8th European Conference on Speech Communication and Technology

Geneva, Switzerland
September 1-4, 2003


Accentual Lengthening in Standard Chinese: Evidence from Four-Syllable Constituents

Yiya Chen

University of Edinburgh, U.K.

This study examines the pattern of accentual lengthening (AL) over four-syllable mono-morphemic words in Standard Chinese (SC). I show that 1) the domain of AL in SC is best characterized as the constituent that is under focus; 2) the distribution of AL over a focused domain is non-uniform and there is a strong tendency of edge effect with the last syllable lengthened the most; and 3) different prosodic boundaries do not block but attenuate the spread of AL with different magnitudes. These results are also compared to the results of studies on AL in languages such as English and Dutch. While there are similarities of AL in these two typologically different languages, which open the possibility that some effects of AL are universal, there are clearly important differences in the way that AL is distributed over the focused constituent in different languages, due to the specific phonology of the language.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Chen, Yiya (2003): "Accentual lengthening in standard Chinese: evidence from four-syllable constituents", In EUROSPEECH-2003, 793-796.