Prosodic focus with post-focus compression in Lan-Yin Mandarin

Author(s): Chen Shen and Yi Xu

Abstract

Post-focus compression (PFC), the lowering of pitch range and intensity of the post prosodic focus components, is a phenomenon that has been found in various languages worldwide. The interesting findings of the presence and absence of PFC in two closely-related Mandarin Chinese languages, Beijing Mandarin and Taiwan Mandarin respectively, have brought several discussions on the historical origin and spreading of PFC. This study examined Jincheng subgroup of Lan-Yin Mandarin, a group of Mandarin Chinese mainly spoken in the North-western region of China. Acoustic analyses and statistics showed that all speakers raised their pitch and intensity of focused words, and lowered pitch and intensity of post-focused words except in one condition where post-low bouncing was present. We therefore conclude that Lan-Yin Mandarin exhibits PFC in a very similar way as in Beijing Mandarin, and this further provides support for a hypothetical major typological division among the Chinese languages.

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