11th Annual Conference of the International Speech Communication Association

Makuhari, Chiba, Japan
September 26-30. 2010

Exploring the Mechanism of Tonal Contraction in Taiwan Mandarin

Chierh Cheng (1), Yi Xu (1), Michele Gubian (2)

(1) University College London, UK
(2) Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen, The Netherlands

This study investigates the mechanism of tonal contraction when a disyllabic unit is merged into a monosyllable at fast speech rate in Taiwan Mandarin. Various degrees of contraction of bi-tonal sequences were elicited by manipulating speech rates. Functional Data Analysis was performed to compare trajectories of F0 and velocity in the contracted and non-contracted syllables. Preliminary results show that speakers always make an effort to produce the original tones, even in cases of extreme degrees of reduction. This finding militates against phonology-based accounts like the Edge-in model, according to which contraction is a process of deleting adjacent tonemes while leaving the non-adjacent tonemes intact.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Cheng, Chierh / Xu, Yi / Gubian, Michele (2010): "Exploring the mechanism of tonal contraction in taiwan Mandarin", In INTERSPEECH-2010, 2010-2013.