Acoustic and Phonological Analyses of Tones in Taifeng Chinese

Aijun Li, Xiaoyan Zhang, Zhiqiang Li

Taifeng is located in the Nanling County in Anhui Province. Its local dialect belongs to the Tongjing group of the Xuanzhou dialect, a Wu dialect in the Chinese dialect classification system. The tonal system has never been investigated before. In the present study, acoustic and phonological analyses of the lexical tones in Taifeng were conducted. Only four contrastive tone categories were found in the current Taifeng tonal system – the fewest among Wu dialects – three long tones and one checked tone, classified as M, R, L, ʔH in the phonological analysis. The diachronic correspondence between the tonal system of Taifeng and that of the Middle Chinese is different from other Wu dialects. Taifeng maintains tone splitting by voiceless or voiced onsets, but its tone merger happens across tone registers in Taifeng: a Yang tone merges with a Yin tone. Also, T2 and T3 are both Yang tones, but co-occur with voiced-obstruent and sonorant onsets respectively. They seem to follow different evolutionary paths due to speakers’ regions and ages. Specifically, three patterns have emerged for T2: merging with R, L or showing a transitional contour between R and L. This merging pattern was discovered for the first time.

 DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-132

Cite as: Li, A., Zhang, X., Li, Z. (2020) Acoustic and Phonological Analyses of Tones in Taifeng Chinese. Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020, 645-649, DOI: 10.21437/SpeechProsody.2020-132.

  author={Aijun Li and Xiaoyan Zhang and Zhiqiang Li},
  title={{Acoustic and Phonological Analyses of Tones in Taifeng Chinese}},
  booktitle={Proc. 10th International Conference on Speech Prosody 2020},