3aSC6. Variation in degree of nasalization for Mandarin vowels with superimposed rhoticity.

Session: Wednesday Morning, December 4


Author: Jie Zhang
Location: Dept. of Linguist., UCLA, 405 Hilgard Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90095


It is documented that, in Mandarin Chinese, the realization of the diminutive suffix /r/ on a syllable with vowel-nasal finals is shaped by place of articulation of the nasal. For both [n] and [(right hooked en)] finals, the nasal is deleted and rhotacization is superimposed on the vowel. However, for [(right hooked en)] final, the vowel is also nasalized. Four native speakers of Beijing Mandarin (two male, two female) were recorded for this experiment. Nasal and oral airflow of rhotacized vowels with both nasal endings was measured, and the results agreed with the earlier documentation. Nasal and oral airflow of nonrhotacized vowels with both nasal endings will also be measured. To account for the difference in nasalization for rhotacized vowels, the following hypothesis will be tested: The anticipatory effect on the vowel preceding [(right hooked en)] is greater than that on the vowel preceding [n]. Therefore, the vowel preceding [(right hooked en)] is expected to be more nasalized than the vowel preceding [n] in nonrhotacized context although the degree of nasalization is small. This leads to the distinction in nasalization for vowels in rhotacized context. Other possible articulatory and acoustic accounts of the variation will also be discussed.

ASA 132nd meeting - Hawaii, December 1996