Cheyenne has two distinctive (phonemic) pitches:
1. high (marked with the acute accent, as in á)
2. low (unmarked)
It also has three variations of these two pitches, which can be accounted for by the pitch rules described in my IJAL article of 1981 (see my bibliography at the main Cheyenne page):
3. raised high (which I usually now simply mark with the regular high pitch mark)
4. mid pitch, marked here with umlauts (double dots over vowels, as in ë), because they are available in many computer fonts, although which we prefer to mark these vowels with the macron
5. lowered high (marked with the grave accent, as in è)
Here are pairs of Cheyenne words which differ only in the pitch (tone) on their vowels:
hóoma mosquito, blanket
hoóma on the other side
éhoó'ta It is closed.
éhóó'ta It is exposed.
hoéstôtse Read it!
taä'e Beat your (pl.) wives!
táa'e in a pile (taa'e?)
éé'eehe he was hung
ée'eehe he moved camp up (e.g. into the hills)
éó'eotse it has dried out
éo'eotse it has been defecated upon (?)
éhéstána he acquired it from there
éhestäna he took it
ésáahésôhane it's not from there
ésáahesóhane it's not that way
énêhetoèmo he is related to him so
énêhetoemóho he counted him (obv.) so
énoöhta he left it
énóóhta he drank it from a vessel
náhésého I fought him over it
náhesëho I blamed him
éhesêhähtse he inhaled it
éhésêhahtse he fought over it (éhésêháhtse?)
hóehoo'o(??) Restrain him from leaving (at some time in the future)!
hoéhoo'o Stay on (here) in the future!
návé'hoéto I reprimanded him
návé'hoëto I wrapped him up
éo'eoestâsóho he scalped him (obv.)
éó'eoestâsóho he dried him (obv.) out with rapid motion
nánéha I chased it
náneha she breastfed/nursed me
ého'tahe Is it here?
éhó'tahe he was defeated
náhóhtanaa'e it (for example, a car) ran over me
náhóhtanää'e they (an.) ran over me
náómotòme I am breathing
naómotòme my breath
éhóhpeotse it melted (inchoative)
éhohpéotse he is sweating
nèše two of
néše grandchild (vocative; for addressing your grandchild)
má'e Be careful!/Don't touch it (e.g. a hot stove)!
ésáanémenéhe he isn't singing
ésáanéménéhe he doesn't have a crooked face
xaa'e Urinate (plural addressee)!
naa'e Die (plural addressee)!
navènôtse my marrow bones
navénótse at/to my dwelling/home/tepee (locative)
o'hé'e at/in the river (locative)
énaa'e he died
énaë'e he doctored (these are near minimal pairs since -ae here sounds
identical (or nearly so) to the vowel sequence -aa)
hó'ésta Whoop (plural addressee)!
éahanóhta he bit it
éáhanöhta it froze to death
éónêstána he opened it (e.g. door or gate)
éonéstána he tested it by feeling
navéamoo'o my bed partner
návéamoo'o I slept with them (an.)
namêhäne my older sister
námâháne I gathered firewood (mêha- and mâha- are both pronounced \mha\)
éo'eoestâsóho he scalped him (obv.)
éó'eoestâsóho he dried him (obv.) with rapid motion (e.g. flapping in air)
heške his mother
héške male exclamation
asenoota Start to leave him (plural addressee)!
asénoòta Sing an honor song to him (plural addressee)!
éó'ôseotse It's the wrong way.
éó'ôséotse It/He burst open.
náe'ha He is afraid of me.
nae'ha my son
A number of nouns are differentiated in number (singular vs. plural) by a pitch
contrast, for example:
šéstótó'e pine tree
šéstotó'e pine trees
hoóxe'e lodgepole/tepee pole
hoóxé'e lodgepoles/tepee poles
hetané'hame male horse
hetané'háme male horses
nanóse'hame cougar/mountain lion
nanósé'háme cougars/mountain lions
Some conjunct order (subordinate) verbs have person-marking suffixes differing only in pitch,
tséhmaneto when you (sg.) drank
tséhmanéto when I drank
tsémanese those who drink
tsémanése you (plural) who drink
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