Er-Suffixation in Southwestern Mandarin: An EMA and Ultrasound Study

Jing Huang, Feng-fan Hsieh, Yueh-chin Chang


This paper is an articulatory study of the er-suffixation (a.k.a. erhua) in Southwestern Mandarin (SWM), using co-registered EMA and ultrasound. Data from two female speakers in their twenties were analyzed and discussed. Our recording materials contain unsuffixed stems, er-suffixed forms and the rhotic schwa [ɚ], a phonemic vowel in its own right. Results suggest that the er-suffixation in SWM involves suffixing a rhotic schwa [ɚ] to the stem, unlike its counterpart in Beijing and Northeastern Mandarin [5]. Specifically, an entire rime will be replaced with the er-suffix if the nucleus vowel is non-high; only high vocoids will be preserved after the er-suffixation. The “rhoticity” is primarily realized as a bunched tongue shape configuration (i.e. a domed tongue body), while the Tongue Tip gesture plays a more limited role in SWM. A phonological analysis is accordingly proposed for the er-suffixation in SWM.


 DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2453

Cite as: Huang, J., Hsieh, F., Chang, Y. (2020) Er-Suffixation in Southwestern Mandarin: An EMA and Ultrasound Study. Proc. Interspeech 2020, 661-665, DOI: 10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2453.


@inproceedings{Huang2020,
  author={Jing Huang and Feng-fan Hsieh and Yueh-chin Chang},
  title={{ Er-Suffixation in Southwestern Mandarin: An EMA and Ultrasound Study}},
  year=2020,
  booktitle={Proc. Interspeech 2020},
  pages={661--665},
  doi={10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2453},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/Interspeech.2020-2453}
}