ASA 127th Meeting M.I.T. 1994 June 6-10

3pSP12. Physical constraint of tonal production: A study of F0 movement in groups of T3 syllables in Mandarin Chinese.

Rongrong Liao

Dept. of Asian Languages & Literatures, Univ. of Iowa, 314 Gilmore Hall, Iowa City, IA 52242

Productional constraints and formation of F0 contours of special tonal sequences in Mandarin Chinese is discussed in this paper. Three female native speakers were asked to produce sentences containing only syllables with the third tone (T3, a low falling tone) in a relatively casual style. Each speaker was also asked to spontaneously tell a story and read the transcription of her own story. F0 movement in all sequences of T3's, in both tonal controlled and uncontrolled data, were examined. Unexpected F0 contours, according to the phonological rules of T3 sandhis, and unusual phenomena of tonal realization corresponding to stresses, are exhibited. Two basic patterns of F0 contours are found to occur inside intermediate phrases: a basic rising (-level)-falling contour and a rising-falling-rising-falling contour, with or without pre- and/or post-adjustment. To explain this phenomena, physical constraints on the production of tones are hypothesized. It is assumed that T3 sandhi is affected both by the constraints of tonal production and by local stress pattern, and that the effect of the productional constraints overrides the effect of stress pattern.