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The vowels in 'pig' vs. 'tofu': A contact-induced merger in Toronto Heritage Cantonese?

Tse, Holman (2018) The vowels in 'pig' vs. 'tofu': A contact-induced merger in Toronto Heritage Cantonese? In: New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV 47), Oct. 18-21, 2018, New York University, New York, NY. (Unpublished)

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Aside from Herold (1997), variationists have described very few cases of contact-induced vowel mergers. In this presentation, I discuss a previously undocumented example involving the two high round tense vowels (/y/ and /u/, ex: [tsy] ‘pig’ vs. [tɐw.fu] ‘tofu’) in Toronto Heritage Cantonese. Second-generation speakers (Canadian raised, English-dominant bilinguals) have decreased the acoustic difference between these two vowels compared to first generation speakers (Hong Kong born, immigrated to Canada as adults, Cantonese- dominant). This leads to partial overlap in the distribution of these two vowels for some speakers, with those who code-mix the most and report English as primary home language leading in the merger. These factors suggest a contact-induced change influenced by linguistic dominance in Toronto English (which has only a fronted /u/). Further supporting contact-induced change is lack of the same change in Hong Kong. These findings contribute towards a better cross-linguistic understanding of vowel system variation and change.


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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tse, Holmanhbt3@pitt.eduhbt30000-0002-2398-5776
Date: 21 October 2018
Event Title: New Ways of Analyzing Variation (NWAV 47)
Event Dates: Oct. 18-21, 2018
Event Type: Conference
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: sound change, vowel mergers, heritage language phonology, Chinese (Yue) - Cantonese, sociophonetics
Date Deposited: 24 Oct 2018 13:09
Last Modified: 24 Oct 2018 13:09


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