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Variation in Nanchang Gan

Cui, Jie (2010) Variation in Nanchang Gan. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Contemporary China is an ideal sociolinguistic setting for investigating the interaction between a national standard language and regional speech varieties. In this study, I focus on a quantitative analysis of phonological variation in Nanchang Gan, a sub-topolect spoken in a provincial capital in Southern China. Three variables included in the discussion are: (1) diglossic alternation between two syllable initials: [w] and [f]; (2) rusheng tonal merger: [5] and [2] merging to [5]; (3) loss of historical breathy voice. Results reveal that the three variables I examined differ in their rates/states of change as well as their availability to doing social work: the consonant initials variable ([w] → [f]) has reached a relatively stable stage, indexing an urban-rural division; the checked tonal variable indicates a merger in process (towards the high-pitch variant), the progress of which was best predicted by age and occupation; on the other hand, voice quality does not seem to perform any social work yet, as most of the inter-speaker variation in this variable can by accounted for in terms of sexual dimorphism. In addition, a closer look at individual employment of these three variables successfully captured some subtle information that escaped the examination by institutional social factors. Therefore, I suggest that each speaker has to be treated as an individual linguistic agent; personal history must be carefully and episodically examined along with the quantitative methods. Furthermore, the analysis of the tonal merger variable reveals that older speakers are more advanced in the process of merging than the younger generation. This is probably due to the pressure of socialization in a wider society during one's adulthood.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMortensen, David Rdrm31@pitt.eduDRM31
Committee MemberKiesling, Scott Fkiesling@pitt.eduKIESLING
Committee MemberGooden, Shelome Asgooden@pitt.eduSGOODEN
Date: 1 June 2010
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 23 March 2010
Approval Date: 1 June 2010
Submission Date: 22 April 2010
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Language Contact; Nanchang Gan; Putonghua; Social mobility; Variation
Other ID:, etd-04222010-231537
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:41
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:41


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