Intonation in Contact: Mandarin Influence in Yami

Li-Fang Lai, Shelome Gooden


In an age of increasing mobility, language contact is unavoidable. Despite fruitful discussion in morpho-syntactic and phonological (segmental) variation, prosodic aspects of language contact have received far less attention. This paper thus intends to (1) describe key aspects of Yami intonation, an endangered Austronesian language spoken in Taiwan and (2) investigate Yami-Mandarin bilingual intonation patterns, given Yami-Mandarin contact. Three parameters are considered: final boundary tone, F0 slope, and pitch height. Yami-monolinguals produced falling contours in statements and neutral questions, but produced confirmation-seeking questions and default statement questions with a rising pattern. Bilingual speakers show evidence of Mandarin influence in two respects. First, they transfer the Mandarin-like (level) intonation to their Yami neutral questions; second, a non-Yami-native question type has also been “transplanted” into Yami by bilinguals. Interestingly, the newly-added question type is fused with pre-existing Yami intonation to form an innovative hybrid system. This seems to indicate a new direction in the evolution of the intonation system. If these variations continue and strengthen, present-day Yami intonation may evolve over time into a new-styled one.


 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-192

Cite as: Lai, L., Gooden, S. (2018) Intonation in Contact: Mandarin Influence in Yami. Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018, 952-956, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-192.


@inproceedings{Lai2018,
  author={Li-Fang Lai and Shelome Gooden},
  title={Intonation in Contact: Mandarin Influence in Yami},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. 9th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2018},
  pages={952--956},
  doi={10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-192},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/SpeechProsody.2018-192}
}