International Symposium on Tonal Aspects of Languages
With Emphasis on Tone Languages

Beijing, China
March 28-31, 2004

Tonal Aspects in Spoken Chinese: Global and Local Perspectives

Jianfen Cao

Institute of Linguistics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, China

The present study try to clarify the deep essence and structure of Chinese intonation by objectively approach to the production process of tone and intonation and their interaction based on the acoustic-phonetic observation. Our main attention is paid to examine (1)what is the basic intonation pattern for the whole course of utterance and how it is formed? (2) how the lexical tone patterns integrate with the global intonation pattern? The preliminary results indicate that intonation pattern is mainly related to pitch register movement of global utterance, it is undulated depending on physiological mechanism and the needs of speech mood and semantic expression. While tone pattern is mainly referred both to the contour and the register of pitch change of local syllable or word, and it is lexically given. In real speech, each tone must be modified by global intonation through adjusting its relative register on one hand, and keeps its basic tone shape on the other hand. At the same time, the global intonation must be manifested through the pitch movement of each local tone. The key point is that the relationship between tone and intonation is an "algebraic sum" of pitch register, in stead of that of pitch contour.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cao, Jianfen (2004): "Tonal aspects in spoken Chinese: global and local perspectives", In TAL-2004, 17-20.