ASA 130th Meeting - St. Louis, MO - 1995 Nov 27 .. Dec 01

2aSC24. Internal temporal structure of Mandarin syllables.

Alan Bell

Dept. of Linguistics, Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309

Mei-Chun Liu

Natl. Chiautung Univ., Taiwan

The durational interactions among different combinations of onsets, nuclei, and codas in Mandarin Chinese syllables are examined, based on data from six speakers at normal and fast rates of speech. This report extends and refines preliminary results, based on four speakers at a normal tempo, that were reported earlier [A. Bell and M. Liu, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. Suppl. 1 87, S67 (1990)]. Effects of different onsets (/n t (sh)t(sh)/), vowels (/a i u/), diphthongs (/ai au ou ia iau/), and nasal codas (/n (right hooked en)/) were considered. Consistent effects of onsets, vowel height, complex nuclei, and nasal codas on both syllable and rhyme durations were found. These effects, however, were relatively small, of the order of 15% for rhyme durations, and from about 5% to 10% for syllables, apparently consistent with a hypothesis that Mandarin rhymes and syllables are perceptually invariant. On the other hand, the nature of segment compensations was more consistent with segment-local and universal mechanisms than with language-particular global timing units of rhyme or syllable. [Work supported by the University of Colorado Council on Research and Creative Work.]