The roles of pitch and phonation in Vietnamese and Mandarin

Irene Vogel, Angeliki Athanasopoulou


Pitch and phonation may be used individually or together in languages: some languages do not make systematic use of either property, others use one or the other, and others a combination, where different relationships may hold. We investigate this last option in Mandarin and Vietnamese using substantial, systematically collected corpora, first with auditory and visual (spectrogram) assessment of the presence of Creaky Phonation (CP), then with acoustic and statistical (Binary Logistic Regression) Analyses. We focus on the s?c and ngã tones in Vietnamese, claimed to contrast in CP not F0, and all four tones of Mandarin, where CP often arises with Tone 3 (dipping), and possibly others. We propose that despite differences in the distribution of F0 and CP, both languages crucially require underlying tonal contrasts, but differ in the source and role of CP. In Mandarin, CP correlates with low F0, as a type of "artifact", resulting in gender differences. In Vietnamese, CP cannot be due to F0, as it appears with high tones; instead, it is an additional "gesture" speakers may introduce along with F0 in producing the ngã tone, but need not, as seen in the emergence of two speaker groups based on their use of CP.


 DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-49

Cite as: Vogel, I., Athanasopoulou, A. (2018) The roles of pitch and phonation in Vietnamese and Mandarin. Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages, 242-246, DOI: 10.21437/TAL.2018-49.


@inproceedings{Vogel2018,
  author={ Irene Vogel and Angeliki Athanasopoulou},
  title={ The roles of pitch and phonation in Vietnamese and Mandarin},
  year=2018,
  booktitle={Proc. TAL2018, Sixth International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages},
  pages={242--246},
  doi={10.21437/TAL.2018-49},
  url={http://dx.doi.org/10.21437/TAL.2018-49}
}