Acoustic Study of Tone 3 Sandhi in Beijing and Taiwan Mandarin


  •  Hui Yin    

Abstract

Studies on Mandarin tone sandhi have focused on Beijing Mandarin. Taiwan has been politically separated from mainland China since 1949, but it is not known if tone sandhi in Taiwan Mandarin displays different patterns or characteristics. However, there has been no comparative study to investigate if Beijing Mandarin and Taiwan Mandarin display the same tone sandhi pattern. This study aims to fill this gap by comparing Beijing and Taiwan Mandarin through a productive experiment to examine acoustic differences between sandhied tone 3 and lexical tone 2. The results indicate that tone 3 sandhi among Mandarin dialects is not a homogeneous category, but displays a graded phenomenon of a categorical change and tonal reduction. The experimental evidence shows that acoustic difference between sandhied tone 3 and lexical tone 2 is larger in Beijing Mandarin than that in Taiwan Mandarin. Gender effects are also detected and acoustic difference in female samples is consistently larger than that in male samples across Beijing and Taiwan Mandarin. The findings suggest that the third tone sandhi in Beijing Mandarin is more like a categorical change (i.e., changed to lexical tone 2) whereas the sandhi in Taiwan Mandarin is more like a tonal reduction.



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