Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies


A tonal analysis of Gurung, with separate systems for register and contour pitch features1

R. K. Sprigg

The Gurung language made its Bulletin début in 1955 with an article by Burton-Page: ‘Two studies in Gurungkura: I. tone; II. rhotacization and retroflexion’ (BSOAS, 17/1, 1955, 111ff.). Since tone is the subject of one of these studies, it might seem that there would be little point in adding a further study of that same topic, important though it is; but a different dialect can lead to a considerable difference in the appearance of Gurung phonology as a whole, and so, too, can a difference in technique of analysis. As Burton-Page himself writes: ‘it should be mentioned that the material presented here is relevant only to the Ghandrung dialect, which of the four or five major Gurungkura dialects is accorded the greatest prestige-value by the Gurungs themselves’; his informant was G./Lieut. Ganesh Gurung, M.C., 1/2nd K. E. O. Goorkha Rifles (Burton-Page, 1955: 111).


1 The enlarged version of a paper with the same title contributed to the 17th International Conference of the Linguistic Society of Nepal, Kathmandu, 1995