Birmingham (1970: 4ff) describes the relevance of pitch to disyllabic verbs. He notes that the first syllable of such verbs is characterized by falling pitch, the second by rising pitch (p.5). He also points to some disyllabic forms of other parts of speech which display this pitch pattern (p.6), and concludes that "pitch has taken the place of stress in these instances" (6). He assumes that pitch has no relevance to other words in Papiamentu. In fact, those other words are characterized by the coincidence of pitch and accent (Kouwenberg & Murray 1994). What Birmingham noted was the non-coincidence of pitch and accent in the bisyllabic verbs, where accent on the first syllable normally coincides with a phonologically Low tone, whereas the unaccented final syllable carries a High tone. Only a handful of bisyllabic verbs, of Dutch and English origin, display a HL melody with penultimate stress, e.g., sunchi 'kiss', wèlder 'weld', fretu 'stuff, gorge (on food)', fangu 'catch'.
Römer (1977) and subsequent work, collected in Römer (1991), attempts a more complete description of tone in Papiamentu. Kouwenberg (2004) argues that tone melody is largely predictable from word class and that Papiamentu is best considered a pitch-accent language, where pitch and accent normally coincide.