Pitch Declination and Final Lowering in Northeastern Mandarin

Ping Cui, Jianjing Kuang

Northeastern Mandarin has a similar lexical tone system as Beijing Mandarin. However, the two dialects significantly diverge at higher prosodic structures. T1 in Northeastern Mandarin always changes to a falling tone in domain-final positions. Previous studies have analyzed this variation as a type of tone sandhi, but we propose it is related to more global prosodic processes such as final lowering. We addressed this issue by conducting both production and perception experiments with native bidialectal speakers of Northeastern Mandarin and Beijing Mandarin. Our findings suggest that T1 variation is essentially a domain-final lowering effect. Other tones also show some kind of final lowering effects. Compared to Beijing Mandarin, Northeastern Mandarin generally has greater global pitch declination and greater final lowering effects. Our perception experiment further showed that both prosodic effects play important roles in identifying the Northeastern Mandarin accent, and final lowering cues are more perceptually salient than the global declination cues. These findings support the notion that pitch declination and final lowering effects are linguistically controlled, not just a by-product of the physiological mechanisms.

 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-1987

Cite as: Cui, P., Kuang, J. (2020) Pitch Declination and Final Lowering in Northeastern Mandarin. Proc. Interspeech 2020, 1928-1932, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-1987.

  author={Ping Cui and Jianjing Kuang},
  title={{Pitch Declination and Final Lowering in Northeastern Mandarin}},
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2020},