tone is usual. Similarly, -h usually leaves a breathy register that becomes a low tone, as in Vietnamese, but can lead to a high tone (via lengthening?) as in Punjabi. The voiced/voiceless contrast only seems to affect tone when it's initial (voiced > low, voiceless > high). Maintaining the contrast at the end of the word takes some effort — think of how many languages don't do it — so if a language weakened its final stops, the voicing contrast would probably go first, and then the resulting voiceless stops could become /ʔ/.