The 4th International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages

Nijmegen, The Netherlands
May 13-16, 2014

A Preliminary Study of Tonal Influence on Weak Syllables in Mandarin

Bei Yang, Nuoyi Yang

Department of East Asian Languages and Literature, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA

This study explores the weak syllable in disyllabic Mandarin words, including its location and difference from the full syllable, and whether the internal structure influences the degree of the syllable’s weakness. In what follows, we examine tonal variations of a disyllabic word’s affix and root. We use ANOVA and t-test to compare the tonal contours carried by semantically opaque and transparent affixes, and their counterpart roots. We also employ t-test to compare tonal duration. Our results indicate that there are some differences between full and weak syllables and that the weak syllable is located in the second syllable with regards to tonal contours. We also find that internal structure may be another factor influencing weak syllables.

Index Terms: tone, disyllabic word, weak syllable

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Yang, Bei / Yang, Nuoyi (2014): "A preliminary study of tonal influence on weak syllables in Mandarin", In TAL-2014, 185-188.