Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Contrast Maintenance and Innovation in Toronto Heritage Cantonese High Vowels

Tse, Holman (2016) Contrast Maintenance and Innovation in Toronto Heritage Cantonese High Vowels. In: Workshop on Innovations in Cantonese Linguistics (WICL-3), 12 March 2016 - 13 March 2016, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.

Available under License : See the attached license file.

Download (1MB)
[img] Plain Text (licence)
Available under License : See the attached license file.

Download (1kB)


This presentation expands on Tse's (2015) analysis of four vowels in Toronto Heritage Cantonese by adding formant measurements for two additional vowel categories. The results to be presented are part of a larger project investigating variation and change in the entire monophthong system of a diasporic Yue variety using sociolinguistic methodology. This project addresses two general questions: (1) Are vowel contrasts maintained across two generations of Cantonese speakers in Toronto? (2) Is there influence from contact with Toronto English and if so what is the nature of this influence? The data for this project comes from the HerLD (Heritage Language Documentation) Corpus, a product of the Heritage Language Variation and Change (HLVC) in Toronto Project (Nagy, 2011). This corpus includes hour-long sociolinguistic interviews, word list readings, an Ethnic Orientation Questionnaire and time-aligned transcripts using the program ELAN (Sloetjes & Wittenburg, 2008). For this study, a total of 17 speakers (seven male and ten female) from the corpus were analyzed including nine from GEN 1 (Canadian immigrants born and raised in Hong Kong) and eight from GEN 2 (grew up in Toronto). For each speaker, the F1 and F2 for 15 tokens of each of 7 contrastive monophthongs were measured for a grand total of 1,785 tokens. Formant measurements were normalized using the Watt & Fabricius Modified method (Fabricius, Watt, & Johnson, 2009). R-brul (Johnson, 2009) was then used on the normalized values for mixed effects modeling. The results show maintenance of allophonic conditioning of high vowels as well as overall maintenance of phonological contrasts for seven monophthongs among GEN 2 speakers. There is no evidence that any of these vowels are merging. Influence from Toronto English appears to be motivated primarily by phonological factors rather than purely by phonetic assimilation with phonetically similar vowels. For example, GEN 2 speakers (especially female speakers) show a much greater acoustic distinction between the two allophones of /i/ than GEN 1 speakers. This appears to be influenced by English, which has a phonological contrast between two phonetically similar vowels (SEEK vs. SICK). Also, while the fronted /u/ in Toronto English might lead to the prediction that /u/ in Cantonese would also front among GEN 2 speakers, results show the exact opposite. There is a significant positive correlation between age and F2 of this vowel meaning that the youngest speakers are retracting /u/ (p


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tse, Holmanhbt3@pitt.eduHBT30000-0002-2398-5776
Date: 12 March 2016
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Event Title: Workshop on Innovations in Cantonese Linguistics (WICL-3)
Event Dates: 12 March 2016 - 13 March 2016
Event Type: Conference
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: Full location: The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Date Deposited: 16 Mar 2016 18:47
Last Modified: 18 Jun 2019 05:55


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item