The 4th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages

Nijmegen, The Netherlands
May 13-16, 2014

Unmerging T2 and T3 in Urumqi Accented Standard Mandarin

Xinlu Yang (1,2), Jie Liang (1), Marjoleine Sloos (3)

(1) School of Foreign Languages, Tongji University, China
(2) College of Foreign Languages, Xinjiang Normal University, China
(3) Aarhus University, Denmark

The Urumqi Mandarin dialect has three tones, whereas Standard (Beijing) Mandarin has four tones. Recently, younger speakers in Urumqi began to use Standard Mandarin in daily conversation. We investigate how they acquire the tones in Standard Mandarin, especially the rising tone (T2) which lacks a counterpart in Urumqi Mandarin. We will show that these younger speakers initially use Urumqi tones in Standard Mandarin (but for different lexical sets). At that stage, the production of T1, T3 and T4 approximates Standard Mandarin relatively well. However, T2 is merged with T3. In the second stage, unmerger of T2 and T3 occurs, which is characterized by a distinction between early (T2) and late (T3) low turning points in the dipping tone. In the third stage, further disambiguation occurs by lowering the lowest turning point in T3. However, the final rise of T2 is still missing. We assume that raising the final part of T2 will be the final step to be taken in the near future.

Index Terms: tone, intonation, Mandarin, Urumqi

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Liang, Xinlu Yang (1,2(, Jie / Sloos, Marjoleine (2014): "Unmerging T2 and T3 in Urumqi accented standard Mandarin", In TAL-2014, 32-35.