Do tonal languages yield tonal emotions?
This would be the true deciding factor in the Whorf/Sapirian vs. Chomsky debate, if such things could indeed be measured. Why do polytonal primary languages yield to such monotonal secondary languages? When tone becomes a function of grammar, it ceases to be a function of emotional expression. Asians in general speak the most boring English imaginable, while Farangs speaking Thai butcher tones with a ball-peen hammer when they can speak them at all. To me tones seem a lousy way to build a language, or maybe just a lazy way. Thais seem to prefer to use as few syllables as possible most of the time, yet fill their speech with euphonic couplets analogous to “creepy-crawly”, “razzle-dazzle”, etc. whenever possible. In fact, pronunciation, including tone, is extremely precise at the risk of miscomprehension, while meaning tends to be rather vague even when grammar-perfect. Tonality has never been successfully reconstructed in any proto-language, indicating that it is a patchwork system at best. Thai and Lao, in fact, differ greatly in tone, even though they are essentially the same language and mutually comprehensible with only minor modifications. Nevertheless, tonal languages are widespread throughout the world, and not only in Chinese-related cultures. All African Bantu languages are tonal except one, the most widespread one, Swahili. That modern Mandarin, the most widely spoken language in the world, is simpler than the more archaic Cantonese, like English and German, seems to confirm that languages seem to simplify themselves in proportion to the spread of their use.