tone language


noun

a language, as Swedish, Chinese, Yoruba, or Serbo-Croatian, in which words that are otherwise phonologically identical are distinguished by having different pitches or pitch contour.

Nearby words

  1. tone color,
  2. tone colour,
  3. tone control,
  4. tone dialing,
  5. tone down,
  6. tone painting,
  7. tone poem,
  8. tone policing,
  9. tone row,
  10. tone up

Origin of tone language

First recorded in 1905–10

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for tone language

tone language

noun

a language, such as Chinese or certain African languages, in which differences in tone may make differences in meaning
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012