14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999

Frequency of Occurrence of Cantonese Word Initials, Finals, and Tones

Manwa L. Ng (1), Irene C. L. Kwok (2)

(1) Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, USA
(2) Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Hong Kong

Thirty 10-minute spontaneous speech/dialogue were recorded from live radio and TV programs broadcast in Hong Kong. The speech samples were carefully transcribed by two experienced investigators. Only those speech samples transcribed consistently by the two investigators were used to measure the frequency of occurrence of all Cantonese word initials, finals, and tones. Results indicated a similar pattern of distribution of Cantonese initials and finals to that reported by Fok [1] in 1979, with the exceptions of [n] and [l], [kWH] and [kH], and [kW] and [k]. Such differences are believed to be related to the sociolinguistic change of the speech pattern in the current generation. Findings in tones also revealed a similar distribution as reported by Fok [1].


  1. Fok, C. Y. Y. 1979. The frequency of occurrence of speech sounds and tones in Cantonese. In Robert, L. (ed.), Hong Kong Language Paper. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Ng, Manwa L. / Kwok, Irene C. L. (1999): "Frequency of occurrence of Cantonese word initials, finals, and tones", In ICPhS-14, 797-799.