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Tone acquisition in Cantonese: a longitudinal case study*

  • John Kwock-Ping Tse (a1)

There have been relatively few studies on tone acquisition, as compared to studies on the acquisition of segmentals, morphology, and syntax. Still fewer are the studies on Chinese language acquisition. The present paper reports on a longitudinal case study of a Cantonese-speaking child aged 2; 8 and considers the implications of tone acquisition for tone studies in general, and Cantonese tonology in particular.

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I wish to express my thanks to Prof. Sandra A. Thompson of UCLA for her reading of the manuscript of this paper and for many helpful comments. For comments and encouragement in writing this paper I must thank Prof. Stephen D. Krashen, Prof. Robert B. Kaplan, and Prof. Larry M. Hyman of USC. Author's address: 1177 W. 28th Street, Apt. 2, Los Angeles, California 90007.

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Chao, Y. R. (1951). The Cantian idiolect: an analysis of the Chinese spoken by a twenty-eight-months-old child. Reprinted in Ferguson, C. A. & Slobin, D. I. (eds), Studies of child language development. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1973.
Li, C. N. & Thompson, S. A. (1977). The acquisition of tone in Mandarin-speaking children. JChLang 4. 185200.
Lin, L. H. (1964). Spoken language phenomena of the Chinese in Hong Kong. Chung Chi Journal 3. 132–61.
Pike, E. (1949). Controlled infant intonation. LL 2. 21–4.
Tse, J. K.-P. (1973). The Upper Even tone in Cantonese: an instrumental investigation. Master's thesis. The National Taiwan Normal University. (To be published by the Chia Hsin Cultural Foundation in Taipei.)
Tse, J. K.-P. (1974). An instrumental study on the difficulties with respect to tones encountered by native speakers of Cantonese when learning Mandarin Chinese. Education and Culture Monthly. Taipei: Ministry of Education, R.O.C.
Tse, J. K.-P.(1975) a language game of Cantonese. Unpublished working paper.
Tsung, F. P. (1964). On the split of the Yin-Ping tone of Cantonese. Zhung Guo Yu Wen 5. 376–89.
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Journal of Child Language
  • ISSN: 0305-0009
  • EISSN: 1469-7602
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-child-language
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