15th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-15)

Barcelona, Spain
August 3-9, 2003

A Phonetic and Acoustic Investigation of the Concept of Tone Space

Jenny J. Liu, Harvey D. Blankespoor

Hope College, USA

This study is an attempt to explore tone space across tone systems via a phonetic and acoustic investigation. Three Chinese dialects (Mandarin, Jinanese and Cantonese), having different tonal inventory sizes or different tonal contrasts, were initially involved in the experiment. Eight bilingual speakers, four for Mandarin and Jinanese and four for Mandarin and Cantonese, were selected for making the recordings. The investigation in an idealized situation, and within the type of tone languages in East Asia provides us with cogent evidence in illustrating the concept of tone space. Phonetically speaking, tone space, known as pitch range, varies across tone systems. Contrary to previous reports, tone space does not necessarily expand with an increase of tonal inventory size. On the other hand, the transformed acoustic data from this study have also substantiated the previous claim that, tone space can be regarded as uniform across some tone languages from a phonological perspective.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Liu, Jenny J. / Blankespoor, Harvey D. (2003): "A phonetic and acoustic investigation of the concept of tone space", In ICPhS-15, 2669-2672.