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Variation and Change in Four Contrastive Vowels in Toronto Heritage Cantonese

Tse, Holman (2015) Variation and Change in Four Contrastive Vowels in Toronto Heritage Cantonese. Comprehensive Paper, University of Pittsburgh.

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Abstract

This paper addresses variation and change in four contrastive vowels (/i:/, /u:/, /ɛ:/, and /ɔ:/) in Heritage Cantonese among both male and female speakers across two generations. The data comes from the HerLD (Heritage Language Documentation) Corpus, a product of the Heritage Language Variation and Change (HLVC) in Toronto Project (Nagy et al 2009). The mean F1 and F2 of 75 vowel tokens were measured across two phonetic contexts (pre-velar and open-syllable) from each of 17 speakers for a grand total of 1275 vowel tokens. Specific research questions include: 1) Is variation in these four vowel categories conditioned by linguistic factors (preceding consonant and velar coda)? 2) Is variation in these four vowel categories conditioned by external factors (generational background, sex, and age)? 3) Is there change influenced by the vowel system of Toronto English? Results show a consistent lowering effect of the high vowels /i:/ and /u:/ in pre-velar context across the speech community. This is consistent with observed allophonic variation in Hong Kong Cantonese. The results also show a notable sex-based split among second generation (GEN 2) speakers that is absent among first generation (GEN 1) speakers. While GEN 2 male speakers pattern one way (ex: increasing acoustic differentiation based on phonetic context), GEN 2 female speakers pattern another way (ex: following the Canadian Vowel Shift). Yet, while the specific patterns differ, both male and female GEN 2 speakers show patterns that could be attributed to influence from Toronto English. Overall, the results show that both phonological categorization and low-level phonetic differences in a dominant language can influence low-level phonetic change in a heritage language. Social factors also need to be taken into consideration.


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Details

Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Comprehensive Paper)
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tse, Holmanhbt3@pitt.eduHBT3
Date: 15 March 2015
Date Type: Submission
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Comprehensive Paper
Refereed: No
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2015 13:53
Last Modified: 11 Jan 2019 13:55
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/20436

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