Speech Prosody 2008

Campinas, Brazil
May 6-9, 2008

Revisiting the Phonetics and Phonology of Shanghai Tone Sandhi

Yiya Chen

Center of Lingusitics, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands

This study revisits the phonetics and phonology of Shanghai tone sandhi by examining the f0 contours of non-initial syllables within sandhi domains which start with different lexical tones. Results show significant f0 variation due to the initial lexical tones; the variation, however, diminishes as the number of non-initial syllables increases, resulting in near convergence of f0 values by the end of the 3rd syllable. This suggests the existence of a low tone target for non-initial syllables, the phonetic implementation of which is weak and remarkably comparable to the neutral tone in Standard Chinese [1]. Shanghai Chinese thus suggests the possible existence of weak-strong tonal contrast, like the neutral vs. lexical tonal contrast in Standard Chinese, which manifests at a prosodic level higher than syllable.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Chen, Yiya (2008): "Revisiting the phonetics and phonology of Shanghai tone sandhi", In SP-2008, 253-256.