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I think Leonardo was asking how difficult it was for French speakers to
learn a language that has phonemic stress, such as English, rather than
perfectly predictable stress (or no stress, IIRC, in some dialects) as in
French.  He was comparing it to tone, not implying that French was tonal.

Hmm, tonal French . . . how would *that* arise?  All those missing
consonants at the ends of words . . . hmm.




On Sat, Mar 9, 2013 at 3:56 PM, George Corley <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> On Sat, Mar 9, 2013 at 3:47 PM, Leonardo Castro <[log in to unmask]
> >wrote:
>
> > I was thinking about how French people perceive stressed-unstressed
> > contrast. Is it as strange and difficult as tones for those whose
> > native language doesn't have them?
> >
>
> Wait -- French has stress, not tone.  I am reasonably sure of this.
>
> Now, if we actually talk about tonal languages, then this is interesting.
> I would imagine that speakers of complex tone systems would either ignore
> stress or map it to a particular tone (Mandarin fourth tone -- a falling
> tone -- seems to sound very similar to an English primary stress, but I
> don't know if Mandarin speakers actually perceive it that way).  Speakers
> of pitch-accent or simple tone systems may fix stress as a high tone or
> something like that.  In fact, I've heard that it's still under debate
> whether some simple-tone languages have both tone _and_ stress.
>



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