Call for African tone data

Calling fellow linguists

I'm currently involved in a research project with Amalia Bar-On and Elinor Saiegh-Haddad of Bar-Ilan University investigating the levels of written ambiguity in African languages if tone is not marked vs Hebrew and Arabic if vowels are not marked.

For this purpose, I would like to gather data that is representative of the widest possible range of African languages. Please can any one help me by sending me examples of the following types of tonal minimal pair with relevant citations:


1. Noun-noun derivations, e.g. augmentatives (hill vs mountain), agentives (book vs writer), ownership (goat vs goatherd)...

2. Adjective-noun derivations, e.g strong vs strength...

3. Adjective-adjective derivations, e.g. augmentatives, diminutives

4. Verb-verb derivations, e.g. intensives (walk vs run), reflexives (hurt vs hurt oneself), reciprocal (hurt vs hurt each other), iteratives (walk vs walk repeatedly), reversive (lock vs unlock)

5. Verb-noun derivations, e.g. agentives (to reign vs king) tools (to chop vs axe).

6. Anything else that might be interesting...


1. Person (1st, 2nd 3rd...)

2. Number (singular, dual, plural...)

3. Gender (masculine, feminine...)

4. Determiners (definite, indefinite, proximal, distal demonstratives...)

5. Prepositions

6. Voice (active-passive)

7. TAM categories (past, present, future, perfective, imperfective, imperative, infinitive, affirmative, negative, habitual, expectative, adversative...)

8. Anything else that might be interesting...

I’m particularly interested in gathering data from the following countries (but not exclusively): Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Chad, Congo, DR Congo, Equatorial Guinea,Eritrea, Gabon, Guinea, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Ruanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Zambia.

I’m particularly interested in gathering data from the following language families (but not exclusively): Bantu, Cross River, Defoid, Dogon, Grassfields, Kainje, Khoisan, Kordofanian, Kru, Senoufo.

Please use the contact page to be in touch.