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

Beijing, China
March 28-31, 2004

Tone Pattern and Word Stress in Mandarin

Yunjia Wang

Department of Chinese Language and Literature, Peking University, Beijing, China

The relationship between tone pattern and word stress is investigated on different aspects. The distribution of the original tones of the unstressed syllables in disyllabic words, the perception of word stress in utterances and the allocation of sentence stresses within words are analyzed. The results of the analyses coincide quite well, indicating that tone has something to do with the engendering of the unstressed syllables at lexical level and with word stress pattern in continuous speech. Specifically, when appearing in the final position in a disyllabic word, the high level tone, i.e. T1, makes a syllable have the smallest possibility to be unstressed at lexical level, and also makes it most prominent in perception, and the low tone, i.e. T3, does the reverse. It is argued from the diachronic viewpoint that to some degree the prominence of a tone in continuous speech makes it uneasy to become neutralized at lexical level.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Wang, Yunjia (2004): "Tone pattern and word stress in Mandarin", In TAL-2004, 207-210.