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Variation and merger of the rising tones in Hong Kong Cantonese

  • Robert S. Bauer (a1), Cheung Kwan-hin (a1) and Cheung Pak-man (a1)

Two male speakers of Hong Kong Cantonese varied the endpoints of High Rising and Mid-Low Rising tones and merged them in both directions under experimental conditions. The variation and merger of the two rising tones raise the possibility that at least four tonal subsystems may coexist within the Hong Kong Cantonese speech community. Sociolinguistic research over the past 20 years has documented variation and change among Cantonese sound segments but not the tones. Tonal variation in Hong Kong Cantonese appears to be a potentially important sociolinguistic variable.This article is a revised version of a paper presented at the 33rd International Conference on Sino-Tibetan Languages and Linguistics in Trang, Thailand, on October 5, 2000. The research reported here was supported by the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (Project No. PolyU 5249/99H Linguistics) and by Hong Kong Polytechnic University Research Grant G-YB57.

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Language Variation and Change
  • ISSN: 0954-3945
  • EISSN: 1469-8021
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