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Phonological Prominence and Its Interaction with Tone in Chinese Dialects

Wang, Ping (2015) Phonological Prominence and Its Interaction with Tone in Chinese Dialects. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Earlier studies on Chinese have recognized that there are prominent positions, and there are interactions between tone and prominent positions. However, the earlier studies have not rigorously applied phonetic or phonological inspections for establishing prominent positions in Chinese. When more rigorous phonetic and phonological examinations have been applied in this study, a more constrained and principled set of prominence phenomena emerged. This set excludes the postulation of a generalized trochaic system in Standard Mandarin, accentual prominence in New Chongming and peripheral prominence in Zhenhai. On the other hand, this set includes metrical prominence in the Northern Wu dialects and Fengkai Cantonese, and the interaction between tone and metrically prominent positions.
In this study, two types of interaction between metrical prominence and tone are attested. First, metrically strong positions are characterized by the preservation of lexical tones, or the ability to determine the shape of the neighboring tones. Thus, the stressed position normally licenses a larger range of tonal contrast. Unstressed syllables tend to go tonal modification, reduction, or loss. Second, tone can condition stress placement. Observations made in the Northern Wu dialects suggest that stress assignment is sensitive to tone properties. In the Northern Wu group, the distribution of stress tends to avoid syllables with a low tone, or a short tone.
To summarize, although Chinese is widely recognized as a canonical tone language, stress and tone as two independent phonological properties do co-exist in Chinese. The co-existence of tone and stress leads to some interesting interactions. However, tone-stress interaction in Chinese produces a limited set of phonological processes, which is only attested in a limited number of dialects.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Wang, Pingpiw6@pitt.eduPIW6
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMortensen,
Committee ChairGooden, Shelomesgooden@pitt.eduSGOODEN
Committee MemberMauk, Claudecemauk@pitt.eduCEMAUK
Committee MemberNara, Hiroshihnara@pitt.eduHNARA
Date: 27 September 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 12 August 2014
Approval Date: 27 September 2015
Submission Date: 10 August 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 207
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: phonological prominence, stress, accent, tone, Chinese dialects
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2015 02:38
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:29


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