Previous studies have reported phonetic characteristics of the Shanghai Chinese phonological voicing contrast, which co-occurs with a tonal contrast. In stressed word-initial position, phonetic voicing is neutralized and replaced with a tonal register contrast: high eyinf tones for (phonologically) voiceless and low eyangf tones for voiced obstruents. Furthermore, breathy vs. modal voice quality, and low vs. high C/V duration ratio accompany voiced vs. voiceless obstruents. In two syllable identification experiments, we explored the impact of these characteristics on the perception of underlying phonological voicing. In Experiment 1, we manipulated tone contour (eyinf vs. eyangf) while maintaining other phonetic properties, including duration pattern. Syllable identification was mainly determined by the imposed contour, except for syllables with a voiced labial fricative onset. However, response times tended to increase when the imposed contour differed from the original one. In Experiment 2, we manipulated duration pattern and created tone contour continua from a eyinf tone to a eyangf tone. The duration pattern manipulation influenced identification in that high C/V duration ratios induced more frequent and faster eyinf identification (phonologically voiceless onset syllable). This result only held for unchecked syllables. We conclude that duration pattern contributes to the perception of phonological voicing in Shanghai Chinese.
Bibliographic reference. Gao, Jiayin / Hallé, Pierre (2013): "Duration as a secondary cue for perception of voicing and tone in shanghai Chinese", In INTERSPEECH-2013, 3157-3161.