5th International Conference on Spoken Language Processing

Sydney, Australia
November 30 - December 4, 1998

Tones of a Tridialectal: Acoustic and Perceptual Data on Ten Linguistic Tonetic Contrasts Between Lao, Nyo and Standard Thai

Phil Rose

Department of Linguistics (Arts), Australian National University, Australia

One way of investigating how tone languages and dialects differ with respect to their tonal phonetics is to use bilingual or bidialectal speakers. In this paper, the tones of a speaker who has native command of not just two, but three varieties of tone language are investigated acoustically and perceptually: Standard Thai, with 5 tones; Lao, with 7; and Nyo, with 4. This makes a maximum of 16 possible Linguistic-tonetically different tones. Mean fundamental frequency and duration values are presented for the allotones of the Lao, Standard Thai and Nyo tonemes on syllables with unstopped Rhymes. A perceptual experiment is described to determine how many of the 16 allotones are identifiable by Nyo tridialectal listeners. This approach enables us in a sense to see through the ears of both native speaker and native listener. The acoustic and perceptual data are used to demonstrate the existence of 10 linguistic-tonetically distinct tones. It is speculated that this might represent an upper limit for a multidialectal speaker.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Rose, Phil (1998): "Tones of a tridialectal: acoustic and perceptual data on ten linguistic tonetic contrasts between lao, nyo and standard Thai", In ICSLP-1998, paper 0297.