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

Beijing, China
March 28-31, 2004

Effect of Tone Height on Jaw and Tongue Articulation in Mandarin Chinese

Donna Erickson (1), Ray Iwata (2), Mitsuaki Endo (3), Akinori Fujino (4)

(1) Gifu City Women’s College, Gifu, Japan; (2) Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan; (3) Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo, Japan; (4) NTT Communication Science Laboratories, NTT. Corp., Kyoto, Japan

This study investigates some of the articulatory changes that occur due to the tonal conditions of the syllable; specifically, jaw, tongue and formant frequency changes. Articulatory and acoustic data were collected using the electromagnetic articulatograph (EMA) at NTT Research Laboratories (Atsugi, Japan) from two native female speakers of Mandarin Chinese producing Tones 1 and 3 on monosyllabic words containing the vowel /a/ (ba, ma, pa). Measurements of both acoustics (F0, F1) and pellet positions (tongue tip, tongue dorsum, and jaw) were made at the center of the syllable, i.e., at the time when the jaw was lowest.

T-tests show that supralaryngeal articulation is significantly different for the two tones. For the low Tone 3 compared to high Tone 1, for both speakers, the jaw and tongue are significantly more retracted and F1 is significantly higher. This study provides useful data for exploring the interactive control between laryngeal mechanisms and articulation of vocal tract shape, which a speaker of a tone language must access to produce tones. It also provides interesting data applicable to current issues in phonology and phonetics about the interaction between prosody and articulation.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Erickson, Donna / Iwata, Ray / Endo, Mitsuaki / Fujino, Akinori (2004): "Effect of tone height on jaw and tongue articulation in Mandarin Chinese", In TAL-2004, 53-56.