Jaw displacement and phrasal stress in Mandarin Chinese

Donna Erickson, Ray Iwata, Atsuo Suemitsu

´╗┐Spoken languages have rhythmic structures, often phonologically described in terms of the metrical phrasal stress patterns of that language [1, 2, 3, 4]. Recent studies with English, Japanese, and Spanish suggest that rhythmic phrasal stress patterns are articulated by syllable to syllable jaw displacement variations, with concomitant syllable to syllable changes in vocal tract resonance frequencies, especially F1[5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11]. Moreover, the jaw and F1 patterns match the hierarchical (metrical) structure of the particular language. Inspired by these cross-linguistic findings, we investigate Mandarin Chinese to see if a tonal language also shows patterns of jaw displacement/F1 reflecting phrasal stress/hierarchical groupings of syllables. Acoustic and electromagnetic articulatory recordings of jaw displacement of 6 Mandarin Chinese speakers were analyzed. The results indicate that jaw displacement increases for phrase-final syllables, and optionally for phrase-initial syllables, regardless of lexical tone, with acoustic consequences of increased F1/duration, but not increased intensity or F0.

DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2016-14

Cite as

Erickson, D., Iwata, R., Suemitsu, A. (2016) Jaw displacement and phrasal stress in Mandarin Chinese. Proc. Tonal Aspects of Languages 2016, 65-69.

author={Donna Erickson and Ray Iwata and Atsuo Suemitsu},
title={Jaw displacement and phrasal stress in Mandarin Chinese},
booktitle={Tonal Aspects of Languages 2016},